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Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike

4 May 2011 | PressTV

Palestinian political prisoners in Israel’s Nafha jail have gone on a hunger strike to protest the inhumane treatment of detainees by the Israeli prison administration.

Hundreds of Palestinian inmates held in the Israeli military detention center in northern West Bank took part in the one-day event on Tuesday, said Rafat Hamduna, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Study Center. The hunger strike came after Israeli guards, led by military officer Shimon Martislio, orchestrated humiliating raids and searches at the detention cells last week, the Palestine News Network reported. Hamduna warned that the hunger strike would spread to more Israeli jails if the inmates’ very basic rights are not met.

The Prisoners Study Center also called on the Red Cross and other local and international human rights groups to help put a stop to the suffering of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. The Israeli prison administration is accused of using the policy of humiliation, pressure and punishment under the guise of security in its jails. Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli detention camps are continuously subject to lengthy solitary confinements, sudden night raids and torture. The Israeli prison administration also deprives Palestinian political detainees of the simple right of bathing, access to clean clothes and family visits.

The hunger strike is one of the few methods of nonviolent resistance available to Palestinian prisoners in jails. The protesters in Nafha are also taking action against the poor quality of food and the lack of medical attention. Israeli prisons have been facing such criticism for years. The situation is nothing new, except that it is worsening, according to human rights organizations.

Some 11,000 Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including women and children, are currently held in Israeli jails. Many of them are held without charges, leaving several families with no breadwinner.