Two hundred Palestinians begin hunger strike in Israeli prisons
Published Thursday, April 24, 2014
Two-hundred Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons began an open-ended hunger strike Thursday to protest their imprisonment without charge, a Palestinian rights group said.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said in a statement that 80 of the prisoners are being held in Ofer prison, 55 are jailed in Naqab, and the remaining 65 in Megiddo prison.
Jawad Boulos, a lawyer with the PPS, was quoted by Anadolu news agency as saying that Israeli prison authorities have begun to transfer the prisoners to different jails in an effort "to separate them and break their unity."
The prisoners are protesting their imprisonment under Israel's policy of "administrative detentions" which allows for inmates to be jailed for renewable six-month periods without ever being charged for a crime.
Last year long-term Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi ended an unprecedented 277-day hunger strike to protest his administrative detention after Israel agreed to release him.
His hunger strike was inspired by an earlier, mass hunger strike that saw some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners refuse food to protest their administrative detentions.
Those prisoner ended their mass hunger strike in mid May 2012 after reaching a deal with Israel that promised they would be released. But some of them later went on hunger strike again after Israeli renewed their detentions without charge in violation of the agreement.
"The Israeli government and the prison administration did not commit to their pledge on May 14, 2012 to end the policy of administrative detention, subject it to legal scrutiny and prevent the renewal of administrative detentions without any legal justification," Boulos said.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have slammed Israel's policy of administrative detention as a violation of international humanitarian law.