Fears of death loom as Palestinian prisoners enter 39th day of hunger strike

39th of hunger strike

Freedom and Dignity strike: Some of Palestine’s most high-profile prisoners. From left to right: Fouad Shubaki, Nael Barghouthi, Karim Yunis, Ahmad Saadat, Marwan Barghouthi

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Several human rights organizations along with the United Nations (UN) have expressed serious concerns over the health conditions of some 1,300 Palestinians who entered their 39th day of a mass hunger strike across Israeli prisons on Thursday, as Palestinian leaders fear possible deaths as hunger strikers continue being transferred by the dozens to Israeli civilian hospitals.

The hunger-striking prisoners are calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — among other demands for basic rights.
Fears of death as more hunger strikers transferred to hospitals
Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said in a statement on Thursday that the health conditions of the hunger strikers have become “very critical,” and expressed his concern over possible deaths of the prisoners if Israel Prison Service (IPS) continued to refuse their demands.
Qaraqe said that calls were still being made to legal and international institutions, along with initiating calls with Israeli authorities “around the clock” concerning the hunger strike.
He added that reent discussions between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and right-wing US President Donald Trump during Trump’s two day visit to Israel and the ocuppied West Bank, “played an important role” and “forced many to take action” in order to pressure Israel to respond to the demands. However, Qaraqe did not elaborate on what discussions he was referring to or how the US President has been involved in any initiatives around the hunger strike.
“Israel has become concerned and surprised when they found that field hospitals were not enough to take in all the prisoners,” he added, referring to controversial medical clinics that were set up in several Israeli prisons when the hunger strike began — sites many fear could be used to force feed the hunger strikers en masse.
Abbas made a statement on Thursday during a Fatah Central Committee meeting in Ramallah saying that the prisoners’ cause was “deeply discussed” with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations. He added that Palestinian leaders had informed Greenblatt of the details around the hunger strike and that they were “hoping to be in touch with Greenblatt again soon to hear his responses concerning the prisoners’ demands.”
Abbas also emphasized that the “whole world knows that the demands of hunger-striking prisoners are fair. Israel has no excuse to refuse their demands.”
The media committee formed to support the hunger strikers also released a statement on Thursday, saying that IPS officials have moved 15 hunger-striking prisoners from Israel’s Ashkelon prison to Israeli civilian hospitals owing to the deterioration of their health conditions.
Some 150 Palestinian prisoners have been transferred to Israeli civilian hospitals to be treated in recent days.
Hunger-striking prisoner Alaa al-Din Abd al-Karim from Bethlehem told lawyers of the the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Karim Ajwa and Khaled Mahajna that the prisoners have experienced severe weight loss, pains, exhaustion, and difficulty moving.
Abd al-Karim noted that IPS had moved him, along with a number of other hunger strikers, to Israel’s Barzilai Hospital to undergo medical checkups. He said that the Israeli doctors had informed IPS officials of the their “dangerous health conditions,” but did not provide them with any medical treatment.
Israel continues prison-to-prison transfers of Palestinian hunger strikers
Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun reported on Thursday that the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)’s prison branch Kamil Abu Hanish was transferred from solitary confinement in Israel’s Gilboa prison in the north to solitary in Ayalon prison in central Israel.
On Wednesday, Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs lawyer Hanan al-Khatib, who recently visited hunger-striking prisoner Yousif Kamel al-Zaaqiq, said that IPS had imposed an information blackout on the health conditions of the hunger strikers and the daily transfers of prisoners from one detention facility to another — a tactic used to exhaust, demoralize, and isolate the hunger strikers.
The media committee reported in a separate statement that these transfers have continued in Israel’s infamous “Bosta”, a prison vehicle with blacked out windows and hard, metal seats that transfer handcuffed and shackled Palestinian detainees between prisons and to prison medical clinics.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities released a 19-year-old Palestinian prisoner Saed Yihiya Dweikat on Wednesday after he had been on hunger strike for 38 days. Dweikat, from the Nablus-area village of Beita, was held in Israel’s Nafha prison for three-and-a-half years for being involved in political activities with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at Israeli forces and settlers.
He was released at noon on Wednesday and transported to the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah to receive medical care for his deteriorated health condition.
UN and B’Tselem express concern over prisoners’ health conditions
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein released a statement on Wednesday and expressed his concern for the deteriorating health conditions of the hunger strikers. He underscored his concern regarding punitive measures used by Israeli authorities in an attempt to break the hunger strike, and emphasized that “the right of detainees to access a lawyer is a fundamental protection in international human rights law that should never be curtailed.”
In reference to Israel’s use of administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence — the ending of which is one of the central demands of the hunger strike, al-Hussein noted that “various international bodies have repeatedly called on Israel” to end the practice, adding that the prisoners should be “released immediately” or “charged with an offence and tried.”
Israeli rights group B’Tselem also released a statement Thursday, emphasizing that the worsening health of the hunger strikers has indicated that Israeli authorities could begin force-feeding the hunger strikers soon, an act which Israeli authorities have carried out several times before during previous Palestinian prisoner hunger strikes, and which has led to the deaths of several Palestinians.
“Force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike against their wishes is dangerous and is considered a form of torture. It is also prohibited since it violates the individual’s right to autonomy over their body and dignity, and their right to protest in the manner they choose,” the group said, pointing out that despite international medical ethics, the Israeli government passed a law in 2015 permitting Israeli authorities to force feed hunger strikers if their lives are perceived to be in danger.
However, according to earlier reports, Israeli doctors have thus far refused to accept force-feeding the hunger strikers, aligning themselves with international standards, prompting the Israeli government to explore importing foreign workers into Israel to carry out the painful and dangerous procedure.
The incarceration of 6,300 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, “most of them without a fair trial, and some without any trial at all – and the draconian restrictions they face form an integral part of the occupation regime,” the group said.
Solidarity actions continue across Palestinian territory
Meanwhile, Palestinians have continued to launch solidarity activities across the occupied Palestinian territory in support of the hunger strikers.
On Wednesday evening, three former prisoners from Jabaa village in the Jenin district in the northern occupied West Bank declared an open hunger strike in support of the prisoners while visiting a solidarity hunger strike tent in Ramallah city. Local sources identified the three as Maamoun Salama, Azzam Abu Auon, and Mueen Hamamra.
In central Hebron, PPS and the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs organized a sit-in on Thursday with the participation of numerous family members of hunger strikers. The demonstrators marched to Hebron city and closed its northern entrance for about an hour and a half to express their support for the prisoners.
(Source / 25.05.2017)

