Thousands of Palestinian detainees go on hunger strike
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Thousands of Palestinian detainees go on hunger strike

Prisoners protest death of Maysara Abuhamdia; PA’s UN envoy charges Israeli negligence caused his death

Palestinians hold portraits of late Maysara Abuhamdia during a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 02, 2013. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinians hold portraits of late Maysara Abuhamdia during a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 02, 2013. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Thousands of Palestinian security detainees refused their breakfast Wednesday morning in protest of the death of a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail the day before.

Some 4,600 Palestinian security prisoners refused their meals the morning after Maysara Abuhamdia’s death from cancer, and prison authorities speculate that the impromptu hunger strike may continue for up to three days.

Abuhamdia, 64, was serving a life sentence for attempted murder in a plot to carry out a suicide attack in Jerusalem in 2002. Abuhamdia was found guilty of sending a suicide-bomber to a cafe in the capital; the terrorist failed to detonate the bomb he was wearing during the attack.

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday filed a complaint with the United Nations, charging that Israel was responsible for the death of Abuhamdia. In missives to the presidents of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, Palestinian UN delegate Riyad Mansour wrote that Israel didn’t provide the prisoner with proper medical treatment and allowed the cancer to overwhelm Abuhamdia’s body. Israel said Abuhamdia was given all necessary medical treatment.

Mansour called for international observation of Israeli prisons holding Palestinian detainees, and the release of Palestinian hunger-striker Samer Issawi.

Palestinian medical officials will participate in the autopsy of Abuhamdia’s body, scheduled for Wednesday at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, according to Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqe. Following analysis at the Israeli lab, Abuhamdia’s remains will be transferred to the Palestinians, and then examined at a Palestinian forensics institute in Abu Dis, Israel Radio reported. Abuhamdia is expected to finally be buried on Thursday.

IDF troops were placed on alert across the West Bank on Wednesday morning, anticipating a possible reignition of violence following the death of a Palestinian detainee in an Israeli prison the day before.

Earliers, prisoners banged on cell doors and hurled objects in several prisons on Tuesday, and Arabs in East Jerusalem protested outside the Damascus Gate.

Israel Radio reported that reinforcements had been stationed in and around Hebron, Abuhamdia’s hometown, and at road junctions in the West Bank.

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