[Pnews] 17 Palestinian hunger strikers suspend protest as Israel makes concessions

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Sep 29 11:56:20 EDT 2015

  17 hunger strikers suspend protest as Israel makes concessions

Sept. 29, 2015

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Some 17 Palestinian prisoners have agreed to 
suspend a hunger strike following concessions from Israel's prison 
authorities, the head of the Palestinian Authority Committee for 
Prisoner's Affairs said Tuesday.
Issa Qaraqe said that the Israeli Prison Service would not extend the 
administrative detention -- internment without trial or charge -- of 
prisoners Nidal Abu Aker and Ghassan Zawahra, while it would reconsider 
the cases of the other prisoners.
The announcement came as a further victory for Palestinian prisoners, 
after the Palestinian Prisoner's Society said earlier in the day that 
Israel had also agreed to release former hunger striker Muhammad Allan 
when his six-month sentence ends in November.At least five of the 
prisoners had been on hunger strike 42 days, while seven were reported 
as being in urgent need of medical attention.The hunger strikers 
reportedly expressed gratitude to the Palestinian people and to all 
organizations that had supported them during their protest against 
Israeli's policy of administrative detention.Earlier Tuesday, it looked 
doubtful that a deal would be reached after the Israeli Prison Service 
seemed ready to cancel scheduled negotiations.The PA prisoners' 
committee had previously said that Israeli authorities had promised to 
gather the hunger strikers in Israel's Negev jail in order to negotiate 
a deal.However, on Tuesday morning, the committee said that the Israeli 
Prison Service had transferred four of the hunger strikers out of the 
Negev jail.According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the 
majority of prisoners who go on hunger strike are Palestinians in 
administrative detention, which allows for internment without trial or 
charge for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely. The 
policy has been strongly criticized by the international community as 
well as both Israeli and Palestinian rights activists.Nidal Abu Aker, 
one of the hunger strikers to be released, has been held in 
administrative detention since June 28, 2014, but has spent a total of 
nine years of his life in administrative detention.The prisoner, who 
comes from Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, had refused to to take 
vitamins or medical tests during the hunger strike, despite reportedly 
suffering blood pressure issues and a stomach ulcer.

'Fundamental right' to peaceful protest

By the end of their hunger strike, the PA prisoners' committee was 
requesting urgent medical treatment for many of them, reporting that the 
men had lost "all power and strength."However, the Israeli Prison 
Service refused to move them to hospital, arguing that they had not been 
on hunger strike long enough. They were held instead in solitary 
confinement.They agreed to suspend their hunger strike shortly after a 
lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner's Society, Jawad Boulos, told Ma'an 
that Israeli authorities had also agreed not to extend the six-month 
sentence of former hunger striker Muhammad Allan.Allan undertook a 
66-day hunger strike in June to protest his administrative detention. He 
ended the strike in August after Israel agreed to suspend his sentence. 
However, earlier this month, Israeli authorities later reinstated his 
sentence after his health improved.Allan immediately began a new hunger 
strike on Sept. 16, but suspended it two days later following 
consultations with his lawyer. He is now set to be released on Nov. 4, 
his lawyer said.Allan's hunger strike raised fears that the Knesset, 
Israel's parliament, would make use of a law approved in July allowing 
the Israeli Prison Service to force feed hunger strikers if their 
condition becomes life-threatening.However, Israel was reportedly unable 
to find any doctors willing to go through with the practice, which many 
believe amounts to torture under international law.The UN has said that 
the law violates the "fundamental human right" to peaceful protest.
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