MADA: 33 Israeli Violations against Media Freedoms in April

25 MAY
5:12 PM

A report released by The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) concludes that Israel has violated press and media freedom 33 times during the month of April.

According to a PNN report, April of 2017 witnessed a slight decrease in the total number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine compared to a staggering number of violations recorded in March, which came in at 51 violations. Still, violations in the month of April were above the general average.

The decrease came as a result of a lower number of Palestinian violations, whereas Israeli violations remained at the same high rate reached during March.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” monitored a total of 41 violations in April that included 33 committed by Israeli forces and 8 by Palestinian parties, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli forces committed a total of 33 attacks against media freedom (more than 80% of all violations recorded this month).

The most prominent of these violations was the closure of four libraries in Hebron and Nablus, following the raid and confiscation of some of their contents, under the pretext of “incitement”.

Palestine TV reporter Anaal Bassem al Jadaa was injured with a gas canister, fired by an Israeli soldier, while covering a demonstration against settlement in Kafr-Qaddum village.

Palestine TV cameraman Bashar Mahmud Nazzal was shot in the leg, with a rubber-coated metal bullet, while covering the same demonstration.

An attack on WAFA News Agency photographer Mashhour Hasan, in Hebron, and the destruction of his camera while covering events in the city, was yet another incident.

Additionally, April saw the renewal of the administrative detention of journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq, only 10 days before his date of release. Israeli occupation forces brutally attacked around 14 journalists, in Jerusalem, while they were covering a peaceful demonstration in the city.

(Source / 25.05.2017)

Algeria Appoints New Prime Minister

A picture taken on February 2, 2016 shows Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a meeting of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria

A picture taken on February 2, 2016 shows Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a meeting of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algeria

Algiers — Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Wednesday appointed Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was housing minister, the new prime minister, replacing Abdelmalek Sellal in the wake of parliamentary elections.

The president’s office, quoted by national news agency Algeria Press Service (APS), said the move to appoint a new premier came after Sellal submitted his government’s resignation to Bouteflika following the sitting of a new national assembly on Tuesday.

On May 04, National Liberation Front (FLN) and its ruling coalition won a clear majority parliamentary elections.

The announcement was made in a statement issued by the Algerian presidency which said: “Following the Constitutional Council’s announcement of the final results of recent legislative polls, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal submitted his resignation today to President Bouteflika.

“The president congratulated Sellal and members of his government for their good performance during their time in office,” it added.

The statement explained that in accordance with Article 91, paragraph 5 of the Constitution, the President, following consultation with the parliamentary majority, has appointed Abdelmadjid Tebboune Premier.

Bouteflika also instructed members of the resigning government to attend to the current affairs of their respective sectors, pending the appointment of the government.

The announcement of the new cabinet is expected soon and will most probably include members of majority parties FLN and Rally for Hope in Algeria (TAJ).

Islamist party Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP), said the party and its ally the Front for Change would have won if there had not been any fraud and refused Bouteflika’s suggestion to join the new government.

