Hunger Strikes Highlight Israeli Injustice
Hunger strikers taking courage to a higher level.
by Stephen Lendman
Israel treats Palestinian prisoners horrifically. Cruel and unusual punishment is policy. Detention conditions include torture, intimidation, and other abusive practices.
Hunger strikes first began in 1968. Nablus Prison detainees initiated them. Numerous others followed. At issue is abusive treatment and appalling prison conditions.
Medical neglect causes sickness, disease and death. Last summer, the Palestinian Center for Defending Detainees (PCDD) reported hundreds of seriously ill prisoners. They're affected by heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, pleurisy, chronic pain, and other illnesses too grave to ignore.
Prison conditions cause them. Medical neglect exacerbates them. Palestinians complain they lack access to hospitals for tests, treatment and surgery. It's unavailable in prison medical clinics.
The Israel Prison Service (IPS) delays and obstructs until illnesses are too advanced to treat effectively. As a result, Palestinians suffer and die.
Last summer, the European Network to Support the Rights of Palestinian Prisoners (UFree) demanded international bodies enforce international law provisions protecting their rights and health.
Deep concern was expressed following reports of medical neglect causing slow, painful deaths. Sixty-five World Health Organization (WHO) member countries supported a resolution condemning how abusively incarcerated Palestinians are treated. They urged intervention to help them.
Nothing followed. Prison abuses continue unaddressed. This among other issues launched hunger strikes.
On May 10, Addameer said lawyer Mona Neddaf visited four strikers in Ramleh Prison's medical clinic. Thaer Halahleh was among them. May 11 marked his 74th day without food.
Death could be imminent. His vital signs are dangerously weak. He's vomiting blood. His gums and lips are bleeding. His upper body's infected. IPS officials cancelled a scheduled a family visit.
Neddaf also saw strikers Mohammad Taj (on day 55), Jaafar Azzedine (on day 51), and Nidal Shehadeh (on 25).
Strikers are isolated. IPS authorities threaten them. Even if too weak to stand, they're ordered to do so for daily counts. Otherwise lawyer visits are denied.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) stressed the urgency of transferring prisoners without food for over 40 days to private hospitals for care unavailable at Ramleh.