*Original article was posted on Global Voices, check it out*
Palestinian prisoners began an open ended hunger strike on April 17 to protest the conditions within Israeli prisons. What had started earlier as a protest by a few has now increased to thousands of participants (with figures varying between 1,400 and 3,000). Several of the prisoners who began their hunger strike earlier are now at risk of dying.
There are more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, and around 320 have been held without charge or trial under so-called administrative detention.
The situation in Israeli prisons has deteriorated over the years. The prisoners are demanding an end to solitary confinement, administrative detentions and punitive measures. Protests have taken place in the past, but this strike is different, following as it does the widely reported strike of Khader Adnan.
Blogger and journalist Joseph Dana wrote about Adnan's case in February:
Mr Adnan’s story is emblematic of the administrative detention experience of many Palestinians. He claims to have been beaten and humiliated by Israeli soldiers while in custody, and began his hunger strike in protest.
Khader Adnan ended his hunger strike in February after 66 days, when the Israeli authorities agreed to release him on 17 April. Another prisoner, Hana Shalabi, ended a hunger strike after 40 days when she was exiled to Gaza for three yearsby the Israeli authorities.
Information on the hunger strike and solidarity actions can be found at the Twitter hashtag #PalHunger.
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Ramallah has been tweeting updates about the strike:
@Addameer_ps: In Ohalei Keidar prison, the 96 hunger strikers are all placed in solitary confinement cells, 2 prisoners to 1 cell. #palhunger
@Addameer_ps: 220 prisoners are on hunger strike in Ofer prison. #palhunger
@Addameer_ps: All 105 Palestinian prisoners in Eshel prison are on hunger strike #palhunger
@Addameer_ps: Hunger strikers in Naqab prison are being arbitrarily searched each day, including raids of their cells and body searches #palhunger
@Addameer_ps: Addameer currently estimating between 2,000 and 2,500 prisoners on hunger strike, but could be more #palhunger
Walaa Al Ghussein in Gaza tweeted:
@WalaaGh: My aunt's fiance is on his 20 day of hunger strike now, She is waiting him to get married,she don't want him to die! #PalHunger #Palestine
Activist Ali Abunimah commented:
@AliAbunimah: Western media kept demanding "Palestinian Gandhis." Now that 2000 political prisoners are on hunger strike they ignore. #PalHunger