Empty Stomach Warriors: Tasting Victory
Photo Blog by Dylan Collins
Yesterday, 14 May 2012, as the largest and longest mass hunger strike in history ended its 28th consecutive day, rumors of an Egyptian brokered deal finalizing the end of the strike began to soar.
At approximately 7:30, mainstream news agencies began reporting aspects of a deal reached, under Egyptian auspices, between Israeli authorities and Palestinian prisoner representatives in Israel’s Ashkelon prison. In exchange for ending their momentous hunger strike movement, prisoners will be granted several of their long sought after objectives (read: basic prisoner rights), such as the allowance of family visits, the release of all detainees in solitary confinement, and the charge or subsequent release of all administrative detainees.
News of the deal spread like wildfire, and within minutes hundreds began flocking to Ramallah’s central Clock Square in order to celebrate the end of the strike, the attainment of basic rights, and the assurance that their loved ones will live to see another day.
The hunger strike began in conjunction with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, 17 April 2012, when a group of approximately 1400 prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike in protest against Israel’s exploitive use of administrative detention, a method which enables Israeli authorities to detain anyone (read: Palestinians) indefinitely without charges or trials, in addition to its habitual mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners. The latest figures from Addameer estimate the group of hunger striking prisoners to have been upwards of 2,000 people at the time of last night's deal.