[Pnews] Palestinian Hunger Strikes: Get the Facts

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 3 18:00:07 EDT 2016


  Palestinian Hunger Strikes: Get the Facts

*August 3, 2016
* <http://www.addameer.org/print/2419>

*What is the History of Palestinian Hunger Strikes?* Hunger strikes have 
long been used in different geographical areas as means to protest and 
demand basic rights, including the right to vote, the right to be free 
from torture and the right to self-determination. The long history of 
Palestinian prisoners in mass and individual hunger strikes, reveals the 
lack of trust in any judicial process and the lack of fair trail 
guarantees they face under the military and civil court systems of the 
Israeli occupation. Palestinian prisoners and detainees have resorted to 
hunger strikes as early as 1968 
as legitimate peaceful protest to Israeli detention policies and cruel 
detention conditions including the use of solitary confinement, denial 
of family visits, inadequate medical treatment and torture and other 
forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

*What are the Medical Risks of Hunger Strikes?* Hunger strikes have 
associated health risks that can cause physical damage to the prisoner 
or detainee, including severe loss of weight, weakness, tiredness, 
inability to sleep, hearing loss, blindness, strokes, kidney failure as 
well as other organ failure, cardiac arrest and heart attack. However, 
despite these medical risks, through hunger strikes, Palestinians have 
been able to obtain basic and fundamental rights and to improve their 
detention conditions through hunger strikes.

*How do Israeli Authorities Deal with Hunger Strikes? *Hunger strikes 
are often met with violent and coercive repression by Israeli Prison 
Service and special units, 
as well as medical personnel to push detainees to end their hunger 
strikes. Following hunger strikes, Addameer has documented several cases 
of raids on prison cells, transfers of hunger strikers to isolation 
cells, threats of indefinite detention, banning family visitation, 
reduction of money spent in the canteen.

*What Other Coercive Measures were Taken?* In response to the use of 
hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners and detainees, Israeli 
authorities practiced force-feeding during the 1980s. It was 
subsequently ceased by order from the Israeli High Court following 
several deaths of Palestinian prisoners resulting from force-feeding. At 
the time of earlier hunger strikes, Israel practiced force-feeding of 
hunger-strikers in order to coerce detainees to end to their hunger 
strikes without any legislation to regulate this measure. Several 
Palestinian prisoners have died as a result of being subjected to 
These include Abdul-Qader Abu al-Fahm who had died on 11 May 1970 during 
a hunger strike in Ashkelon prison, Rasem Halawah and Ali al-Ja'fari, 
who died following the insertion of the feeding tubes into their lungs 
instead of their stomachs in July 1980 during a hunger strike in Nafha 
prison, and Ishaq Maragha, who died in Beersheba prison in 
1983. Recently, a proposal for a legislation 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.661127> by the Israeli minister of 
Public Security Gilad Erdan was initiated in response to the mass hunger 
strike of 2012 with the purpose of putting an end to future 
hunger-strikes and depriving Palestinian detainees and prisoners from 
their fundamental right to peaceful protest. The bill was approved by 
the Israeli Knesset on the 30^th  of July 2015.

*Since when have Hunger Strikes been used in Protest of Administrative 
Detention?* At least since the 1990s, Palestinian prisoners have 
resorted to hunger strikes as means to protest Israeli arbitrary use of 
administrative detention. Administrative detention is a procedure that 
allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on *secret 
information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial*. 
There are an estimated 750 Palestinians placed under administrative 
detention, including women, children, and Palestinian Legislative 
Council members.

In recent years, Palestinian prisoners and detainees have resorted to 
hunger strike to protest and increasing and systematic use of 
administrative detention by the occupation authorities. For example, in 
2012, Palestinian prisoners and detainees declared a mass hunger strike, 
which involved nearly 2000 hunger strikers demanding the end of 
administrative detention, denial of family visitations to Gaza 
prisoners, isolation and other punitive measures. The 2012 hunger strike 
ended with Israel’s temporality limiting the use of administrative 
detention. However, few years later, the occupation authorities 
increased the use of administrative detention leading to another hunger 
strike in 2014 by over 80 administrative detainees asking for an end to 
the use of the arbitrary policy. 
The hunger strike ended after 63 days without forcing the Israeli 
government to limit the use of administrative detention.

Additionally, several Palestinian administrative detainees embarked on 
individual hunger strikes in protest of replacing them under 
administrative detention without charge or trial of several times. These 
individual hunger strikes included Mohammad Al-Qeeq 
<http://www.addameer.org/prisoner/mohammad-al-qeiq>, Khader Adnan, Hana 
Shalabi, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab.  Most recently, Bilal Kayed, who 
is on his 50^th day of hunger strike is also protesting his 
administrative detention. An administrative detention order was issued 
against him on the day of his scheduled release after having spent 14 
years and a half serving a prison sentence. Currently, over 100 
Palestinian prisoners and detainees have joined Bilal in solidarity 
protests of hunger strike 
to put an end to the systematic and widespread use of administrative 

*Why do Palestinians Resort to Hunger Strikes?* Palestinian prisoners 
and detainees resort to hunger strike in order to protest and have their 
voices heard outside an unfair legal system which administers their 
arbitrary detention and the repression of their voices (through 
administrative detention orders without trial and legislation including 
the recent force-feeding bill). However, Israeli occupation authorities 
have not managed to break the will of Palestinian hunger strikers who 
continue to use their bodies, in the absence of any adequate judicial 
remedies, to practice legitimate disobedience. Hunger strikers defy 
disciplinary power of control and domination; the body of the hunger 
striker thereby constitutes a medium through which power is shifted and 
recreated. The prisoners and detainees refuse to comply with the 
prison’s structured system of constrain and privation where they do not 
have full autonomy over their bodies. Thus, through hunger strikes, 
these prisoners and detainees re-gain sovereignty over their bodies 
through becoming decision makers over the prison authorities.

*What Are Our Demands? *Addameer calls upon the international community 
to demand that the Israeli government to respect the will of hunger 
strikers who use their bodies as a legitimate means of protest, which 
has been recognized by the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration 
of Malta on Hunger Strikes as “often a form of protest by people who 
lack other ways of making their demands known 
<http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/h31/>.” Addameer also 
calls upon the international community to stop the use of administrative 
detention as recommended by the United Nations Committee Against Torture 
(CAT), in its concluding observations 
on 13 May 2016, which called on the Israeli government to “[t]ake the 
measures necessary to end the practice of administrative detention and 
ensure that all persons who are currently held in administrative 
detention are afforded all basic legal safeguards.” Addameer further 
demands the international community, including the European Union, the 
United Nations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to 
intervene immediately to save the lives of Bilal Kayed and other hunger 
striking prisoners, some of whom are in critical medical conditions.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20160803/cc0afcfe/attachment.html>

More information about the PPnews mailing list