Prisoners suspend hunger strike after 40 days

29 May


VIDEO REPORT: TRT World, 27 May 2017

Palestinian prisoners end a 40-day hunger strike after reaching a deal with Israeli authorities. Journalist Gregg Carlstrom brings the latest.

Hunger strike ends, prisoners declare victory

29 May

Palestinians in Gaza City celebrate after hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails suspended a 40-day hunger strike on 27 May. The end of the strike, which coincides with the start of Ramadan, came after marathon negotiations between Israeli prison authorities and strike leaders. APA images

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 May 2017

After 40 days without food, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have suspended their hunger strike in Israeli jails.

The end of the strike came after 20 hours of intense negotiations between the strike’s leaders, including imprisoned Fatah figure Marwan Barghouti, and the Israel Prison Service, according to a statement issued Saturday morning by the prisoners solidarity committee.

The committee hailed the agreement as a “victory for the Palestinian people and the prisoners in their epic defense of freedom and dignity.”

It added that Israel was forced to negotiate after realizing that the prisoners “were ready to continue until victory or martyrdom and that the use of oppression, violence and other violations failed to weaken them, but rather strengthened their resolve.”

The statement says Israeli authorities accepted some of the demands of the prisoners, but does not provide details.

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B’Tselem: Israel is ignoring its obligations to prisoners

26 May

Palestinian women demonstrating in East Jerusalem in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ strike. Photo by Amar Awad, Reuters, 29 April 2017.

Press Release from B’Tselem, 25 May 2017

B’Tselem is the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

Israel is ignoring its obligations to the prisoners and the medical condition of the hunger strikers is deteriorating

According to media reports, approximately 150 Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike have recently been taken to hospital for examination after their medical condition worsened. As long as Israel continues to ignore its obligations to the prisoners and violates their rights, their medical condition will continue to deteriorate and will become dangerous.

This situation raises concern that Israel may choose to force-feed the prisoners. Force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike against their wishes is dangerous and is considered a form of torture. It is also prohibited since it violates the individual’s right to autonomy over their body and dignity, and their right to protest in the manner they choose. Declarations by the international medical community reflect the consensus that, as a general rule, the force-feeding of hunger strikers who are mentally capable and who refuse to accept treatment of their own free will is prohibited. Despite this, on 30 July 2015, the Knesset approved a law permitting the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners under certain conditions.

Over a thousand Palestinian prisoners and detainees launched a hunger strike on 17 April. They presented a series of legitimate demands relating to the inhumane conditions in which they are held, including draconian restrictions on family visits; an absolute prohibition against “security” prisoners using the telephone; denial of access to medical and educational services at a due standard; incarceration in isolation (which is also considered torture); and improper use of administration detention, i.e. detention without trial. According to figures provided by the Israel Prison Service, Israel was holding 486 Palestinians in administrative detention as of 30 April 2017. Administrative detention is an extreme measure: administrative detainees have no way of knowing when they will be released since although each detention order is limited to six months, there is no limit on the number of times the order may be extended. Over the years, the security forces have held thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for periods ranging from a few months to several years.

The incarceration of such a large number of Palestinians in prisons inside Israel – most of them without a fair trial, and some without any trial at all – and the draconian restrictions they face form an integral part of the occupation regime.


60 Palestinian hunger strikers hospitalised

26 May

Israeli security forces intervene a Palestinian protest with tear gas and plastic bullets during a demonstration in support of hunger striker Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in Nablus, West Bank on May 19, 2017 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Middle East Monitor, 26 May 2017

Around 60 Palestinian prisoners, including the leader of the hunger strike Marwan Barghouthi, were hospitalised yesterday due to the deterioration of their health conditions.

Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed that around 60 prisoners were transferred to hospitals yesterday with dozens already transferred over the past few days according to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.


The health situation for some of the 1,000 prisoners who have been on hunger strike against the conditions in Israeli jails for more than a month has now become critical, according to the committee.

An Israel Prison Service spokeswoman said that over 60 prisoners were brought to hospitals for examination yesterday due to their deteriorating condition with nine of them remaining in hospital.

Hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners declared an open ended hunger strike on 17 April, lead by imprisoned Fatah party leader Marwan Barghouthi, to protest medical negligence, administrative detention and limited family visits.

Protesters gathered in Bethlehem’s Manger Square this week in support of the prisoners with dozens of Palestinians across the West Bank injured in clashes with Israeli security forces. A general strike in solidarity shut down businesses, stopped public transportation and closed schools.

Israel passed a controversial law in July that will permit prison authorities to request court permission to force-feed prisoners which has been condemned by doctors and human rights groups.


Trump talks peace while selling weapons

26 May


By Ali Abunimah The Electronic Intifada, 23 May 2017

On Monday I spoke to Aaron Maté of The Real News about Donald Trump’s first overseas visit as US president.

Watch the video above.

Trump spent two days in Saudi Arabia, where he announced massive weapons deals with an absolute monarchy that has been leading a devastating US-backed bombing campaign against Yemen, killing thousands of civilians over the last two years.

A Saudi-led blockade has caused hunger to millions of Yemenis and brought the country to the brink of famine.

Yemen now faces a cholera epidemic that is spreading rapidly out of control.

The announcement of Trump’s initial $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia sent the stocks of weapons makers soaring.

Israeli-Saudi alliance

On Monday, Trump flew from Saudi Arabia to Israel. He then visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, both in occupied East Jerusalem, and held press conferences with Israeli leaders.

On Tuesday, Trump returned to the occupied West Bank for a cursory meeting with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

In a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump acknowledged what has long been known: that Israel and Saudi Arabia have formed a tacit alliance whose main target is Iran.

The warming ties between Israel and US-aligned Arab regimes has come at the expense of solidarity with Palestinians.

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Israel forces shoot 20 Palestinians during rallies

23 May

Israeli soldiers in Hebron (Photo: Maan)

The Palestine Chronicle report, 22 May 2017

At least 20 Palestinians were shot and injured – one seriously – during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Hebron on Monday afternoon, as clashes also broke when Israeli forces suppressed demonstrations launched in solidarity with more than 1,300 Palestinian prisoners who entered their 36th day on hunger strike.

Israeli forces fired both live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian protesters who marched from Ramallah city to Israel’s Qalandiya military checkpoint, according to Palestinian medical sources.

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Call for global 24 hour solidarity hunger strike

23 May

UK Palestine solidarity group Football Against Apartheid along with England based Palestinian group; 17 of April has called on all campaigners for a free Palestine across the globe, to support a world-wide 24hour hunger strike starting at 10:00 on Thursday 25 May in support of 1600 Palestinian Political Prisoners now on Day 36 of their hunger strike.

“We ask all supporting groups to meet briefly at 10:00 local time in a prominent national square or other important meeting point of national importance, to launch your hunger strike at 10 am local time on Thursday 25 May to raise awareness about the critical phase of the hunger strike, and the abusive behaviour of their Israeli Apartheid captors, which include forcing the very weak prisoners to stand for roll call whilst they are already too weak to get to their feet, removal of vital salt from the prisoners, keeping prisoners in solitary confinement and are now threatened with force-feeding by doctors brought in from abroad especially to force feed prisoners – as Israeli doctors have agreed not to assist the Apartheid State with force feeding.”

They ask groups to make a very short video of the participants saying very briefly why they have joined the action and post a video on YouTube.

NZ Palestine Solidarity Network invites supporters to participate in this global event on Thursday, and also to join the PSN “Salt Water Challenge” rally from 3pm on Saturday 27 May at the Aotea Square, Auckland CBD, to express support for the Palestinian hunger strikers.

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