Palestinian Prisoners: Hunger-Striking for Liberation and Justice in Middle East

June 5, 2014 by  


Palestinian prisoners suffer out of sight, mind and public consciousness. World leaders able to help do nothing. Israeli crimes to grave to ignore go unpunished

By Stephen Lendman, Caravan

Palestinian-political-prisoners-hunger-struck

A Palestinian protester.

On April 24, 90 Palestinian uncharged administrative detainee political prisoners hunger struck. They did so for long denied justice.

Others joined them. Around 150 overall. On June 1, Maan News reported 1,500. On May 31, Palestine’s prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqe feared martyrdom for some if strike continues.
On June 2, over 100 refused food for 39 days. Around 70 were hospitalized. According to Qaraqe, they suffer from internal bleeding, memory loss and consciousness.
Some need surgery. It doesn’t matter. They’re threatened, beaten, ill-treated and isolated.

They’re subjected to “cruel conditions (to) “exhaust them and break their strike,” said Qaraqe.

Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman Sivan Weissman confirmed their isolation. No further details were provided.

Qaraqe urged Arab leaders to “urgently intervene and prevent the tragedy that is about to be made by Israel.”

Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR-I) and 16 other NGO’s asked EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to do so. They wrote them, saying in part:
“We, the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and the undersigned human rights organizations, wish to bring to your attention the on-going mass hunger strike…and request your urgent intervention on their behalf.”

“The majority of the hunger strikers are protesting the continued administrative detention, which is detention without trial or charge.”

“Administrative detention orders are issued by the Israeli Military Commander in the West Bank for periods of one to six months and can be renewed indefinitely.”

“Administrative detainees or their lawyers are not informed of the reasons for their detention and are only informed that there is ‘secret evidence’ against them.”

Fact: No evidence whatever exists.

Fact: Israel lies claiming otherwise.

Fact: Detainees committed no crimes.

Fact: They’re imprisoned solely for political reasons.

Fact: Police states operate this way.

Fact: America and Israel are by far the world’s worst.

“Israel (uses) administrative detention on a systematic basis against tens of thousands of Palestinians and is an ever present threat in the daily lives of all Palestinians.”

“We firmly believe that Israel’s use of administrative detention should cease immediately.”

“Following the launch of the strike the Israeli authorities immediately began taking punitive measures against the hunger strikers.”

“These included the immediate isolation of all hunger strikers away from the rest of the prison population.”

“Many of hunger strikers have also been transferred to different prisons, while the leaders of the hunger strike have also been placed in isolation.”

“The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) and Israeli Special Forces have also been conducting violent raids on the prisoner’s cells and intrusive searches the prisoners on a daily basis.”

“In many cases the hunger strikers have been beaten and injured during these raids and were subsequently denied medical treatment.”

“As you are aware the mass hunger strike of 2012 ended on 14 May 2012 after an agreement was reached between representatives of the prisoners and the IPS.”

“At this time it was agreed that Israel would limit the use of administrative to only ‘exceptional circumstances,’ as is required under international law.”

“However, it is quite clear that Israel has reneged on the agreement as it has continued to use administrative detention on a systematic basis which has compelled the prisoners to launch a fresh strike.”

‘(W)e feel that the prisoners must and can play a central role in bringing about a genuine and lasting peace.”

Note: Nine Palestinian Legislative Council members are imprisoned. They committed no crimes.

They belong to the wrong political parties. Six are hunger striking for justice.

They’re lawlessly held uncharged and untried. They’re political prisoners. NGO letter signatories include:

Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association
Aldameer Association for Human Rights
Al-Haq
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Defence for Children International – Palestine Section
Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Hurryyat –Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights
Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies
Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling
Palestinian Center for Human Rights
The Public Committee against Torture in Israel
Adalah – The Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel
Arab Association for Human Rights
Palestinian Prisoners Society
Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs

Hunger striking is open-ended. Palestinian Ministry of Detainees undersecretary Ziad Abu Ein said increasing numbers of detainees are involved.

They’re determined to contest horrific prison conditions. They’re fighting for fundamental rights.

According to Abu Ein:

“With their will and determination, the detainees are defeating the occupation, exposing its policies and crimes.”

“We need more support (for) the detainees and their cause. We need more international activities.”

“Our people are united. Our international relations are much bigger and wider that Israel’s illegitimate occupation. We need to end those crimes.”

Palestinian Ministry of Detainees lawyer Ali Sa’ady visited three hunger strikers.

They’re in cells “darker and colder than graves,” he said. They’re not fit for human use.

They’re too small. Prisoners are denied soap, towels, covers and clean clothes.

They’re abusively treated. They’re repeatedly beaten. They’re denied family visits. Lawyer visits are restricted or denied.

Ahmad Rimawi is a student. He’s aged 19.  On November 17, 2012, he was arrested. He remains administratively held uncharged.

In May, Israel extended his detention another six month. His father, Ishraq, was imprisoned in June 2001. He committed no crimes.

He’s serving a 19-year sentence. Father and son joined in solidarity. At Naqab prison. They’re hunger striking for justice.

On April 29, they began. Israel separated them. Ishraq was transferred to Eshel prison.

On May 28, Ahmad was hospitalized. He’s suffering from extreme weakness. He repeatedly faints.

Abdul Razeq Yasin Hasan Farraj has been administratively held uncharged for over 92 months.

He was detained five previous times. He’s 51 years old. He spent over 14 years of his life imprisoned.

He committed no crimes. He’s one of thousands of Israeli political prisoners.

He’s accused of being a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member.

Israel calls it an illegal organization. It does so without just cause.

Farraj was last arrested on February 25, 2014. On March 3, he appeared before Ofer Military Court. Military prosecutors accused him of “guiding and directing” PFLP members.

He’s administratively detained unjustly. He’s prevented from participating in legal political activities. His lawyer is denied specific reasons why. Prosecutors said all details are secret. Israeli military courts are kangaroo tribunals. Guilt by accusation is official Israeli policy. Judge Ron Delomi confirmed Farraj’s administrative detention order. He lied claiming “the materials included in the (secret) file are true and are enough to hold Farraj in administrative detention.”

He’s “a senior member in the PFLP, and his connections and impact on society indicate that he is dangerous.”

He ordered Farraj held administratively uncharged for six months. Through August 24. Interminably if Israel wishes. For 20 years, military prosecutors failed to charge Farraj. He spent over 14 years imprisoned administratively. Unjustly. For political reasons. It bears repeating. He committed no crimes. He’s a human rights defender. Israel violated Fourth Geneva’s Article 78. It permits administrative detentions only when clear evidence shows it’s necessary for security reasons.

“(I)n accordance with the provisions of the present Convention.”

With “the right of appeal…with the least possible delay.” With full rights for “protected persons.” Israel systematically spurns virtually all international law provisions. It does what it wants with impunity. It remains unaccountable. On April 30, Farraj hunger struck with other Palestinian detainees for justice.

He’s imprisoned without just cause. He’s a Finance & Administration at Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) director.

UAWC advocates for Palestinian farmer rights. Lawlessly imprisoning Farraj obstructs its work. Administratively detaining him and other Palestinians uncharged and untried based on secret evidence withheld from defense counsel violates core international law provisions.

Many administrative detainees languish in Israel’s gulag for years. Their fundamental rights are denied.

They suffer out of sight, mind and public consciousness. World leaders able to help do nothing. Israeli crimes to grave to ignore go unpunished.

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