|More than a thousand Palestinian detainees in the hunger strike|
More than a thousand Palestinians imprisoned in Israel have entered a hunger strike on Monday. They followed an appeal from the prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghuti. The participants of the hunger strike demand better conditions of detention. According to Israeli observers, Barghuti's calls for inner Palestinian political motives.
As the Palestinian Authority for Prisoners, Issa Karake, the AFP news agency said, about 1,300 detainees refuse to eat. Karake announced that this figure could go up further. According to Palestinian Prisoners Club, even 1500 prisoners joined the hunger strike.
The head of the non-governmental organization (NGO), Kaddura Fares, told AFP in the evening that Barghuti had been arrested for detention and several other strike activists. Some prisoners had been transferred to other detention centers. The spokesman of the Israeli penal authority, Assaf Librati, said the prison guard did not negotiate with prisoners.
Such an action of prisoners has not existed for years. The hunger strike took place in connection with the Palestinian Prison Day, which is being held every year, as well as before the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War of 1967 and the beginning of the Israeli occupation.
|Palestinian Marwan Barghuti at the trial in 2003|
Barghuti is living a life sentence. He was one of the leaders of the second intifada, the Palestinian uprising in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel from 2000 to 2005. He is considered to be one of the most popular politicians of the Fatah party and could, according to polls, win the presidential elections. He is considered a hero to many Palestinians, while the Israelis point to the bloody suicide acts of the second Intifada and Barghuti's role in the uprising.
"Decades of experience have shown that Israel's inhuman system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the soul of the prisoners and the people to whom they belong," Barghuti wrote in an editorial in the New York Times. Israel does this by, among other things, "humiliating measures" to achieve a "subjugation". The prisoners would not "surrender".
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to Israel to respond to the demands of the prisoners for "freedom and dignity". Barghuti's wife, Fadwa, told AFP at a demonstration in Ramallah, claiming "international law" and "human rights". The claims include access to telephones, extended visits, and better medical care.
Currently, there are about 6500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including 62 women and 300 minors. Approximately 500 are in so-called administrative detention, which allows imprisonment without prosecution and court proceedings. 13 Palestinian MPs are among the prisoners.
Lastly, there was a major hunger of 2013. At that time 3000 Palestinian prisoners took part in such a one-day action. If the hunger strike of Monday is maintained, it could pose a serious challenge to the Israeli authorities.
The Israeli radio reported that Israel's Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, ordered intervention units to be ready to call. A field lazarette should, therefore, be set up in front of one of the prisons so that sick prisoners do not have to be taken to civilian hospitals. The demands of the prisoners indicated Erdan as inappropriate.
Some Israeli observers suspect the political rivalry between Barghuti and Abbas behind hunger. There were discussions about the succession of Abbas. However, the 82-year-old Palestinian president does not intend to assign