- April 7, 2010
Palestinian prisoners initiate their first day of hunger strike
The Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails started on Wednesday their first day of hunger strike in the context of the protest steps they announced to pressure the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) to respond to their demands.
Rafat Hamdouna, the director of the prisoners’ center for studies, said on Tuesday that the Israeli prisons authority officials sat with representatives of the prisoners in some prisons and listened to their demands regarding the violations committed against their rights in Israeli jails.
Hamdouna affirmed that there are a lot of daily violations against the prisoners, especially the policy of medical neglect, the harassment of their families during visits and depriving them of educational attainment.
The center director appealed to international organizations concerned with the issue of prisoners to activate their role in supporting the struggle of Palestinian detainees to restore their rights being violated by Israeli jailers.
In the same context, senior Hamas official Abdullah Yassin said on Tuesday that the protest steps which the prisoners intend to take is a very brave move that is worth the solidarity and support of the Palestinian factions, institutions and people at all levels.
During a popular sit-in organized by civil organizations in Tulkarem, Yassin added that the popular support for the issue of prisoners is a national and humanitarian duty that also makes the detainees in Israeli jails feel they are not alone.
For its part, the higher leadership committee of Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails urged the Palestinian street to seriously move to support the protest steps which the detainees initiated with a hunger strike today in protest at the Israeli repressive acts against them.
In a statement leaked from Israeli jails on Wednesday, the committee said that the Palestinian institutions, political forces and factions are demanded to stand by the prisoners and their struggle to restore their rights.
The statement underlined that the leadership of all Palestinian prisoners is determined to continue its escalating protest steps until all its just demands are granted.
Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies, for its part, called on the Palestinian street and its official and civil institutions to support the battle of hunger strike which the Palestinian prisoners started on Wednesday morning and not let them alone in their struggle.
Director of the center Fouad Al-Khafsh said that the leadership of prisoners stated their demands very clearly and would never back down from its protest steps until the Israeli prisons authority responds to these demands.
Khafsh explained that these demands are represented mainly in ending the policy of solitary confinement, allowing family visits, stopping the harassment of families during visits, allowing prisoners to complete their education, providing them with books, ending humiliating inspections and improving the conditions of transferring detainees to courts.
In a related incident, Hamas spokesman Yousuf Farahat described the status of joy and jubilation which the Palestinian citizens in central Gaza showed during their reception of released prisoner Mohamed Al-Hashash as the least that can be done for a prisoner who spent long years in Israeli jails.
In a press release on Tuesday, spokesman Farahat expressed hope that all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails could obtain their freedom soon and urged the captors of soldier Gilad Shalit to cling to their demands so as to free all veteran prisoners.