Dozens of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails to Go on Hunger Strike

The hunger strike, which expected to mainly involve members of Islamic Jihad, is in response to what they say is a clampdown by prison authorities since the escape of six Palestinians from Gilboa Prison

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Gilboa Prison last month.
Gilboa Prison last month.Credit: Gil Eliahu
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Palestinian prisoner administration has announced that dozens of security prisoners from Palestinian Islamic Jihad who are incarcerated in Israel will begin an open-ended hunger strike Wednesday to protest stricter conditions that have been imposed on them. The hunger strike is also in support of hunger-striking Palestinians in administrative detention without trial in Israel.

According to the Palestinian prisoners’ club, the strike, which will involve mainly prisoners affiliated with Islamic Jihad, will be observed throughout the Israeli prison system, and is to initially involve 400 prisoners. It is expected to expand within a few days if the Israel Prison Service and Israeli security officials don’t meet their demands.

Since last month’s escape of six Palestinian prisoners from Gilboa Prison, five of whom were from Islamic Jihad, prisoners affiliated with the group claim that they have been subject to punishment, such as solitary confinement and limits on prison visits, and have also been separated and placed in a number of different prison wings to undermine the organization’s presence in prison. All six of the prisoners were subsequently recaptured.

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The Palestinian prisoners’ club said that while the escapees from Gilboa Prison were at large, other prisoners engaged in a variety of protest actions, clashing with prison staff and setting fires. Subsequent talks between the prisoners and the Israel Prison Service led to an end to the punitive steps – other than for Islamic Jihad prisoners.

A demonstration last month in Haifa in support of security prisoners.Credit: Rami Shllush

In another development, the Palestinian prisoner administration reported that six Palestinian administrative detainees are continuing a hunger strike that they launched over their detentions. The Palestinian prisoner administration warned of a dangerous deterioration in their medical conditions. The condition of three of the prisoners is said already to be dangerous – Qayed Fasfus, who has been on a hunger strike for 90 days; Mukdad Qawasmeh, on strike for 83 days; and Ala al-Arj, for 66 days. The other three have been hunger strike for 50 to 57 days.    

The Palestinian prisoner administration has called for international intervention and public pressure in a bid to gain the release of the prisoners and to save their lives.

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