MSP said that the new government will not be able to face the challenges and dangers of the coming phase.

Tebboune, 71, has been minister of housing since 2012. He is seen to be close to the president and his brother al-Saeed Bouteflika who is the actual president of the country since President Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013.

In other news, Deputy Defense Minister and Army Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Saleh condemned Tuesday the statements of the opposition claiming military personnel were instructed to vote for certain candidates, describing those statements as: “incorrect, inappropriate, and unacceptable.”

Saleh didn’t explain at whom his statements were directed but media was under the impression that he was responding to Secretary General of the Workers’ Party Louisa Hanoun. Hanoun criticized the performance of the military during the elections.

Saleh stressed that the leadership was keen that all military personnel vote in elections all across Algeria.

He explained that this had happened in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Algeria and in full coordination with the Ministry of Interior.

(Source / 25.05.2017)

Hunger Strike Enters 39th Day, Many Detainees Face Life-Threatening Complications

25 MAY
10:21 AM

The head of the Palestinian Detainees Committee, Issa Qaraqe, has reported that as the Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons enter their 39th consecutive day of the hunger strike, many of them have reached life-threatening health conditions and complications.

Qaraqe’ stated that Israel is still rejecting the legitimate basic demands of the detainees, and is refraining from holding serious talks with them.

In an interview with the Palestine Radio, Qaraqe’ said that contacts have been made with many legal and international organizations and human rights groups, in an attempt to push Israel to abide by International Law, and provide the detainees with their internationally guaranteed rights.

He added that Israel realized its so-called “field clinics” in front of several prisons, are insufficient and cannot house the considerable number of detainees, an issue that pushed the Prison Administration to move many of them to hospitals.

The Palestinian official also stated that Israel’s ongoing disregard of the legitimate demands of the detainees could lead to the death of many detainees, especially since dozens are facing very critical health conditions.

The detainees are demanding basic rights, including being able to have direct body contact with their visiting families, the right to adequate medical care, and ending the arbitrary Administrative Detention policies, holding them hundreds captive, without charges or trial.

(Source / 25.05.2017)

Samer Issawi transferred to hospital in critical condition

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) transferred Wednesday evening the hunger-striking prisoner Samer Issawi to Tel HaShomer Hospital after his serious health deterioration.

Issawi has joined the Freedom and Dignity Hunger Strike declared on April 17 demanding an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, in addition to other demands for basic rights.

The news came as dozens of prisoners were taken to hospitals on Wednesday morning.

Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs head Issa Qaraqe said that the IPS would negotiate with the striking prisoners if only they stop the hunger strike.


He pointed out that the prisoners threatened to escalate their protest steps if their demands are not met.

About 1,800 Palestinian prisoners are continuing their open-ended hunger strike, which most of them started 38 days ago to demand basic rights. (PIC)

(Source / 25.05.2017)

Samidoun: Solidarity with detained BDS Turkey co-founder Harun Turgan – Free all political prisoners in Turkish jails!

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands in solidarity with Harun Turgan, a co-founder of BDS Turkey and a longtime Palestine solidarity and social justice activist, who was arrested by the Turkish government on 24 May. We demand his immediate release and the release of all political prisoners in Turkish jails.

Harun Turgan’s arrest came only three days after he was detained in Kadiköy, Istanbul as he participated in a commemoration of revolutionary Turkish Communist leader, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya. Kaypakkaya, the founder of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML) was arrested by Turkey’s military government and was killed in prison in 1973; he was tortured for four months and shot in the head by his jailers and interrogators. Kaypakkaya remains today a prominent symbol of revolutionary politics and also one of steadfastness under interrogation as a political prisoner; as a part of the political prisoners’ struggle, his legacy is in many ways comparable to that of Ibrahim al-Rai in the history of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement.

When Turgan was detained three days earlier, he was handcuffed behind his back; photos showed other detained participants bloodied in the face. Of course, he is not alone as a political prisoner in Turkey; thousands of Kurdish and Turkish prisoners are jailed for their political activity and involvement in social and liberation movements and held in Turkish jails. The Turkish and Kurdish prisoners’ movements and Palestinian prisoners’ movement have shared histories of struggle and have developed joint knowledge about surviving lengthy hunger strikes.

The arrest and detention of Harun Turgan also comes as the Turkish state pursues further and deeper normalization with Israel and involvement in NATO’s wars and imperialist adventures in the region, while at the same time jailing supporters of Palestine. Turgan has been a consistent and active organizer over years of struggle confronting Turkish normalization with Israel, organizing the BDS campaign, supporting Palestinian liberation and participating only days ago in BDS Turkey’s and Samidoun’s protests commemorating the Nakba and demanding the release and supporting the hunger strike of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

We join BDS Turkey in declaring our support for Harun Turgan and demand his immediate release and that of all political prisoners in Turkish jails. From Turkey to Palestine, free all political prisoners!

