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Palestinian prisoners held by Israel go on hunger strike

Palestinians demonstrate in front of Ofer Prison in solidarity with 30 prisoners on hunger strike, near the city of Ramallah in West Bank on September 25, 2022. [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians demonstrate in front of Ofer Prison in solidarity with 30 prisoners on hunger strike, near the city of Ramallah in West Bank on September 25, 2022 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Thirty Palestinian political detainees held by Israel have gone on open-ended hunger strike in protest against their administrative detention. This cruel and unjust practice means that prisoners can be held indefinitely with neither charge nor trial by the occupation authorities.

According to Wafa news agency, the prisoners have been held for 200 years collectively. They pointed out that this is 200 years when children and families have been deprived of their fathers, brothers and sons.

The chairman of the Palestinian Commission for Detainees' and Ex-Detainees' Affairs, Qadri Abu Baker, told Wafa that a further 50 prisoners will join the hunger strike on Thursday. The prisoners who have started their strike have been boycotting the Israeli military courts since the start of this year in an attempt to shed light on their predicament.

The Palestine Centre for Prisoner Studies revealed last month that these courts have issued 1,056 administrative detention orders since the start of 2022. Of these, it said, 469 were new orders, and 587 were renewals.

"Administrative detention is a criminal policy aimed at depleting the life of the Palestinians in prison without a legal base," said Riyad Al-Ashqar, the Director of the centre and a former prisoner himself. "It is dictated by the desire of the Israeli occupation officers and the military courts, which take orders based on secret files."

Al-Ashqar noted that this is why the prisoners held under administrative detention go on hunger strike for long periods. They want to put pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to release them.

There are 660 Palestinians held under administrative detention inside Israeli prisons. They include four MPs, two women — one of them a journalist — and two children.

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