On the 11th day of the mass “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike, Israeli Prison Service (IPS) forces attacked two hunger-striking prisoners and prevented other Palestinian prisoners from purchasing salt for their hunger strike.
A lawyer from the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, Kareem Ajwah, said in a statement that that the two prisoners, Nasser Abu Hmeid and Saed Musallam, who are ill, were attacked by IPS forces when they refused to stand for a search after the forces stormed into the prisoners’ room.
While Abu Hmeid and Musallam were directly attacked, three other prisoners in the room were injured on the face and head, and were moved to the prison’s clinic for treatment.
Separately, quoting Abu Hmeid, Ajwah reported that IPS administration has been “conducting internal trials” for hunger-striking prisoners, imposing a series of punitive measures and fines of up to 500 shekels for anyone participating in the strike, in addition to moving prisoners to solitary confinement for up to 10 days at a time.
The condition of striking detainees are very difficult, due to the continued daily raids and storms of the prisons’ administration in an attempt to exhaust and humiliate the prisoners
, Abu Hmeid added that IPS has taken away salt – which in addition to water, is the only nutrition consumed by Palestinian hunger strikers – from all striking prisoners “as a means of pressure to end the strike.”
An IPS spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Head of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said on Wednesday that IPS forces had “continued to escalate punitive measures” against prisoners, which started on the first day of the strike, with IPS forces transferring prisoners and leaders of the strike to solitary confinement, and preventing lawyers from visiting prisoners, particularly sick prisoners.
According to Qaraqe, IPS officials have continued preventing prisoners — some of whom are refusing all forms of nutrition except salt and water — from accessing commissaries to purchase salt, provided prisoners with dirty sheets and covers, and carried out provocative search raids of prisoners rooms, and arbitrary transfers of prisoners.
Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to a joint statement released last week by Palestinian organizations. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, some 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli custody as of March.