Palestinian hunger strike sparks clashes with Israeli forces in Bethlehem

Nick Mcbride
April 25, 2017

Palestinians marked Monday as Prisoners' Day. "There will be an update later."Barghouti is now serving five life sentences for his role in murderous terror attacks during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s".

PA President Mahmoud Abbas called on the worldwide community "to intervene to save the lives of Palestinian prisoners who have opened hunger strikes... in light of the Israeli government's narrow-mindedness and refusal to accept the prisoners' just and humanitarian demands".

Protesters have launched sympathy marches in several major towns in the West Bank, such as Hebron and Ramallah.

If continued the strike, being led by jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, would be the largest in recent years.

The Israeli Prison Service simultaneously transferred the Palestinian prisoners who called for disagreement to other facilities, where they remain isolated, arguing, 'the call for a hunger strike is contrary to the prison regulations'. According to Palestinian authorities and the advocacy group Addameer, some 500 of them are held under administrative detention which means they are jailed without charge or trial for a period of six months, which can be extended.

He also called on human rights institutions to compel Israel, as the occupying state, to respect global law and stop its violations of the law in Israeli prisons.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner's Society and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics issued a joint statement on Saturday ahead of Palestinian Prisoners Day, outlining the history of the mass imprisonment of Palestinian activists.

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The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako , granted bail to the defendant to enable him attend to his health challenge. She also refused to vary her ruling on protection of witnesses because witnesses are security operatives.

Earlier on Monday, 13 Palestinians were reported wounded in clashes as demonstrations swept the West Bank in solidarity with the prisoners.

Prisoners are demanding more contact with relatives, better access to medical treatment and an end to the Israeli practice of detention without trial.

According to figures from the PNA, about 6,500 Palestinians are in 22 Israeli prisons and in detention centres, including 300 minors, 12 lawmakers and 28 journalists.

Gilad Erdan tells Israel's Army Radio Tuesday that Marwan Barghouti was punished for "instigating mutiny and leading the hunger strike".

"They were lawfully judged and receive conditions in accordance with worldwide law", said the spokesperson.

Explaining his reasons in the New York Times on Monday for calling for the strike, Barghouti said the protest was "the most peaceful form of resistance available". Israeli rule over the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured during the 1967 war and claimed by the Palestinians as part of a future state, reaches the half-century mark in June. He said Israel Police are ready to offer assistance as needed.

Other reports by VgToday

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