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Palestinian prisoners launch fresh hunger strike

Lawyer says 5 detainees are giving Israel until Tuesday to end policy of holding suspects without trial or they will ratchet up refusal

Illustrative: Ketziot Prison, August 2009. (Moshe Shai/Flash90/File)
Illustrative: Ketziot Prison, August 2009. (Moshe Shai/Flash90/File)

Five Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike on Saturday, and warned they would stop taking fluids on September 1 unless Israel ends its policy of imposing detention without trial.

According to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, Fadi Obeidat, a lawyer for the PA committee, said over the weekend the detainees were threatening to refuse their “fluids” on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether that referred to nutrients and sodium-enriched fluids, or to drinking water altogether.

The new hunger strike comes days after a Palestinian inmate was removed from so-called administrative detention by court order after nearly dying as a result of a two-month fast that ramped up tensions between Israel and Palestinians and saw several violent confrontations.

The five inmates, according to Israel Radio, are accused of being affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror movement, as was previous hunger striker Mohammed Allaan. They were demanding that Israel stop its policy of jailing terror suspects without trial for renewable six-month periods, and free all administrative detainees.

The prisoners were named as Nidal Abu Aker, Shadi Maali, Ghassan Zawahreh, Badra al-Ruzza, and Munir Abu Sharar. The five are being held in the Ketziot Prison in southern Israel.

According to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-PFLP, a left-wing group designated as a terror organization by Israel, Abu Aker is a “leading member” of the PFLP, who has been in Israeli custody since June 2014.

Palestinian terror suspect Mohammed Allaan addresses supporters from his Ashkelon hospital bed after he ended his 65-day hunger strike, in a video message released August 21, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)
Palestinian terror suspect Mohammed Allaan addresses supporters from his Ashkelon hospital bed after he ended his 65-day hunger strike, in a video message released August 21, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

Earlier this month, the High Court of Justice removed Allaan from administrative detention after a two-month hunger strike left him on the brink of death.

Allaan, 31, an attorney, had twice been in a coma and has reportedly vowed to resume fasting if the courts reinstate his detention.

Islamic Jihad reportedly threatened to carry out attacks against Israel should Allaan die in custody.

According to a report by Channel 10 on August 18, several days before the High Court’s ruling, the Islamic Jihad was weighing a mass hunger strike among its prisoners in Israeli jails in solidarity with Allaan.

On Sunday, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman said the country should have let Allaan die.

“If you detain someone, then go all the way. Don’t give in to any pressure, and if he wants to hunger strike to death, let him die,” Liberman said.

Palestinian detainees have held a number of hunger strikes over recent years to protest administrative detention — in which terror suspects can be held for months of longer without charge — sometimes winning their freedom.

 

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