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Hebron in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike for rights

3 October 2011| International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

On the sixth day of the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, major political factions joined in Hebron and united in support for human rights for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, victims of Israeli collective punishment tactics.

On Tuesday the 27th of September, an open-ended hunger strike was initiated until the fulfillment of 9 demands by Palestinian prisoners, which include the right to family visits, end to the use of isolation as a punishment against detainees, and profiteering of Israeli prisons from financial penalties charged against prisoners.

Approximately 3000 prisoners are taking part in the strike including all the different political fractions from eight different prisons.

On Sunday solidarity tents with the prisoners were positioned in the center of all the main cities in the Palestinian occupied territories, and there are plans for actions such as demonstrations and public street theater throughout the entire week in Hebron and the rest of the territories in support of the prisoners strike.

Amjad Najjar the media spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society and head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club in Hebron said, “The strike is a reaction towards the collective punishment imposed on the prisoners that have been further increased after the UN bid for Palestinian statehood. The strike is a reaction towards the humiliation that the Palestinian prisoners are exposed to.”

Najjar elaborated that the conditions for prisoners are much worse in present days, and it is one of the negative byproducts of the Oslo agreement, since prisons are placed outside regions Palestinians have access to, complicating the possibility of family visits. He continued to explain that payment for visits by families as well as fines against all prisoners have developed a prison industrial complex from which Israel is profiting.

The hunger strike in Israeli prisons is a political method used through history to gain certain rights and traces back to the first Intifada. In May and June two prisoners, Attif Uridat Said and Yussif Aleskaffi, who both have medical issues conducted a hunger strike for 34 days in protest of Israel’s denial of medical aid for Palestinian prisoners.