Sun May 7, 2017 09:44AM
Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes following a protest in support of the prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in the West Bank town of Beita, May 5, 2017. (Photo by AP)
Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes following a protest in support of the prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in the West Bank town of Beita, May 5, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Leaders of a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners have called for a “week of rage” against Israel amid reports that Tel Aviv plans to bring in foreign doctors to force-feed the inmates refusing to eat.

"Our people should unleash their anger and clash uninterruptedly with the Israeli occupation at seam zones," the prisoners' leadership said in a statement released on Saturday, referring to the zones around the controversial separation wall, where Palestinians are not permitted to enter.

The statement also called on Palestinians to "blockade Israeli embassies all over the world and continue to organize rallies and sit-ins and to crowd in sit-in tents in Palestinian cities and villages.”

"Any attempt to force-feed any hunger-striking prisoner will be treated as an attempt to execute prisoners. We will turn these prisons into battle fields with our bodies, armed with our will and determination," the statement read.

On Thursday, Israel’s Channel 2 broadcaster reported that Tel Aviv sought to bring in foreign doctors to force-feed Palestinian hunger strikers because its own medical association has banned the inhumane practice.

The head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, warned that the doctors “of any nationality” who performed force-feeding would be legally pursued.

Force-feeding is a crime and jeopardizes the lives of prisoners and violates international laws and ethics, he added.

In a statement emailed to American news magazine Newsweek, Arab Israeli lawmaker Ahmad Tibi at the Israeli parliament condemned the idea of using foreign doctors to force-feed the hunger strikers as “an immoral manipulation aimed at bypassing the Israel Medical Association’s” ban.

“The very idea is horrible and disgraceful, and the human demands of the prisoners should be met instead of conducting a dirty struggle against them,” he said.

Palestinian protesters hold pictures of their loved ones during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah in support of the prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails on May 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The open-ended mass hunger strike, dubbed the Freedom and Dignity Strike, began on April 17 to denounce harsh conditions in Israeli jails. It is led by a jailed leader of the Fatah movement, Marwan Barghouti.

The strike initially began with 1,500 prisoners, but now, in its 20th day, about 2,000 Palestinians are believed to be refusing food.

Earlier this week, the Arab League urged the United Nations to launch a probe into the violation of Palestinian prisoners’ rights in Israeli jails. 

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Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, 536 of them arbitrarily, according to figures provided by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer in January.

Palestinian inmates complain that they have been subjected to assault and torture at Israeli prisons.

They have continuously resorted to hunger strikes in an attempt to voice their anger at the so-called administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months.