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        dir="ltr"> <font size="-2"><a id="reader-domain" class="domain"
href="https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/palestinian-hunger-strikers-cut-communication">https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/palestinian-hunger-strikers-cut-communication</a></font>
        <h1 id="reader-title">Palestinian hunger strikers cut off from
          communication</h1>
        <p class="node__submitted">
          <span class="field field-author"><a
              href="https://electronicintifada.net/people/charlotte-silver"
              typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel"
              datatype="">Charlotte Silver</a></span> <span class="field
            field-blog"></span>
          <span class="field field-publication-date"><span
              class="date-display-single" property="dc:date"
              datatype="xsd:dateTime"
              content="2017-05-02T00:31:52+00:00">2 May 2017</span></span>
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              <p>As Palestinian prisoners enter day 16 of their <a
href="https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/palestinians-launch-mass-hunger-strike">mass
                  hunger strike</a>, Israeli authorities are said to be
                obstructing negotiations and severely impeding
                communication from the strikers to the outside world.</p>
              <p>As many as 1,600 Palestinians are refusing food in <a
href="https://electronicintifada.net/content/mass-hunger-strike-tests-palestinian-unity/20296">protest</a>
                of ill treatment by Israeli prison authorities,
                including medical neglect and reduction of family
                visits.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>On Saturday, the Israel Prison Service reportedly <a
                  href="http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=42095">ordered</a>
                mobile 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.</p>
              <p>The blackout was partially lifted after Israeli
                residents in the area complained of service disruptions.</p>
              <p>The cellular blackout was apparently coordinated by
                public security minister <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/gilad-erdan">Gilad
                  Erdan</a>, who has taken a hard line against hunger
                strikes. Erdan pushed for the legalization of
                force-feeding in 2015 by <a
href="https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/now-israel-wants-legalize-force-feeding">calling</a>
                hunger strikes a “new sort of suicide bombing to
                threaten the state of Israel.”</p>
              <p>In an op-ed published by <em>The New York Times</em>
                on Monday, Erdan <a
href="https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/opinion/the-truth-about-the-palestinian-hunger-strike.html">states</a>
                that Israel will not “surrender to terrorism,” and the
                hunger strike has nothing to do with the mistreatment of
                Palestinian prisoners.</p>
              <h2>Attacks on solidarity protests</h2>
              <p>Throughout the occupied West Bank, including East
                Jerusalem, Israeli forces attacked gatherings and
                demonstrations in solidarity with hunger striking
                prisoners.</p>
              <p>In the northern West Bank village Sebastia, soldiers <a
                  href="http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776786">fired
                  tear gas</a> at a sit-in on Monday, causing the
                protest tent to catch fire, two days after tear gas
                fired by Israeli forces <a
                  href="https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776744">caused
                  a blaze</a> in the village of Beita, south of Nablus.</p>
              <p>The Israeli military <a
                  href="http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776735">used
                  violent force</a> against a coordinated “day of rage”
                throughout the West Bank on Friday.</p>
              <p>Protesters were injured by tear gas, rubber-coated
                steel bullets and live ammunition.</p>
              <p>While lawyers have been banned from hunger strikers at
                most detention centers, attorneys with the rights group
                <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/addameer">Addameer</a>
                <a
href="http://addameer.org/news/addameer-visits-ashkelon-hadarim-and-nafha-prisons">have
                  been able</a> to visit with non-striking prisoners,
                who have given updates on the progress of the strike.</p>
              <p>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 <a
href="http://addameer.org/news/addameer-attorney-visits-hunger-striking-prisoners-ofer">banning</a>
                them from washing their clothing.</p>
              <h2>Salt confiscated</h2>
              <p>A prisoner <a
href="http://addameer.org/news/addameer-visits-ashkelon-hadarim-and-nafha-prisons">told</a>
                Addameer that prison officials seized salt from hunger
                strikers, which they consume to stabilize and prevent
                long-term damage to their health.</p>
              <p>A lawyer from the Palestinian Authority committee on
                prisoners’ affairs <a
                  href="http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776776">accused</a>
                Israeli officials of “psychological torture” by putting
                food in front of the striking prisoners.</p>
              <p>Last week, the Palestinian Authority body and the
                Palestinian human rights group <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/adalah">Adalah</a>
                <a href="https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/9086">filed
                  a joint petition</a> to Israel’s high court over the
                Israel Prison Service’s ban on meetings between hunger
                strikers and their lawyers.</p>
              <p>The court is scheduled hear the petition on Wednesday.</p>
              <p>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.</p>
              <p>The health of several hunger strikers is <a
                  href="http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776795">said
                  to have deteriorated</a>, but information is difficult
                to confirm due to communication restrictions.</p>
              <p>Israel is meanwhile reportedly impeding negotiations by
                conditioning them on the exclusion of <a
                  href="https://electronicintifada.net/tags/marwan-barghouti">Marwan
                  Barghouti</a>.</p>
              <p>Barghouti, a leader of the Fatah party who is serving
                multiple life sentences since his arrest in 2002, <a
href="https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/palestinians-launch-mass-hunger-strike">launched</a>
                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.</p>
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