[Ppnews] Palestinian Prisoners’ Mass Hunger Strike Concludes After Agreement is Reached

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 15 11:20:41 EDT 2012

Progress for Prisoners’ Movement: Palestinian 
Prisoners’ Mass Hunger Strike Concludes After Agreement is Reached


Ramallah, 15 May 2012 – After nearly a full month 
of fasting, around 2,000 Palestinian political 
prisoners ended last night their mass hunger 
strike upon reaching an agreement with the 
Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to attain certain 
core demands. Addameer lauds these achievements 
of the prisoners’ movement and can only hope that 
Israel will implement any policy changes in good 
faith. Addameer especially commends those 
individuals who engaged in open hunger strike for 
over two months, displaying remarkable 
steadfastness in the struggle for their most basic rights.
The demands raised in the collective hunger 
strike, which was launched on 17 April, included 
an end to the IPS’ abusive use of isolation for 
“security” reasons, which currently affects 
­­­­19 prisoners, some of whom have spent 10 
years in isolation, and a repeal of a series of 
punitive measures taken against Palestinian 
prisoners following the capture of Israeli 
soldier Gilad Shalit, including the denial of 
family visits for all Gaza prisoners since 2007 
and denial of access to university education 
since June 2011. Prisoners also called for an end 
to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians 
without charge or trial in administrative 
detention. Eight prisoners, including five 
administrative detainees, had already begun their 
hunger strikes as early as the end of February.

The details of the agreement signed last night by 
the prisoners’ committee representing the hunger 
strikers was recounted today to Addameer lawyer 
Fares Ziad in his visit to Ahed Abu Gholmeh, who 
is a member of the committee, and to Addameer 
lawyer Mahmoud Hassan during his visit to Ahmad 
Sa’adat in Ramleh prison medical clinic, who 
conveyed what he was told last night when members 
of the committee came to Ramleh to announce the end of the hunger strike.

According to Ahed Abu Gholmeh, the nine members 
of the hunger strike committee met yesterday with 
a committee consisting of IPS officials and 
Israeli intelligence officers and determined the 
stipulations of their agreement. The written 
agreement contained five main provisions: the 
prisoners would end their hunger strike following 
the signing of the agreement; there will be an 
end to the use of long-term isolation of 
prisoners for “security” reasons, and the 19 
prisoners will be moved out of isolation within 
72 hours; family visits for first degree 
relatives to prisoners from the Gaza Strip and 
for families from the West Bank who have been 
denied visit based on vague “security reasons” 
will be reinstated within one month; the Israeli 
intelligence agency guarantees that there will be 
a committee formed to facilitate meetings between 
the IPS and prisoners in order to improve their 
daily conditions; there will be no new 
administrative detention orders or renewals of 
administrative detention orders for the 308 
Palestinians currently in administrative 
detention, unless the secret files, upon which 
administrative detention is based, contains “very serious” information.

For the five administrative detainees on 
protracted hunger strikes, including Bilal Diab 
and Thaer Halahleh, who engaged in hunger strike 
for a miraculous 77 days, their administrative 
detention orders will not be renewed and they 
will be released upon the expiration of their 
current orders. These five have been transferred 
to public hospitals to receive adequate 
healthcare during their fragile recovery periods. 
In regards to Israel’s practice of administrative 
detention as a whole, Ahmad Sa’adat further noted 
that the agreement includes limitations to its 
widespread use in general. Addameer is concerned 
that these provisions of the agreement will not 
explicitly solve Israel’s lenient and problematic 
application of administrative detention, which as 
it stands is in stark violation of international law.

Addameer has observed that Israel has 
consistently failed to respect the agreements it 
executes with Palestinians regarding prisoners’ 
issues. For this reason, it will be essential for 
all supporters of Palestinian political prisoners 
to actively monitor the events of the next few 
months to ensure that this agreement is fully 
implemented. As a human rights organization 
committed to the international standards of the 
rights of prisoners, Addameer will also continue 
to monitor closely the conditions inside Israeli 
prisons in order to assure that conditions meet 
compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law.

On the day commemorating 64 years since the 
Palestinian Nakba, it is regrettable that it has 
taken the near-starvation of Palestinian 
political prisoners en masse to call attention to 
their plight; it is therefore imperative to take 
this opportunity to not only applaud their 
achievements but also to push forward lobbying 
efforts on their behalf and demand a just and 
permanent resolution for their cause. Addameer 
extends its utmost gratitude to the dedicated 
activists and institutions, including members of 
civil society and the diplomatic community, who 
have supported the Palestinian prisoners in their campaign for dignity.

Freedom Archives
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