The Palestinian Hunger Strike

A week ago today, a dramatic development took place in Israel/Palestine, almost unnoticed in the UK’s mainstream media. To mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17th, 1200 Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike in protest against the worsening conditions of their confinement. This is specially significant because it follows closely on two prisoner hunger strikes, that of the “administrative detainees” (the euphemism for people imprisoned without trial) Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, both of whom achieved significant concessions from the Israeli authorities, albeit almost at the cost of their lives. A further two administrative detainees, Bilal Diab and Tha’ir Khekhle, have now passed nearly 50 days of their strike—human beings can rarely survive more than 70 days without food. The situation is very well described in this post (now a week old) on +972 magazine.

There is a demonstration this Saturday in Edinburgh in solidarity with the prisoners. SJJP stands in support of their action. But a much bigger confrontation is now coming down the line; given the determination shown by the first four prisoners it seems likely that within thirty days or so, many hundreds of prisoners will be nearing death. It’s hard to see how the Israeli prison authorities will withstand their demands, but the prisoners will need all the support we can give them.

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