As many as 10 Palestinian detainees have once again gone on an open-ended hunger strike to protest the inhumane living conditions in Israeli jails and detention centers, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said on June 26.
The Ramallah-based prisoners’ organization said that two detainees, Ihsan Othman and Ja’far Izz Al-Din, began a hunger strike nine days ago to protest their administrative detention (imprisonment without charge or trial).
The brothers, Nour Al-Din and Mohyee Al-Din Shahrouri, also began their hunger strike nine and two days ago respectively, protesting horrible prison conditions. On June 23, six more administrative detainees, Mahmoud Al-Fasfous, Kayed Al-Fasfous, Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, Abdul-Aziz Sweiti, Saed Al-Nammoura, and Wael Rabei, went on a hunger strike.
Detainees are seeking better living conditions, relaxation of restrictions on visits from their families, and an end to night-time raids on their prison cells.
Recently, the Israeli government decided to introduce extremely harsh measures in prisons to create ‘deterrence’ so that detainees don’t take part in ‘terrorist activities’ inside the prison or after their release. These measures have led to a further deterioration of the already horrible conditions inside prisons.
Some of these new measures include placing limits on detainees’ use of water, banning preparation of fod in cells, and installing jamming devices to prevent the use of smuggled mobile phones. The installation of mobile jamming devices was met with protests from the detainees, as they reported experiencing severe headaches and fainting.
In January, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) raided cells in the Ofer military prison near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. The raids caused injuries to more than 140 Palestinian detainees, many of whom were attacked with live ammunition. Similar raids also took place in late March in the prisons and detention centers in Naqab, Ramon, Gilboa, Nafha and Eshel, which also resulted in injuries to many detainees.
Outraged by these raids, the detainees launched a massive mass hunger strike on April 7. The strike ended after eight days when they reached a deal with the IPS. The detainees have embarked on hunger strikes on a regular basis to fight for their rights and achieve their demands.
Palestinian women prisoners in the Damon prison are also scheduled to launch a hunger strike on July 1 against the horrible conditions in the facility.
According to the PPS, there are currently 5,450 detainees in Israeli jails. 205 of them are minors under the age of 18, and 48 are women. Estimates say that since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip began in June 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been detained in Israeli jails.