Palestinian political prisoners’ hunger strike reaches critical stages
Respond to the Palestinian call for action
(CHICAGO 05/01/2012) – A massive hunger strike staged by almost half of all Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails has reached critical stages and death could be imminent for a few entering their third month without food. Within the next week, nearly all Palestinian political prisoners will be refusing food to protest their detention, according to published reports. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will take the situation to the United Nations General Assembly, according to various media reports.
Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, striking for more than 64 days, are in critical condition, while Palestinian Legislative Council member Jamal al-Natshe’s health also is deteriorating. On Sunday, a fourth political prisoner, Ahmed Sa’adat, was moved to Ramle prison hospital.
These men are refusing to eat as an act of resistance to Israel’s military occupation and indiscriminate use of random arrests and detentions. They were joined on April 17, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, by 1,300 prisoners, who are now in their second week of fasting. In total, 2,000 political prisoners are refusing to eat to protest Israel’s inhumane use of administrative detention and the deplorable conditions for all Palestinians who are being held in Israeli prisons, in direct contravention of international law. Another 100 prisoners notified the Palestinian Authority they plan to join the strike on Tuesday and within a week the total number of striking prisoners may rise to 3,500, the Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer has said. Currently, there are about 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners, including 320 being held without charge or trial in administrative detention.
Diab and Halahleh are being held under administrative detention. Their appeals against their detentions were denied on April 23. The Israeli Supreme Court has said it will hear their cases on Thursday.
Also, on April 24, the Israeli High Court rejected Hassan Safafi’s appeal of his administrative detention, now on his 57th day of hunger strike. Others being held without charge or trial and entering dangerous stages of their hunger strike are: Omar Abu Shalal, 56 days; Jaafar Azzedine, 41 days; Mohammad Taj, 45 days; Mahmoud Sarsak, 40 days; and Abdullah Barghouti, 20 days. All fasting prisoners have said they are willing to “die to achieve a decent life for themselves and their sisters and brothers.”
These punitive measures include being put in solitary confinement, denied family visits, the confiscation of personal belongings and fines of between 250 and 500 shekels for every day of fasting.
The Palestinian prisoners have issued a call for solidarity to the global community. We must respond to that call in the name of human rights, the right to live in dignity and free from fear of random imprisonment.
The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) find the resounding silence by the United States to be absolutely deplorable and in direct contradiction to the values due process and also human rights, which we cherish. AMP calls on its supporters and all those who support human dignity and social justice to call the office of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to demand the US intervene to force Israel to release all political prisoners immediately.
National Call In Day:
Call Secretary Clinton from noon to 3 p.m. EST on May Day, Tuesday, May 1 to demand justice all political prisoners.
Call Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 202-647-5291.
- State your name and the city and state where you reside. Be polite but firm.
- The fact that Israeli occupation forces deny due process to Palestinians is racist and indicative of an apartheid state.
- U.S. support of Israeli occupation in light of these facts hurts American interests abroad and threatens our national security.
- The US should demand that Israel uphold the basic values of life, liberty and dignity inherent to all human beings.
- The US should demand that Israel release all Palestinian prisoners.
- Once you call, please email AMP at [email protected] with Hunger Strike in the subject line. Please tell us when you called and what state you reside in.