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Hunger Strike Aftermath

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Hunger Strike Aftermath

Israel notoriously violates deals.

by Stephen Lendman

As they say, it's not over 'till it's over. Palestinian prisoners have been mass hunger striking since April 17. Others began earlier. Some hadn't eaten for two months or longer.

On May 14, a deal was announced. Egypt negotiated one with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and striker representatives. Palestine Prisoners Society head Qadura Fares confirmed it. So did Israeli authorities. 

Independent verification didn't follow. Nor did full clarification of terms. Israel's adept at creating considerable opt out wiggle room. Deals aren't always as they seem. Broken ones reveal charades.

Israel offered concessions. Prisoners agreed to terms. Some remain vague. The devil's in the details. What's ahead remains uncertain. Israel's history reflects promises made and broken. Palestinians know well. 

For decades, peace process hypocrisy betrayed them. Oslo was a Palestinian Versailles. Subsequent deals were one-way. Israel alone benefitted. Expecting hunger strikers to fare better is problematic.

Last October, Israel agreed to swap hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit. After release, many are repeatedly hounded, monitored, and threatened. Others were rearrested and imprisoned. No one's safe in Occupied Palestine. It's a militarized armed camp.

On May 14, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halehel reached hunger strike day 77. Early reports said they'd continue unless immediately freed. Updates said both agreed to resume eating in return for release when their current detentions end. 

For Thaer, it's June 5. Bilal will be freed in August. Both will receive public hospital treatment. It's unclear if all prisoners agreed to terms. Some strikes have been long-term. It's unknown if issues mattering most to everyone are resolved.

It's uncertain if Jamil Khatib was present and agreed to terms. He represents Bilal and Thaer. Israel consistently denied prisoners attorney access. Instead Jawad Boulos represented them. He arranged deals for Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi.

Khader's free at home in the West Bank. Hana was deported to Gaza. Boulos and PA authorities said she agreed to terms. She and her father challenged official reports. She demanded clarification of issues not explained. She never got them to her satisfaction.

Currently at issue is whether deal terms represent victory or betrayal. Bilal, Thaer, and others vowed to keep striking unless freed. They're still imprisoned with no certainty what awaits them.

Moreover, thousands of Palestinians remain imprisoned. Virtually all are detained for political reasons. Among them are 220 children, seven women, and 27 Palestinian lawmakers.

Israel calls challenging occupation harshness illegal. So is belonging to the wrong political party. Virtually anything can be called terrorism. Life under occupation, in or out of prison, is cruel and unusual punishment. 

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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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