[Pnews] Israeli authorities continue attempts to break mass Palestinian hunger strike on 24th day

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 10 11:00:23 EDT 2017


*Israeli authorities continue attempts to break mass hunger strike on 
24th day*

May 10, 2017 - http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776957

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- As some 1,600 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons 
entered their 24th day of a mass hunger strike on Wednesday, the 
prisoners have reported severe health deterioration -- including several 
hunger strikers coughing up blood -- and continued repressive measures 
imposed on the prisoners by the Israel Prison Service (IPS).

Israeli authorities have also escalated their delegitimization campaign 
against Marwan Barghouthi, an imprisoned Fatah figure and the primary 
leader of the strike.

Palestinian prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family 
visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care 
and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative 
detention -- imprisonment without charge or trial -- among otherdemands 
for basic rights. <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776379>

*Israeli violations amid weakening health conditions of hunger strikers*

For the first 20 days of the strike, lawyers were only given access to 
Ofer and Askhelon prison, until the Israel Prison Service (IPS) was 
compelled <https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/9091>by the Israeli 
Supreme Court to lift the ban on lawyer visits. In the days since, more 
troubling reports <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776950>have 
been conveyed by lawyers of the abuse and mistreatment to which the 
hunger strikers' are being subjected.

A lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Yousef 
Nasasra was permitted to visit hunger-striking prisoners Muhammad Nour 
Abu al-Rub from Jenin and Rashed Khalil Hamayil from Nablus at Israel’s 
Nafha prison in the Negev region on Tuesday.

The prisoners told Nasasra that IPS has used police dogs to carry out 
search raids against hunger-striking prisoners, and added that 
“pressures and punitive procedures” continue to be carried out against 
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in order to “break their will” 
and coerce them into ending the strike.

Abu al-Rub added that he was assaulted by an Israeli prison official, 
who spilled water on his face. The committee had released another 
statement on Tuesday affirming that IPS has carried out “inspection 
raids every day using police dogs, and they spill water on prisoners 
instead of giving them water to drink."

Hamayil told Nasasra that IPS has provided one bottle of water for every 
six prisoners and has refused to provide them salt; the hunger-striking 
prisoners are relying on the consumption of water and salt to stabilize 
their faltering conditions. Earlier reports stated 
<https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776887> that IPS was also 
raiding the cells of hunger strikers in order to confiscate salt used by 
the prisoners.

IPS’ refusal to provide sufficient water has forced many hunger strikers 
to drink from the prison’s warm tap, which has become more difficult as 
their health conditions weaken each day, with some losing their ability 
to stand up.

Several Palestinians across Israeli prisons have also stopped drinking 
water for hours, as the journey to the toilet has become too difficult 
in the hunger strikers’ weak state.

Hamayil emphasized the deteriorating health conditions of several of the 
hunger strikers in Nafha, some of whom have begun puking blood, 
according to Hamayil. A statement by the committee earlier on Tuesday 
said that the prisoners have started to fall due to waves of dizziness, 
severe pains, and weight loss.

Abu al-Rub and Hamayil both added that they were being held in “dirty 
cells” and have been forced to wear the same pair of clothes since the 
start of the hunger strike.

Abu al-Rub and Hamayil went on to praise Palestinians for supporting the 
hunger-striking prisoners.

IPS has also reportedly transferred dozens of hunger-striking prisoners 
from Israel’s al-Ramla prison to a field hospital established 
specifically for the hunger strikers. On Tuesday, there were also 
reports of a group of hunger strikers from Israel’s Nafha prison also 
being transferred to an Israeli field hospital.

Meanwhile, the head of the prisoners' committee Issa Qaraqe said in a 
statement that IPS has transferred 13 hunger strikers from Israel's 
Petah Tikva prison to the Negev and Hadarim prisons on Wednesday. 
Transferring prisoners between Israeli prisons while placing others in 
solitary confinement has been a common tactic used by IPS to attempt to 
isolate hunger-striking prisoners from each other and break the strike.

A statement 
<http://addameer.org/news/23-days-hunger-strike-israeli-occupation-continues-impose-restrictions-attorney-visits> 
released by prisoners’ rights group Addameer noted that one of the 
group’s lawyers Farah Bayadsi was able to visit hunger striker Ghassan 
Zawahreh in Israel’s Ofer prison, who echoed the experiences of hundreds 
of Palestinians across Israeli prisons.

According to Zawahreh, Israeli special unit forces have routinely raided 
the cells of hunger strikers and confiscated their personal belongings, 
while only one blanket and one pair of clothing -- in addition to the 
prison uniform -- has been provided by IPS since the start of the strike.

IPS has also prohibited the hunger strikers from washing their clothes 
or undergarments, which prompted the hunger-striking prisoners to 
boycott medical examinations, according to Addameer’s statement.

Zawahreh added that at least four prisoners in Ofer prison have been 
transferred to hospitals owing to their failing health. Addameer pointed 
out that these transfers between Israeli prisons or from prisons to 
hospitals has served to exacerbate the weak health conditions of the 
hunger strikers, as the transfer process is a taxing and lengthy journey.

Ending arbitrary prison transfers is also a focus of one of the demands 
of the hunger strikers -- who experienced difficulties during transfers 
even without being on hunger strike.

