Palestinians in Israeli Jails begin Hunger Strike

Palestinians have rallied in the occupied West Bank in support of the hunger strikers. Erdan also said Barghouti, the organizer of the protest, has been placed in solitary confinement.

This hunger strike is the largest Palestinian prisoners have ever launched, said Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian politician and Vice President of Birzeit University. The activist has become notorious over the years for his disdain towards Israeli authorities, having been taken into custody numerous times for actions ranging from throwing rocks to joining groups which have been outlawed by Israel's government.

Qadoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club said about 6500 Palestinians are being held in 22 Israeli prisons. Israeli rule over the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured during the 1967 war and claimed by the Palestinians as part of a future state, reaches the half-century mark in June.

As part of Israel's effort to undermine the Palestinian struggle for freedom, an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by global observers.

As reported by ABC News, the Israeli government has no current plans to enter talks regarding ending the Palestinians' hunger strike.

Prison officials have been ordered by the nation's government to instill "punitive measures", as it were, in order to pressure the Palestinians to give up their strike.

The open-ended strike of Palestinians is in response to the poor conditions and the Israeli policy of detention, in which they are being jailed since the 1980s without any trial. Several hundred are being detained without charges.

The protests, which is the biggest in recent years, has been led by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and will see prisoners from across the political spectrum participate from within six Israeli prisons.

While many Palestinians view Barghouti as a hero, Israelis point to the bloody suicide attacks of the second intifada and his role in the uprising.

"After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike", Barghouti wrote. Barghouti has been in prison since 2002. "We salute the prisoners".

"They are terrorists and incarcerated murderers who are getting what they deserve and we have no reason to negotiate with them", Erdan told occupation army radio.

For 15 years, Israel has kept Barghouti in prison.

The prison service has set up a field hospital near the Ketsiot prison in the south to treat prisoners who require medical attention.

Hamdallah said in a statement that the strike was an attempt to end arbitrary administrative detention, torture, unfair trials, the detention of children, medical negligence, solitary confinement, inhuman treatment and the deprivation of basic rights such as family visits and education.

  • Leroy Wright