Over 50 Palestinian prisoners affiliated with Fateh and Islamic Jihad have launched a solidarity strike in support of Mahmoud al-Balboul, Mohammed al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi, all facing very serious health situations after 73, 70 and 61 days of hunger strike respectively. 18 prisoners in Ofer prison launched their hunger strike today in support of the strikers.
The three hunger strikers are demanding an end to their Israeli administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Their detentions were “suspended” but not cancelled by the Israeli Supreme Court, which means that they will be reimposed if their health improves. All three have continued their hunger strike and are facing very critical health situations at the present time including permanent threats to their sight, organs and lives. Al-Qadi is unconscious and is suffering from pneumonia and infections; Mohammed al-Balboul has lost a significant amount of his eyesight and both Mohammed and Mahmoud are frequently losing consciousness. Mohammed al-Balboul and al-Qadi are held at Wolfson Medical Center, while Mahmoud is held at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center.
Prisoners in Negev, Nafha, Ofer and Ramon prisons are joining in the collective solidarity actions to support the striking prisoners. Like the collective strikes in support of Bilal Kayed, who ended a 71-day hunger strike last month in an agreement securing his freedom, strikers will participate in groups, demanding freedom for the Balboul brothers and al-Qadi.
Mahmoud al-Balboul, 21, a graduate student who works with the Palestinian police, and Mohammed al-Balboul, 26, a dentist who recently opened his office in Jenin, have been held without charge or trial since a violent raid on their family home by Israeli occupation forces on 9 June. Their sister, Nuran, 15, was imprisoned for three months and their father, Ahmad, a Fateh leader, was assassinated by Israeli occupation forces in 2008. Mahmoud began his open hunger strike on 4 July and Mohammed on 7 July.
Al-Qadi, 20, is a journalism student at Al-Quds University. He is one of over 27 Palestinian journalists imprisoned in Israeli jails, and was arrested on 23 May after being released in April following four months in Israeli prison, also under administrative detention without charge or trial.
The three are among nearly 750 Palestinian political prisoners held without charge or trial under administrative detention and 7000 total Palestinian political prisoners.
Issa Qaraqe, head of the Prisoners’ Affairs Committee, spoke at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, calling for “immediate intervention to save the lives of three hunger striking Palestinians.” The three are also threatened with forced feeding and forced treatment, especially following the Israeli Supreme Court’s approval of a law permitting the forced feeding of hunger strikers.