[Pnews] Palestinian hunger strikers cut off from communication
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 2 12:01:49 EDT 2017
Palestinian hunger strikers cut off from communication
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/charlotte-silver> 2 May 2017
As Palestinian prisoners enter day 16 of their mass hunger strike
Israeli authorities are said to be obstructing negotiations and severely
impeding communication from the strikers to the outside world.
As many as 1,600 Palestinians are refusing food in protest
of ill treatment by Israeli prison authorities, including medical
neglect and reduction of family visits.
Israel has attempted to prevent information on the striking prisoners
from reaching the public by transferring protest leaders into solitary
confinement and blocking visits by families and lawyers.
On Saturday, the Israel Prison Service reportedly ordered
phone companies to block reception in the western area of the Naqab
desert in the south of the country to prevent Palestinians on strike in
the Ketziot and Nafha prisons from communicating.
The blackout was partially lifted after Israeli residents in the area
complained of service disruptions.
The cellular blackout was apparently coordinated by public security
minister Gilad Erdan <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/gilad-erdan>,
who has taken a hard line against hunger strikes. Erdan pushed for the
legalization of force-feeding in 2015 by calling
hunger strikes a “new sort of suicide bombing to threaten the state of
In an op-ed published by /The New York Times/ on Monday, Erdan states
that Israel will not “surrender to terrorism,” and the hunger strike has
nothing to do with the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners.
Attacks on solidarity protests
Throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli
forces attacked gatherings and demonstrations in solidarity with hunger
In the northern West Bank village Sebastia, soldiers fired tear gas
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776786> at a sit-in on Monday,
causing the protest tent to catch fire, two days after tear gas fired by
Israeli forces caused a blaze
<https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776744> in the village of
Beita, south of Nablus.
The Israeli military used violent force
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776735> against a coordinated
“day of rage” throughout the West Bank on Friday.
Protesters were injured by tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and
While lawyers have been banned from hunger strikers at most detention
centers, attorneys with the rights group Addameer
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/addameer> have been able
to visit with non-striking prisoners, who have given updates on the
progress of the strike.
Addameer’s lawyers were told that Israel has continued to impose
punitive measures on strikers, including transferring them to solitary
confinement, prohibiting them from participating in group prayer on
Fridays and banning
them from washing their clothing.
A prisoner told
Addameer that prison officials seized salt from hunger strikers, which
they consume to stabilize and prevent long-term damage to their health.
A lawyer from the Palestinian Authority committee on prisoners’ affairs
accused <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776776> Israeli
officials of “psychological torture” by putting food in front of the
Last week, the Palestinian Authority body and the Palestinian human
rights group Adalah <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/adalah> filed a
joint petition <https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/9086> to Israel’s
high court over the Israel Prison Service’s ban on meetings between
hunger strikers and their lawyers.
The court is scheduled hear the petition on Wednesday.
The groups state that the Israeli prison authorities are violating a
2004 high court ruling which states that it is illegal to bar meetings
between prisoners – including those on hunger strike – and their lawyers.
The health of several hunger strikers is said to have deteriorated
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776795>, but information is
difficult to confirm due to communication restrictions.
Israel is meanwhile reportedly impeding negotiations by conditioning
them on the exclusion of Marwan Barghouti
Barghouti, a leader of the Fatah party who is serving multiple life
sentences since his arrest in 2002, launched
the mass hunger strike on 17 April, which marks Palestinian Prisoners’
Day, though the campaign has generated widespread support among
Palestinians from multiple political factions.
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