Some 1,600 prisoners are collaborating, Palestinian Authority Prisoners’ Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe mentioned. Extra prisoners might be part of the starvation strike, which was deliberate to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Qaraqe mentioned.
Qaraqe urged Palestinians to help the strike and known as on human rights organizations to press Israel about circumstances in prisons.
The starvation strike is a approach of “bringing prisoners nearer to their primary rights and calls for and stopping the occupation from harming the dignity of the Palestinian prisoners,” he mentioned in a press release.
Marwan Barghouti, a high-profile prisoner who enjoys broad help amongst Palestinians within the West Financial institution and Gaza, known as for the “Freedom and Dignity” strike. Many Palestinians see Barghouti as a possible future chief of the Palestinian Authority, regardless of his jail sentence.
Palestinian leaders, together with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Palestinian Liberation Group Government Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi, have backed the strike.
Official: Largest Palestinian prisoner starvation strike ever
The starvation strikers’ lengthy listing of calls for consists of an finish to solitary confinement and administrative detention, a coverage underneath which Israel holds prisoners with out cost or trial.
Some 740 Palestinians are held in administrative detention, Qaraqe mentioned. Prisoners are additionally demanding higher medical care and prolonged visits with household.
This starvation strike is the biggest Palestinian prisoners have ever launched, mentioned Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian politician and former vice chairman of Birzeit College. Palestinians have typically resorted to starvation strikes, largely to focus on administrative detentions.
In a letter penned by Barghouti and skim Saturday by his spouse, Fadwa, Barghouti accused Israel of detaining “1000’s of Palestinians yearly in a flagrant violation of worldwide treaties and conventions.”
He known as Israel’s navy courts within the West Financial institution an “confederate within the occupation’s crimes by detentions, unjust court docket sentences, and torture.”
A former chief of the Tanzim brigade — the militant wing of the Fatah political occasion — Barghouti was convicted in 2004 of 5 counts of homicide, together with orchestrating assaults towards Israelis. He’s serving a number of life sentences.
Regardless of — or maybe due to — his jail sentence, Barghouti’s reputation has grown amongst Palestinians, and he is without doubt one of the few Palestinian leaders with help from each Fatah, which governs the West Financial institution, and Hamas, which guidelines Gaza.
In Fatah’s most up-to-date convention, held in November, Barghouti was elected to the Fatah Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council, pulling in additional votes than another candidate. Given his jail sentence, each are symbolic gestures however are testomony to his reputation.
Regardless of recurrent infighting between Palestinian factions, prisoners from a number of teams, together with Hamas and the Palestinian Folks’s Social gathering, are additionally collaborating within the starvation strike.
Israeli official: We do not negotiate with prisoners
A spokesman for the Israel Jail Service, Assaf Librati, mentioned the jail service doesn’t, as a rule, negotiate with prisoners.
The jail service has begun separating starvation strikers into separate cell blocks. Prisoners have up to now declared strikes in eight Israeli prisons.
“Starvation strikers in jail endanger the well being and lifetime of the prisoners in custody of the state who’s in control of their well-being — organized starvation strikers much more so,” Librati mentioned.
Librati estimated that 1,100 prisoners have been taking part within the strike, a quantity decrease than that reported by the Palestinian Authority.
Authorities will arrange a subject hospital on the Ketziot jail in southern Israel to deal with starvation strikers if wanted, Librati mentioned.
The transfer would enable Israel to sidestep civilian hospitals, which have up to now refused to force-feed strikers, regardless of an Israeli legislation handed in July 2015 that legalizes the force-feeding of prisoners.
Responding to accusations of mistreatment in Israeli prisons, Israeli International Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon fired again.
“The Palestinian prisoners usually are not political prisoners,” he mentioned. “They’re convicted terrorists and murderers. They have been dropped at justice and are handled correctly underneath worldwide legislation.”