Palestinian prisoners begin indefinite hunger strike, OIC asks world leaders to intervene
The Israel Prison Service expects the number of striking prisoners to increase in the coming days after Palestinian officials, marking Palestinian Prisoners' Day on Monday, have called for the public to show support at rallies throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinian protesters wave flags in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in a solidarity demonstration with a hunger strike by Palestinian security prisoners on April 17, 2017. 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. Opinion polls suggest Barghouti, who is serving multiple life terms for his role in a violent Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, is the top contender to succeed Abbas.
According to Ynet, Palestinian prisoners at the Meggido Prison in northern Israel claim that since the start of the hunger strike, Israel Prisons Service official have taken a number of retaliatory measures against the strikers, such as the confiscation of radios, televisions and other electronic devices.
There are now 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, including more than 500 administrative detainees, according to Jerusalem-based prisoner rights group Addameer. Though most Palestinian political prisoners hail from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, they are placed in prisons inside Israel, in direct contravention of global law.
Prisoners' demands include improved visitation rights from family members and easier access to telephones.
Some organizations have reportedly voiced their support for the strike, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF), the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), and a number of Hamas prisoners.
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Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's office called on Israel to respond to the prisoners' demands for "freedom and dignity".
Some 740 Palestinians are held in administrative detention, according to Qaraqe.
Prisoners' advocacy organisations like Addameer and the Palestinian Prisoners Club say that 1,500 prisoners are in poor health and receive little medical care.
To his part, Dr. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, today saluted the Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli jails for their acts of heroism and steadfastness in resisting Israel's oppressive practices.
In the NYT piece, Barghouti accused Israel of conducting "mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners", and said that a hunger strike is "the most peaceful form of resistance available" against these abuses.
Mr Erdan said a field hospital would be erected next to one prison - an apparent move to preempt transfers to civilian medical facilities, which could draw wider media attention.
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