Israel breaks deal, renews detention of hunger striker
Published Thursday, June 21, 2012
Israel has broken a deal reached last month with the Palestinian prisoners' committee that ended a mass hunger strike by renewing the detention of Hassan Safadi for another six months, an NGO said on Thursday.
Over 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails went on a mass hunger strike earlier this year to protest Israel's draconian administrative detention policy, as well as harsh conditions imposed on them during imprisonment.
"Hassan, who launched his hunger strike on 5 March, was one of the five long-term hunger strikers in administrative detention who were promised release upon the expiration of their current orders in the agreement that ended the Palestinian prisoners’ mass hunger strike on 14 May," Addameer, an NGO for Palestinian prisoners, said in a statement on Thursday.
"Hassan has been held in administrative detention since 29 June 2011 and this renewal of his detention is a blatant violation of the agreement between the prisoners’ hunger strike committee and Israeli officials," it added.
The policy dates back to the British mandate era of historic Palestine and allows Israel to detain Palestinians without charge for renewable six month periods.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have previously condemned the policy as a violation of international humanitarian law.
Safadi's health seriously deteriorated during his 71-day hunger strike, and the latest decision to renew his detention has raised fears he may restart his hunger strike, despite his fragile state.
Addameer said that Israel also has yet to fulfill its other obligations as part of the deal, including allowing family visits and ending solitary confinement.
"Family visits to prisoners from Gaza have not yet resumed, though one month has passed since the agreement was signed," Addameer said.
"One of the 19 prisoners in long-term isolation, Dirar Abu Sisi, has still not been moved to the general prison population, and an additional prisoner was moved to isolation last week," it added.
The mass hunger strikes aimed to put pressure on Israel to drop administrative detention, but the Jewish state has resisted calls to change the policy.
Israel has been accused by activists of implementing apartheid policies towards indigenous Palestinians.