“. . . The silence is so loud that our hearts bleed . . .” (Samia Khoury)

solidrity strikers
Palestinian women hold portraits of loved ones in Israeli prison during a protest in support of hunger-striking prisoners in the West Bank city of Nablus on May 4, 2017. (Photo: Ayman Ameen, APA images)

❶ Hunger Strike Continues For The 34th Day

  •  Personal Reflection – Samia Khoury

❷ On 34th day of hunger strike, prisoners transferred to Israeli civilian hospital
❸ Background issues: Treatment of hunger strikers raises concern amongst rights organizations
❹ Starving with their sons
❺ Opinion/Analysis:  Editorial Negotiate With the Palestinian Hunger Strikers
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC 
May 20, 2017
Around 1600 Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israel, continue the hunger strike for the 34th consecutive day, determined to achieve their demands, while Israel continues to refuse to hold serious talks, and instead, is trying to divide them, in addition to punishing many by forcing them into solitary confinement, and repeatedly transferring many to different prisons.
___The Media Committee of the Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported that the “Freedom and Dignity” strike is going through one of the most serious and sensitive stages, and that the detainees are determined to continue until achieving their demands.
___It said that the Israeli government has appointed the head of the Shabak, and the Prison Authority, to do whatever is possible to end the hunger strike before U.S. President Donald Trump visits the region, “even if this means adhering to most of the detainees’ demands.”   MORE . . .

Reflections from Palestine: A Journey of Hope
May 20, 2017
Dear Friends: How would you feel if your son or daughter went on a hunger strike demanding justice for more than a month, and nobody bothered to call you or check on you and your beloved one? The silence is so loud that our hearts bleed with those mothers who are gathering daily in various areas including the Red Cross offices in the Palestinian Territories. Yet there is no reaction or action from the Israeli authorities or the international community to respond to their demands for basic rights as political prisoners, in accordance to the Geneva Convention. So many of those political prisoners have been under administrative detention without any charge or trial.      MORE . . . .

Ma’an News Agency  
May 20, 2017
As some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners entered the 34th day of a mass hunger strike on Saturday, a group of prisoners were transferred to an Israeli civilian hospital after refusing water and falling into a critical health condition, while Palestinian prisoners have remained united against the strike’s leadership.
___The Israel Prison Service (IPS) transferred a group of Palestinian hunger strikers to Israel’s Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon city in southern Israel, after the prisoners gradually stopped drinking water and their health conditions reached a critical stage, according to the committee formed to support the hunger strikers.
[. . . .]   According to reports, up until this point, Palestinian hunger strikers have been transferred to prison field hospitals — sites which many fear will be used to force feed the hunger strikers en masse.    MORE . . .
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association 

May 8, 2017
On April 17, 2017, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike in protest against their severe conditions of incarceration and other violations of their human rights. Their demands comply with international human rights and humanitarian law . . . . Nevertheless, since the declaration of the strike, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has taken various punitive actions against the hunger-strikers, including placing prisoners in solitary confinement and preventing them from meeting with lawyers. . . . These measures stand in direct contradiction of the 2016 Concluding Observations of the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), which has called on Israel to “guarantee that persons deprived of liberty who engage in hunger strikes are never subjected to ill-treatment or punished for engaging in a hunger strike” (para. 27).  The hunger strikers’ demands cover a wide range of issues, including . . . . MORE . . .

Palestinians in London launch a solidarity hunger strike and protest outside House of Parliament in London, UK. (Photo: May 4, 2017, Middle East Monitor)

The Electronic Intifada
Maram Humaid
May 19,2017
Latifa al-Naji Abu Humaid’s family are worried about her health. They are trying to convince the 70-year-old that she should start eating again. But Latifa is determined to continue refusing food in solidarity with her sons who are undertaking a hunger strike behind Israeli bars.
___“I cannot eat while my sons are starving,” said Latifa, who lives in al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, a city in the occupied West Bank. “If they end the hunger strike, I will too.”
___Four of Latifa’s sons have been in prison since 2002. All affiliated to al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of the Fatah organization, they have been convicted of various charges and sentenced to multiple life sentences for their roles in planning and helping carry out suicide bombings and other armed operations.
___The four have joined the mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners.  MORE . . . 
❺ Opinion/Analysis:  NEGOTIATE  WITH  THE  PALESTINIAN  HUNGER STRIKERS       Is it really in Israel’s interest to descend into a third intifada instead of listening to the prisoners? 
Haaretz Editorial  
May 21, 2017
Despite a lack of interest among Israelis, the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners entered its 35th day on Sunday. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan hasn’t tried to resolve the strike through negotiations with the prisoners over their demands. Instead he has tried to break the strikers and end the action by force.
___Erdan has been threatening to force-feed the strikers. He has stuck by this approach even though the Israel Medical Association has said it will refuse to carry out force-feeding. Erdan is even willing to bring in doctors from abroad for this purpose. . . .
___Such efforts have failed. Now it appears that the nonviolent protests have spread beyond the prison walls to the Palestinian street, but violently. If the government doesn’t quickly come to its senses and find a way to deal with the strike, hundreds of prisoners could die. About 850 prisoners are currently striking and their health continues to decline.
___Force-feeding is an indecent practice that violates medical ethics. Some people view it as torture in every respect.      MORE . . .

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