Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, estimated at 6,300, began an open hunger strike on Wednesday in protest of maltreatment by Israeli guards.Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Karaka said that the prisoners decided to hold the hunger strike on three days of the week: Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Detainees are threatening to disobey all prison rules if their demands are not met, Karaka said, adding that the move would be unprecedented.
Prisoners may defy all prison orders, refuse to wear uniforms or stand up for daily counts, he said in a statement.
Detainees affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of are on an open hunger strike to demand an end to the solitary confinement of PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat, who has been held in isolation for three years.
They are also demanding an end to the solitary confinement of 20 other prisoners, some of whom have been held in isolation for 10 years, Karaka said.
In Rimon and Nafha prisons, detainees went on hunger strike after a visit by the Israeli Minister of Internal Security. The minister told prisoners' representatives that their demands would not be met.
Prisoners had demanded that Israeli authorities end solitary confinement and collective punishment, allow detainees to study, and stop humiliating inspections and the practice of chaining detainees' hands and feet during visits by lawyers and relatives.
Karaka said detainees in other prisons would go on hunger strike on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but that an open hunger strike would begin if demands were not met.
Meanwhile in Shatta prison, detainees have refused to see their relatives or lawyers since the prison service announced that their hands and feet would be chained during visits, Karaka said.
Palestinian prisoners in Ashkelon prison had started a three-day hunger strike yesterday in protest of what they considered "oppressive acts" like inspecting them while they are naked and damaging contents of their cells.
A prisoner in the women’s HaSharon prison warned of threats of even stricter measures in the prison later this month as she said living conditions are like never before after the naming of a new prison director, according to Mandela rights group in Palestine.She said the prison told the prisoners to brace themselves for upcoming measures after making restrictions on clothes and books and carrying out daily provocative search raids.
In his address to the UN General Assembly on Friday, told world leaders that peace with Israel required "the release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay."
He added: "The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which they have sacrificed."
Palestinian human rights and prisoners group Addameer said the disobedience campaign was in response to "an escalating series of punitive measures" by the Israeli prison authorities.
In June, Israeli Prime Minister vowed to toughen conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jails, in an effort to pressure Hamas to release captured Israeli solider Gilad Shalit.
The measures were widely condemned by Palestinian officials and prompted hunger strikes by prisoners in protest against the changes.
There are currently approximately 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including women, children and elected politicians. Many of them are held for long periods without charge, denying families their breadwinners. 300 Palestinians in Administrative Detention who are held without charge.
TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT PALESTINIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS!
1. Contact the ‘Israeli embassy’ or consulate in your country and demand the immediate release of Palestinian political prisoners.
2. Distribute UFree special report ‘Unlawful combatants’ >> Find attached
3. Write to human rights organizations asking them to act swiftly to demand that all Palestinian political prisoners and detainees are freed from punitive isolation.
4. Email the International Committee of the Red Cross whose humanitarian mission includes monitoring the conditions of prisoners, at jerusalem.jer[at]icrc.org,efillion[at]ic
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