Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Ishel Prison announced on Friday that they are to stage a one-day hunger strike in protest against the treatment they get from the prison staff and authorities.
A group of international campaigners for prisoners’ rights known as the “Global Gathering for Breaking Restrictions” said in a statement: “This strike is an extension of the protests against ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli prison authorities and the latter’s broken pledge to make changes.”
The main complaint of the prisoners is the use of “administrative detention” by Israel. A number of them have been on hunger strike for weeks while the Israeli courts continue to ignore their rights and complaints.
The total number of Palestinian prisoners currently in Israeli jails, according the researcher Abdul-Naser Ferwaneh, is 4,750. A former prisoner himself, Ferwaneh said that 186 prisoners are being held without charge or trial under the administrative detention system and the same number are minors, with 25 aged 16 or below.
Ferwaneh, who also experienced very bad treatment in prison, said that 1,400 prisoners suffer from a variety of medical conditions as a result of the harsh conditions in Israeli jails. Many have psychological problems following long terms in solitary confinement.
In Bethlehem, meanwhile, the Israelis added another two Palestinians to the list of detainees when they arrested brothers Mohamed and Ismail Masalmeh, aged 20 and 19 respectively. Witnesses said that the young men were taken to an “unknown destination”.