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Hamas announces mass hunger strike in support of seven Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails

Palestinians march during a demonstration calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil, on October 24, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says dozens of its prisoners in Israeli jails are preparing to go on hunger strike in solidarity with seven inmates who are already refusing food in protest at their detention without charge and other repressive measures. 

The Higher Leading Committee of the Hamas Prisoners said in a statement on Sunday that it will not remain silent towards the suffering of several hunger-striking administrative detainees at the Israeli dungeons. 

“Dozens of prisoners are prepared to fight an open-ended hunger strike battle in support of the seven prisoners who are on hunger strike in protest at their administrative detention,” the statement read. 

“It is high time for everyone to take urgent and swift action to put an end to the crime of administrative detention that our people have been suffering from for decades,” Hamas added in its statement.

The resistance movement emphasized that Israel is responsible for the lives of Kayed al-Fasfous, Miqdad al-Qawassmeh and five other prisoners who are on a hunger strike for more than three months. 

At least seven Palestinian inmates have remained on an open-ended hunger strike to protest the Israeli so-called administrative detention, which allows prisoners to be held without charge or trial.

According to a report by the Detainees Affairs Commission, among them is the oldest hunger-striker, Kayed Fasfous, who stopped eating food almost 102 days ago. He had been transferred to Kaplan Medical Center, south of Tel Aviv because of his serious illness and is being held under detention.

Muqdad Qawasmeh, who began his hunger strike 95 days ago, has also been at hospital following serious deterioration in his health conditions.

Among other Palestinian prisoners, who insist on continuing their hunger strike despite their seriously deteriorating condition, were inmates identified as Alaa Aaraj, Hesham Abu Hawwash, Shadi Abu-Akr, Ayyad Hureimi and Khalil Abu-Aram.

They were detained by Israeli forces during raids in various Palestinian cities across the occupied West Bank over the past few months. 

Hamas has called on all Palestinian factions and the Palestinian Authority to exert pressure on Israel to save the lives of the seven hunger strikers.

It called on international human rights groups to shoulder their responsibilities and move to curb Israel’s violations against the Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas had already said that the Palestinian resistance movement would make utmost effort to free Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli regime’s jails as the critical issue tops the movement’s agenda. 

Hamas is reportedly holding captive at least four Israeli soldiers. The movement says it will not give information about them until Israel releases all Palestinian prisoners.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the resistance movement, published pictures of the Israeli prisoners on its Twitter account last week and said they "will not see the light until our prisoners see freedom."

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

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) keeps Palestinian prisoners in deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards.

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

Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strike in protest at the administrative detention policy and harsh conditions in Israeli jails.

Over a dozen Palestinian lawmakers and nearly 20 journalists are also held in Israeli detention centers, several of them under the administrative detention policy. 

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

Israeli forces have also arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000.

The United Nations (UN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as many human rights group have frequently expressed serious concern over hunger strikers’ health condition and called for their immediate release.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh last month urged the ICRC and the UN to follow up on the conditions of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails,

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