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Dying to Live Free

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Dying to Live Free

Palestinian political prisoners use their only weapon to protest.

by Stephen Lendman

Israel's prison gulag is one of the world's most hellish. Palestinians held suffer horrifically. Inflicting pain and suffering is official Israeli policy. Rule of law principles are spurned.

Virtually all Palestinians held are political prisoners. Refusing food is their only resistance weapon. The Addameer Prisoner Support group estimates about 2,000 now engage in open-ended hunger strikes. Most began on April 17, Palestinian Prisoners Day.

Israel responded as expected. More pain and suffering was inflicted. Detainees are attacked and beaten. Personal possessions were confiscated. Electricity was cut off. Salt for water is prohibited.

Transfers are made harsher locations. Solitary confinement is imposed. Visits by family members and lawyers are denied. Addameer said its attorneys can't get access.

Israel hopes tough tactics will undermine the will to resist. Instead it's hardened. 

Eight or more prisoners remain on extended strikes. On April 27, Thaer Halaheh and Bilal Diab reached day 59. Despite deteriorating health, an Israeli judge rejected their appeals against lawless administrative detention without charge. More on them below.

Hassan Safadi's High Court petition was rejected. He's refused food for 54 days. Omar Abu Shalal reached day 50. Jaffar Azzedine's on day 35.

In Ramleh Prison hospital, Mohammad Taj continues hunger striking after 41 days. He demands prisoner of war status and Third Geneva rights. 

Mahmoud Sarsak reached day 36. He's imprisoned under Israel's draconian Unlawful Combatants Law (UCL). Without evidence, it's imposed based on "a reasonable basis" to believe Palestinians belong to a hostile group belligerently confronting Israel. 

Israel calls wanting to live free belligerent and confrontational. UCL is similar to George Bush's "unlawful enemy combatant" designation.

Under America's 2009 Military Commissions Act (MCA), terminology was switched to "unprivileged enemy belligerent." Language changed, but not intent. Detainees charged lose all rights, including due process and judicial fairness.

Bush's UEC designation resurrected a defunct WW II provision. Four Geneva conventions superseded it. Under its new name, it's still enforced. Boyle once called it a:

"quasi-category universe of legal nihilism where human beings can be disappeared, detained incommunicado, denied access to attorneys and regular courts, tried in kangaroo courts, executed, tortured, assassinated and subjected to numerous other manifestations of State Terrorism."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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