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Hunger striking as a form of non-violent resistance

March 10, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Palestine Remix is an interactive tool that allows users to view or use parts of various Al Jazeera documentary films on Palestine to create their own productions. MEMO will be remixing one video every week, highlighting an aspect of life in Palestine or an issue related to the Palestine-Israel conflict. You can see part I here.

Our second Palestine Remix video takes a look at hunger striking as a form of protest by Palestinian prisoners against the injustice of their sentencing and the conditions they are forced to endure. This has been an effective non-violent tool adopted by Irish prisoners over the course of history; most notably the IRA prisoners in the 1980s who Palestinians have cited as important influences.

Last summer, Khader Adnan was released from prison after his 56 day hunger strike in protest against his detention. This record was recently surpassed by Muhammad Al-Qeeq, a journalist imprisoned without charge or trial, who underwent a hunger strike of 94 days; the longest recorded hunger strike undertaken by a Palestinian to date. Israeli authorities have started to become immune to this type of pressure and are seeking new ways to end this strategy that does not succumb to the prisoner’s demands.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, over the last five years nearly 100 Palestinian prisoners have gone on individual hunger strikes to demand medical treatment, end solitary confinement and to challenge the renewal of their administrative detention.

In one clip, female prisoners can be seen undertaking this measure as a form of protest. Hana Shalabi was forced to go on a hunger strike in protest against being strip-searched repeatedly by groups of soldiers.

For the hunger strike to meet the prisoner’s demands, enough media attention must be given for international intervention and subsequent pressure to be placed on Israel to act.

A European tour with Rawan Damen: looking into how innovative and interactive technologies are changing how news is received. Rawan Damen, dynamo behind Palestine Remix project will be delivering an interactive session on the Palestine Remix project. Click to register. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.