First Published: 2017-04-19

Palestinians slam Israel for treatment of hunger strikers
Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have joined hunger strike that began Monday as Palestinian leaders warn of 'new intifada' if any of them die.
Middle East Online

Girl holds Palestinian flag during rally in Gaza City to show suppport for hunger-striking Palestinians

JERUSALEM - Palestinian leaders on Wednesday denounced Israel's refusal to negotiate with Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli jails, warning of a "new intifada" if any of them die.

Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners have joined the hunger strike that began Monday, according to Issa Qaraqe, head of detainees' affairs for the Palestinian Authority.

Israel's prison service declined to comment on the number.

The hunger strike has been led by prominent prisoner and popular Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

The prisoners have made a range of demands, from better medical care to access to telephones.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes.

Around 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, but rarely on such a scale.

Qaraqe said the strike followed months of attempts at negotiations with Israeli occupation authorities.

"If their demands are not met, more prisoners will join the strike," he said.

"We have asked the international community and the UN to intervene immediately."

He added that if prisoners die, "that could lead to a new intifada."

Israeli officials have vowed not to negotiate with the hunger strikers, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday calling them "terrorists and incarcerated murderers."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that authorities "would not hesitate to implement the law which authorises the force-feeding of detainees".

The controversial law passed in 2015 concerns hunger strikers whose life is deemed in danger.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he wanted to take the approach of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who publicly refused to accede to the demands of IRA hunger strikers in 1981, 10 of whom died.

Lieberman himself lives in a Jewish-only settlement, on stolen Palestinian land, in the illegally occupied West Bank.

Qaraqe accused other Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of "incitement" against the prisoners.

Shawan Jabarin of Palestinian rights group Al-Haq said invoking the force-feeding law would be "tantamount to torture."

Barghouti is popular among Palestinians, with polls suggesting he could win the Palestinian presidency.

While many Palestinians view him as a hero, Israelis point to the bloody suicide attacks of the second intifada of 2000-2005 and his role in the uprising.

He was convicted of attacks that killed five people, though declined to defend himself and did not recognise the court's legitimacy.

Reports on Wednesday said that Barghouti had been placed in solitary confinement by Israeli occupation forces after writing an op-ed in the New York Times about the mass hunger strike that he is currently leading.

For Palestinians, the prisons have become a stark symbol of Israel's occupation.

Some 850,000 Palestinians have been incarcerated since the start of Israel's occupation 50 years ago, Palestinian leaders say.

 

Egypt Christians bury victims with tears, anger

UN says nations bombing IS must protect civilians

Palestinians end mass hunger strike in Israel jails

Probe finds over 100 Mosul civilians killed in US air strike

Syria girls escape war with Snow White

Egypt hits jihadists as IS claims deadly attack on Christians

Britain arrests two more in Manchester attack probe

Turkey charges opposition newspaper staff

Death toll in Tripoli clashes reaches 52

Hundreds of migrants rescued in major operation off Libya

Ramadan in Libya: little cash, much violence

UN braces for up to 200,000 Iraqis to flee Mosul

Iraq forces launch broad attack on IS holdouts in Mosul

Civilians flee IS-held Syria cities after deadly strikes

At least 28 dead in Tripoli clashes

26 killed in attack on Egypt Christians

Turkey identifies 'intelligence weaknesses' before coup attempt

Tunisia opens trial over 2015 beach massacre

Syria army takes control of key road

US-led strikes kill 35 civilians in east Syria

Palestinian president says US should mediate hunger strike

Libya says working closely with Britain over concert attack

EU leaders, Erdogan meet in bid to ease tensions

Myanmar to deport Turkish family wanted for alleged coup links

Iran says it has built third underground missile factory

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US

Britain probes jihadist network amid row with US intelligence

Egypt blocks several media websites including Jazeera

IS suicide bomber kills five in Somalia

Israel uneasy over 'crazy' regional arms race

Algeria president replaces Prime Minister

16 civilians dead in coalition strikes near Raqa

4 arrested in Tunisia anti-corruption drive

German MPs call off Turkey visit as tensions fester

Palestinian hunger strike row draws solidarity, controversy

Britain raises terror alert, deploys troops after concert massacre

Qatar probes state news agency hack

At least 20 migrants killed in Mediterranean

Israeli joy at Trump visit lacks substance

Oman evacuates Australian man from Yemen

Bahrain police open fire on Shiite protest, kill five

Turkey arrests hunger strikers on terror charges