More than 4,500 Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons joined seven fellow inmates on hunger strike in protest against their indefinite detention by forgoing lunch and dinner on Sunday. Israel has reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners with 450 of them in administrative detention, considered illegal by international law. Most of them are former prisoners who had been incarcerated for years for resisting the Israeli occupation.
According to the Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and ex-Detainees’ Affairs, the seven detainees have been on hunger strike for periods ranging from 28 days to 116 days. Inmate Kayed al-Fasfous has been on hunger strike for the longest time (116 days), followed by Miqdad al-Qawasmeh (109 days), Alaa Al-Araj (92), Hisham abu Hawash (82), Ayyad al-Hraimi (46), Rateb Harebatand (30) and Loay Alashqar (28).
The condition of al-Fasfous and al-Qawasmeh has deteriorated significantly, giving rise to concerns of death, and the other five inmates are also experiencing health issues. Al-Fasfous and al-Qawasmeh have been in hospital following a serious deterioration in their health, Hassan Abed Rabbo, a spokesman for the commission, told Palestinian news agency Wafa. They have irregular heartbeats and their body fluids and vitamins have drastically reduced, he added.
Al-Fasfous might die any moment and al-Qawasmeh also suffers from serious lung, kidney and liver complications, the commission warned, Wafa reported. They are showing symptoms of fatigue, headache, severe weight loss, partial memory loss, loss of sight, and Bacteremia, among others, according to Peoples Dispatch, an international media project which brings to its readers voices from people’s movements and organisations across the globe.
Administrative detention allows the incarceration of Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable intervals usually ranging between three and six months based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing.
The hunger strike has started attracting international attention with the United Nations (UN) expressing concern about their lives and urging Israel to either charge them with crimes and start trials or release them and completely stop using the administrative detention policy.
“In violation of international law, Israel continues to use administrative detention to imprison more than 500 Palestinians—including six children—without charges, without trials, without convictions, all based on classified secret information that the detainees have no access to,” UN experts said. “They have no recourse to challenging these undisclosed allegations, and they do not know when or if they are going to be released.”
Despite the global condemnation of administrative detention, Israel has continued the policy to persecute and punish Palestinians opposing the Israeli occupation.