[Pnews] Palestine - Hunger strike a 'race against time' group warns, as 60 prisoners join strike on 32nd day

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 18 11:55:02 EDT 2017

  Hunger strike a 'race against time' group warns, as 60 prisoners join

May 18, 2017 - http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777137

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- As some 1,300 Palestinian entered the 32nd day of a 
mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons on Thursday, Palestinian officials 
have expressed concern over the deteriorating health conditions of the 
hunger strikers, saying that the situation for Palestinian prisoners and 
their families has become “unbearable.”

The media committee formed to support the hunger strikers reported that 
60 Palestinian detainees joined the hunger strike at Israel’s Gilboa 
prison and have confirmed that they will continue forgoing food until 
the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) meets their demands, which 
includeending 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. 

As the hunger strike entered its second month, the health conditions of 
the prisoners has become “very serious,” the committee said, especially 
after a number of hunger strikers have announced that they have begun 
abstaining from drinking water.

IPS has now moved all the hunger-striking prisoners to Israeli prisons 
with in-facility field hospitals -- which were established at the start 
of the strike -- the committee reported, adding that the prisoners have 
been transported in vehicles with steel seats and are handcuffed for 
hours en route to different Israeli prisons, causing severe strain on 
their already weak states.

Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe also 
said on Wednesday <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777129> that 
all prisoners participating in the mass “Freedom and Dignity” hunger 
strike <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777084> were transferred 
from across dozens of Israel’s prisons and concentrated into southern 
Israel’s Beersheba prison, northern Israel’s Shatta prison, and central 
Israel’s Ramla -- all of which have in-prison field hospitals.

A spokesperson for IPS, however, told Ma’an on Wednesday that only the 
hunger-striking prisoners from the Negev desert-area Ktziot and Nafha 
prisons had been transferred to Beersheba prison, “in order to be closer 
to central Israel, in the case that they need to be treated at a hospital."

IPS also confirmed that the hunger strikers were being treated in prison 
field clinics, but would be transferred to a civilian hospital if necessary.

The establishment of field hospitals for prisoners raised alarms that 
hunger strikers will be force fed en masse -- violating international 
standards of medical ethics and international law 
regard the practice as inhumane or even a form of torture.

The committee added that the national committee supporting the hunger 
strike has called for an escalation in confrontations with Israeli 
forces in the coming days. Dozens of Palestinians were injured 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777142> across the occupied 
West Bank on Thursday, with one Palestinian shot and killed 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777141>by an Israeli settler, 
during clashes that erupted after several solidarity marches in 
different districts of the occupied territory.

Separately, the media committee said that the committee's lawyer Karim 
Ajwa visited Palestinian hunger striker Othman Ziada in Israel’s 
Ashkelon prison on Thursday.

Over the past three days, Ajwa said, IPS officials have moved four 
hunger strikers to Israel’s prison field clinics as their health 
deteriorated where Israeli doctors have reportedly offered medical care 
to the prisoners only in exchange for them ending their hunger strikes. 
Prisoners have rejected the offers, according to Ajwa, and have not been 
provided any medical care from the Israeli doctors.

Meanwhile, Qaraqe said in a statement that under the direction of 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian efforts are being made 
to “find a fair solution” for the Palestinian hunger strikers. The 
efforts have been aimed at urging an Israeli response and preventing 
Israeli authorities from committing a “tragedy or a crime against hunger 
strikers” who have entered “a phase of real danger,” he said.

“We are in a race against time,” Qaraqe said, expressing concern over 
the possibility of death among hunger strikers, as Israeli authorities 
have continued to refuse negotiations.

On Monday, reports emerged 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777072> in Israeli media that 
Palestinian security officials and officials of Israel’s internal 
security agency, the Shin Bet, were attempting to reach an agreement 
that would end the hunger strike.

Meanwhile, hunger-striking prisoner Karim Yunis, the longest serving 
Palestinian prisoner, insisted that any legitimate negotiations must 
include leaders of the strike such as Barghouthi, and rejected reported 
attempts by Israeli intelligence as “false and futile negotiations aimed 
at breaking the hunger strike in exchange for empty promises.”
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