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16 Palestinian inmates on hunger strike against detention without trial by Israel

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 prisoners are seen in Ofer Prison, southwest of Ramallah (File photo by WAFA news agency)

A Palestinian commission for prisoners says sixteen Palestinian inmates are currently on hunger strike in Israeli prisons in protest at their detention without charge at the hands of the Tel Aviv regime.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees' and Ex-Detainees' Affairs said in a statement on Sunday that some of these prisoners have been on hunger strike for 18 days, while others have been hunger striking for 17, 12, 11 or 10 days in a row to protest against Israel’s so-called policy of administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment in which the individual is never tried and can be held indefinitely, Palestine’s Wafa news agency reported.

The commission noted that 40-year old prisoner Salem Ziadat is the longest hunger striker among the sixteen Palestinian inmates, who has been on hunger strike for 20 days in protest at his indefinite, unfair and unexplained imprisonment.  

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are held under "administrative detention", in which Israel keeps the detainees without charge for up to six months, a period which can be extended an infinite number of times. Women and minors are among those detainees.

The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as ‘secret’ evidence.

Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Administrative detention is illegal under international law. However, the Israeli regime uses it to repress the Palestinian people.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detention. Palestinians hold Israeli authorities fully responsible for any deterioration of the circumstances in jails.

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.

Palestinian inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.

Over 540 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention.

According to figures by the Defense for Children International, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children at the age of 12-17 are also arrested and tried in Israeli military courts every year. Israeli forces had arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000.

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