(Source / 25.05.2017)

FSA Gains Ground inside Dara’a as Syrian Coalition Calls for Supporting Syrians’ Struggle against Terrorism

Fighters of the Free Syrian Army on Wednesday liberated new parts of the Manshiya district in Dara’a city after fierce clashes with regime forces and their allied Iranian militias. The Syrian Coalition said that the ousting of these militias from all Syrian territory should be a “priority for all forces of the revolution.”

Activists in Dara’a said that the FSA groups advanced on areas from which regime forces launched rocket and artillery shells on the liberated parts of the divided city on a daily basis. They said that the regime’s shelling left dozens of civilian casualties, including women and children.

Member of the Coalition’s political committee Yasser Farhan said that the ousting of foreign militias from Syria is an immediate priority for the FSA and mainstream rebel groups. He called on the international community to support the Syrian people in their struggle against terrorism and dictatorship.

“We will fight until the last inch of our homeland is liberated from the Assad regime as well as the Iranian and Russian occupation,” Farhan said in a statement on Thursday.

Activists pointed out that the blocks of buildings captured by the FSA groups on Wednesday were used as fortified command and control centers by the Iranian-backed militias. They added that these militias are being supervised by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Assad regime’s air force responded by launching around 21 air raids and 12 barrel bomb attacks targeting the districts of Dara’a Albalad. The bombing left dozens of civilian casualties and caused widespread material damage.

The FSA and rebel groups in Syria have been fighting terrorist militias across Syria. The Assad regime forces, the Iranian-backed sectarian militias, the Russian air force, and the militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) are responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of Syrians. The international community, meanwhile, has so far failed to push towards finding a political solution to end the suffering of the Syrian people.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 25.05.2017)

Israeli bulldozers level Palestinian lands in Salfit

Qarawat Bani Hassan

A group of Israeli settlers stormed Thursday morning the Palestinian town of Qarawat Bani Hassan west of Salfit accompanied with a number of bulldozers and carried out razing operations.

The PIC reporter quoted the town’s mayor Tamer Rayan as affirming that the Israeli bulldozers leveled Palestinian-owned agricultural lands with the aim of building new housing units in the nearby settlements.

The local activist Khaled Maali pointed out that Israeli razing operations have recently escalated in the province, aiming to expand the eight settlements built illegally near Wadi Qana area in blatant violation of international laws.

(Source / 25.05.2017)

Families of striking prisoners close main road in Nablus

Families of Palestinian hunger strikers

Families of Palestinian hunger striking prisoners in Nablus closed on Thursday a main road leading to the city downtown in support of their striking relatives who have been fasting for 39 consecutive days.

Participants in the sit-in tent, which has been erected on al-Shuhada Square in downtown Nablus since the start of the hunger strike more than a month ago, moved outside it and staged a sit-in on the main road and blocked traffic.

In the same context, scores of Palestinians led by Mayor of Nablus city Adli Yaish and members of the newly elected municipality council along with activists of the national committee for the support of the hunger strikers participated in a solidarity march that kicked off from the municipality building and headed to the sit-in tent.

The participants carried Palestinian flags, photos of hunger strikers, and national banners. They also chanted slogans in support for the hunger strikers and their just demands.

(Source / 25.05.2017)

Striking prisoners enter day 39, dozens moved to the hospital

Hunger-striking prisoners to Meir hospital

About 1,600 Palestinian prisoners are still on hunger strike for the 39th day running. Many of them were moved to hospitals after deterioration of their health conditions.

Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has been ignoring their primary demands including more frequent and lengthy family visits, better incarceration conditions such as improved medical care, access to telephones and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention without charge or trial.

The IPS transferred Wednesday night the hunger striking detainee Samer al-Issawi to Tel Hashomer Hospital after his health condition worsened. 60 Others were transferred to other hospitals, according to the media committee of the hunger strike. 20 striking prisoners were also moved from Hadarim jail to Meir Hospital and 40 others from Ohli Kedar prison to different hospitals.

Prisoner Marwan al-Barghouti was also previously transferred along with 120 striking captives to hospitals due to health deterioration.

Lawyer Hanan al-Khatib who visited the hunger strikers in Hadarim jail said that the IPS imposes a news blackout. The striking captives intend to pursue escalated moves in the few coming days such as refraining from drinking water and undergoing medical tests, she revealed.

The striking detainees are suffering from difficulty in movement, sharp weight loss, frequent fainting, bleeding and pain in the joints. Some of the hunger strikers are sick captives, the lawyer pointed out.

They also complain of insects and bugs inside the isolation cells as well as shortage of clothes and blankets since the IPS confiscated their personal belongings on day one of the hunger strike. Since day 16, they have been wearing the same underwear, the committee highlighted.

(Source / 25.05.2017)