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Solidarity with Palestinian Hunger Strikers

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Solidarity with Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Their struggle for justice has gotten worldwide attention.

by Stephen Lendman

Courage comes in many forms. Perhaps none stand out more than willingness to die for justice.

An estimated 2,500 Palestinian detainees began open-ended hunger strikes on April 17 - Palestine Prisoners Day. Others haven't eaten much longer. 

Some are perilously close to death. On May 5, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh refused food for the 68th day. A previous article described their grave condition. Six others are also imperiled.

On May 4, Al-Haq reported on Hasan Zahi Safadi. He's been imprisoned uncharged since June 29, 2011. May 5 marked his 60th hunger striking day. Family members are denied permission to see him.

His brother Fou'ad said Hasan was held 55 days at al-Jalama interrogation center. Israel Prison Service (IPS) authorities then transferred him to Magiddo Prison. He joined other strikers in protest. IPS moved him from one facility to another. He spent much time in punitive isolation.

Hasan's lawyer said he was physically assaulted and denied proper medical care. His health deteriorated badly. On April 6, he was transferred to Ramla Prison Hospital. Its treatment is appalling. Hasan pledges to keep hunger striking for justice.

Al Haq also discussed Nizar Samir-al Tamimi. He was first arrested in 1993. Last October, he was released as part of Israel's prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit.

When arrested years ago, he was violently interrogated and abused physically and psychologically. Observers call it torture. Its standard Israeli practice. Even children aren't exempt. 

Nizar was forced to sit for hours in one position with his hands and feet painfully shackled and a plastic bag over his head. Weeks later in court, his mother attended his hearing. She was physically assaulted. A female soldier pushed her down and struck her head with her rifle butt.

Severely injured and hospitalized, she died two days later. Soldiers literally get away with murder. Interrogators tried using his mother's death to pressure Nizar to confess to false charges. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Five times he hunger struck. Previous ones lasted no longer than 20 days. Issues always involve better food and medical care, education, family visits, punitive isolation, and other harsh treatment.

They focus on those issues now and more. Always they're for justice Israel denies.

Prison conditions today are appalling. Punitive treatment is harsh and excessive. Detainees deserve better. They use their only available weapon. They refuse food for justice. 

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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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