12 days into the open-ended Hunger Strike for Dignity, Palestinian political prisoners are persisting in their strike. Over 1300 prisoners launched an open-ended strike on April 17, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, joined by 2300 more prisoners on one-day hunger strikes. Since April 17, hundreds of additional Palestinian prisoners have joined the open-ended strike, and hundreds more have announced plans to join on May 1. These prisoners have explicitly called for international solidarity – act now to support their struggle! Send a letter to Israeli authorities demanding full implementation of the prisoners’ demands.
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The hunger strike has several key demands, including:
- An end to the policy of solitary confinement and isolation which has been used to deprive Palestinian prisoners of their rights for more than a decade;
- An end to administrative detention;
- To allow the families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip to visit prisoners. This right has been denied to all families for more than 6 years;
- An improvement in the living conditions of prisoners and an end to the ‘Shalit’ law, which outlaws newspapers, learning materials and many TV channels; and
- An end to the the policies of humiliation which are suffered by prisoners and their families such as strip searches, nightly raids, and collective punishment.
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have been hit hard with retaliation from Israel Prison Services, including beatings, transferring from one prison to another, confiscation of salt (an act that could have severe health consequences for hunger strikers), denial of family and lawyer visits, and isolation and solitary confinement of hunger strikers. Ahmad Sa’adat, Palestinian national leader, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and isolated political prisoner, has already lost 6 kg, even as he reports that prisoners’ morale is high. Palestinians have protested across Palestine, while protesters at Ofer prison were attacked by occupation soldiers.
As the massive hunger strike continues, eight prisoners who have been on lengthier hunger strikes face health crises, including Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, who have now been on hunger strike for over sixty days. Addameer writes as part of an extensive update:
Seven of these prisoners have been transferred to Ramleh prison medical center. Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab are on their 57thday of hunger strike today. Despite their rapidly deteriorating medical condition, both of their appeals against their administrative detention orders were rejected by an Israeli military judge on 23 April. Yesterday, 24 April, Hassan Safadi’s petition to the Israeli High Court against his administrative detention was rejected. He is on his 52nd day of hunger strike. Administrative detainees Omar Abu Shalal and Jaafar Azzedine are on their 50th and 35th days of hunger strike respectively. Also now in Ramleh prison medical center are Mohammad Taj, on his 39th day of hunger strike demanding to be treated as a prison of war, and Mahmoud Sarsak, on his 34th day of hunger strike in protest of being held under Israel’s Unlawful Combatants Law. Lastly, Abdullah Barghouti, held in isolation in Rimon prison, is on his 14th day of hunger strike. Addameer reiterates its grave concern that these hunger strikers are not receiving adequate healthcare in the IPS medical center and that independent doctors are still being denied visits to them
Palestinian prisoners have put their bodies on the line for dignity, justice and freedom, and they need international support. Palestinian Prisoners’ Day saw a call supported by over eighty organizations, with events taking place in Toronto, Seville, Pisa, Madrid, Vancouver (see videos and photos), Seattle (see photos), Chicago, Glasgow (see photos), Dublin, Bradford, Den Haag, Brussels (see video), Manchester (see photos) and many more. The Scottish Trades Union Congress passed a historic resolution supporting Palestine and Palestinian political prisoners. More action is needed urgently now!
1. Sign a letter demanding the Israeli state implement all of the demands of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners. Tell the Israeli Prison Services that the world is watching! Click here to sign.
2. Join a protest or demonstration for Palestinian prisoners. Major marches will take place in Edinburgh on April 28, at 12 noon, assembling at Charlotte Square; and in London on April 28 at 4 pm, across from 10 Downing Street. Organizing an event, action or forum on Palestinian prisoners on your city or campus? Use this form to contact us and we will post the event widely. If you need suggestions, materials or speakers for your event, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Contact your government officials and demand an end to international silence and complicity with the repression of Palestinian political prisoners. In Canada, Call the office of John Baird, Foreign Minister, and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel and justice for Palestinian prisoners, at : 613-990-7720; Email: email@example.com. In the US, call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209). Demand that Jeffrey Feltman bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel.
4. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and demand they uphold their duties to protect the rights of Palestinian political prisoners. Click here to sign a one-minute letter and make your voice heard!
5. Distribute materials, including factsheets and videos, telling the story of Palestinian prisoners. Click here for videos and here for factsheets.