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40 South African officials to hold hunger strike in support of Palestinian prisoners

A group of students hold a Palestinian flag during a protest against Israel's policies at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa on March 8, 2017 [Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency]
A group of students hold a Palestinian flag during a protest against Israel's policies at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa on March 8, 2017 [Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency]

More than 40 South African ministers, government officials, activists and personalities are to launch a 24 hour hunger strike in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails who are now on the 26th day of their hunger strike.

The activists will begin their fast on Sunday at 18:00 local time and end it at the same time on Monday, which marks Nakba Day, which marks the displacement of hundreds of thousands Palestinians as a result of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The country’s Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo and Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies are amongst the twelve government officials who have already signed up to participate.

Read: Palestinian hunger strike sparks South African campaign

Mpho Masemola, chairperson of the Ex-Political Prisoners Association of South Africa, will also be taking part. In March, Israeli border forces held Masemola for nine hours at the King Hussein Bridge between Jordan and occupied Palestine before he was sent back to Amman.

It began on 17 April, which marks Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. More than 1,600 prisoners are taking part in the strike. Some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike demanding Israel Prison Service allow them family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment, and bring an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial.

To join the hunger strike in South Africa, send an e-mail to: PalestinianPoliticalPrisoners@gmail.com. An up to date list of names of those taking part can be found here.

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