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Palestinians protest in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian political prisoners seen in Ofer Prison, southwest of Ramallah (File photo by WAFA news agency)

Palestinians have held a vigil outside the Red Cross office in the occupied West Bank in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons.

The protesters marched on the office of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)  in Nablus on Sunday, waving photos of the Palestinian detainees. They chanted anti-Israeli slogans and held the Tel Aviv regime accountable for its violations of the prisoners’ rights, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported.

They demanded the protection and immediate release of those being kept behind Israeli bars.

In a letter handed to the ICRC, the participants urged the humanitarian organization to submit the necessary reports to the United Nations (UN) bodies on the suffering of Palestinian prisoners.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a form of imprisonment without trial or charge, allowing authorities to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months.

The duration could be extended for an infinite number of times.

The Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at both the so-called administrative detention policy and harsh prison conditions.

At least three Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli prisons are currently on open-ended hunger strike in protest at their detention.

The protesters and advocacy groups say they had stopped eating their food portions several weeks ago and expressed serious concerns over their deteriorating health conditions. 

Administrative inmates in Israeli jails say going on hunger strike is one of their few options to make their voice heard and force Tel Aviv end the illegal policy.

The Israeli parliament, Knesset, has already approved a law which made way for Israel’s prison officials to force-feed hunger strikers if their condition becomes life-threatening.

Observers say Palestinian prisoners will continue to suffer inside Israeli jails as long as the international community keeps turning a blind eye to Tel Aviv's violations of their rights.

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