Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launch mass hunger strike

Hundreds of Palestinians who are now being held in Israeli prisons will go on an open-ended hunger strike, beginning Monday 17 April, to mark Palestinian Prisoner's Day.

About 1,600 Palestinian prisoners on Palestinian Prisoners' Day 17th April 2017, have started an open hunger strike lead by PLO leader, Marwan Al-Barghouthi, as a protest to against the oppression of Israeli Prison Service (IPS).

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, however, disputes Barghouti's claim, saying that the proposed hunger-strike has more has to do with internal Palestinian politics rather than prisoner treatment.

Erdan stressed that the ministry "will not give in to any demands that may be made in the context of the hunger strike", according to the Israeli radio station.

"Barghouti is a popular figure not only among Palestinian people and prisoners but also among worldwide rights organizations", he said. Since 2012, the prisoners, especially the administrative detainees, have carried out dozens of individual hunger strikes and they are still ongoing.

Israeli prison service spokesman Assaf Librati said that 700 prisoners had announced on Sunday their intention to begin a hunger strike.

Israel now houses over 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in numerous jails across the country, in which an estimated 1,500 could potentially participate in later stages.

Those on hunger strike have issued a list of demands, including access to phones, extended visiting rights and better medical service.

"The entire global community should be alarmed by Israel's willful breach and devaluation of the rights and lives of Palestinian political prisoners, especially in regards to the imprisonment and ill-treatment of Palestinian men, women, children, and the elderly".

The PPCS called on the worldwide community to shoulder its legal and moral responsibilities and pressure Israel to stop its ongoing crimes against the Palestinian prisoners.

Ashkar touched on the deteriorating conditions of the sick prisoners as the medical negligence practiced against them continues.

Ashkar pointed out that there are 300 children among the Palestinian prisoners in addition to 58 female prisoners in Hasharon and Damon prisons including 15 minors, two administrative detainees and 18 mothers.

Thirteen Palestinian lawmakers are also among the detainees.

  • Leroy Wright