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Mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners

Amelia Murphy-Beaudoin

April 17, 2012

Palestinian Prisoners Day on April 17 was marked with a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and rallies in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and refugee camps in Lebanon. These actions highlighted the plight of 4,700 prisoners being held in Israeli jails, where the treatment they receive violates international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

On Prisoner’s day, 3,500 Palestinians in Israeli jails refused their meals and 1,600 of them began an open ended hunger strike joining 10 others already engaged in the action to protest their illegal detention and bring attention to Israel’s policy of administrative detention and human rights abuses.

Some other demands of the hunger strikers include: ending to solitary confinement, allowing families to visit the prisoners, cancelling the ban on prisoners from engaging in academic studies and reading newspapers, and improving medical care.

Khader Adnan was released on April 17 from administrative detention following a 66 day hunger strike. Recently, Hana’a Shalabi was released following a 43 day hunger strike. It is important to note that Shalabi was released to Gaza with the stipulation that she may not return to her home in the West Bank for three years.

Palestinians and solidarity activists internationally also marked this day with rallies. The international community demonstrated solidarity with a “Flytilla”: hundreds of Palestine solidarity activists attempted to fly to Occupied Palestine to publicize Israel’s control of movement around the occupied Palestinian territories.

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