*Israel's continued refusal to permit lawyer visits *

While lawyers this week were able to visit hunger-striking prisoners in 
Ktziot, Nafha, and Nitzan prison for the first time since the strike's 
beginning, according to Addameer, most lawyer visits for Palestinian 
hunger strikers have continued to be denied 
<http://addameer.org/news/23-days-hunger-strike-israeli-occupation-continues-impose-restrictions-attorney-visits>, 
particularly for prominent hunger strikers like Ahmad Saadat, Ahed Abu 
Ghalma, and Marwan Barghouthi.

However, Israeli outlet Ynet reported on Wednesday that IPS had 
responded to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)'s 
request to visit Barghouthi, who has been held in solitary confinement 
since the start of the strike, and that ICRC representatives would 
schedule a visitation time in the coming days.

Ynet added that IPS had said that it had no reason to prevent the ICRC 
from visiting Barghouthi in order to check up on his condition while 
being held in solitary in Israel's Kishon prison.

Later on Wednesday, the media committee of the hunger strike told Faris 
Qadoura from the Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) that the ICRC had 
confirmed a visit with Barghouthi on Thursday, which would mark the 
first time any outsiders have been permitted to visit the imprisoned 
leader since the start of the strike more than three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Handala Center for Prisoners and Former Prisoners 
confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that imprisoned Secretary-General 
of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad 
Saadat, who is also being held in solitary confinement in Israel's 
Ashkelon prison, has continued to be banned from receiving visits.

Sources told the center that Israel has been postponing their response 
to several lawyer requests to visit the prominent hunger striker since 
last Thursday and denied a request by Bayadsi, the Addameer lawyer, to 
visit both Saadat and Abu Ghalma.

The center underscored that banning visitations for Saadat was meant to 
hide the conditions of his detention in solitary, while Israeli 
authorities can more easily ignore his health condition during the 
strike. The center added that the decision to deny visitations to Saadat 
and other hunger strikers was an attempt to exert pressure on the 
leadership of the hunger strike, and isolate them from the movement.

*Israel's campaign against Marwan Barghouthi *

Meanwhile, Israel’s concerted attempt to turn Palestinian hunger 
strikers against the movement's leader Marwan Barghouthi has continued 
to escalate.

The Palestine Prisoners’ Center for Studies was told by Palestinian 
prisoners in Negev prisons that several hunger-strikers were shown 
fabricated pictures of Barghouthi eating during their court proceedings 
during the previous two days.

According to the center, the prisoners were told by Israeli Shin Bet 
officers “Marwan let you starve while you eat.”

On Sunday, IPS released a video purportedly showing Marwan Barghouthi 
eating in his cell during the hunger strike. However, a committee formed 
to support the Palestinian hunger strikers quickly denounced the footage 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776920>, calling the video’s 
release part of an Israeli “war of lies” to discredit the prisoner movement.

After the footage was published, one Facebook commentator, Naela Khalil, 
quoted a passage from Barghouti’s online book about life in solitary 
confinement. Barghouti wrote that back in 2004, Israel also disseminated 
a photo of him eating during a hunger strike, in an attempt to show 
other prisoners that “the leader of the strike is eating, and you are 
starving.” The photos, he argued, were taken by surveillance cameras 
before the strike had begun.

Researcher and spokesperson for the Palestine Prisoners’ Center for 
Studies, Riyad al-Ashqar, said Wednesday that Israel is using all means 
to end the strike or at least weaken it in order to affect the demands 
of the prisoners.

Karim Younis, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner and a leader in 
the strike, issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the video of 
Barghouthi, according to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network 
Samidoun. 
<http://samidoun.net/2017/05/24th-day-of-palestinian-prisoners-hunger-strike-legal-visits-blocked-for-saadat-abu-ghoulmeh-barghouthi/>

“We assure you that we continue the strike of freedom and dignity until 
victory. Either victory or martyrdom. There is no life without dignity,” 
the letter reportedly read.

Meanwhile, the international franchise Pizza Hut has been the focus of 
condemnation since posting a video on their page 
<http://www.timesofisrael.com/pizza-hut-runs-ad-mocking-hunger-strike-leader-barghouti/> 
on Monday that used the Israeli footage of Barghouthi to sell their pizza.

The video showed images from the released footage and wrote in Hebrew: 
“Barghouti, if you break the hunger strike, why not pizza?”

The company has sinceofficially apologized 
<http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Pizza-Hut-apologizes-for-post-making-fun-of-Palestinian-hunger-strike-490264> 
for the video and has taken it down from their page, while Palestinians 
across the world vowed toboycott Pizza Hut 
<https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/society/2017/5/10/palestinians-to-boycott-pizza-hut-over-hunger-strike-mockery> 
in support of the hunger strikers.

Despite numerous attempts to break the will of the hunger strikers and 
discredit Barghouthi, Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian 
territory, Israel, and throughout the diaspora have continued to 
organize solidarity events in support of the hunger strikers, with this 
week being declared a “Week of Rage 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776890>” by leaders of the strike.

The week-long action was called after reports emerged that Israeli 
authorities were exploring the idea of importing foreign doctors into 
Israel to force feed the prisoners, as Israeli doctors have refused to 
take part in any force feeding owing to international medical ethics.

Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776443> since the establishment 
of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West 
Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to 
Palestinian organizations.

According to prisoners' rights organization Addameer, 40 percent of the 
male Palestinian population has been detained by Israeli authorities at 
some point in their lives. Rights groups have long accused Israel of 
using routine imprisonment as a tool to erode family and political life 
in the Palestinian territory.

Addameer has reported that some 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli 
custody as of April.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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