As the Palestinian Detainees’ hunger strike to bring an end to administrative detention ends its third week, Israeli jailers are upping the pressure and bodies are weakening – but the Palestinian spirit remains strong.
On Monday evening prison authorities at Beer Sheba jail threw two hunger-striking Palestinian detainees into solitary confinement, and the next night Negev prison was forced to transfer a striker to hospital because of his deteriorating health status.
Beer Sheba detainees Hassan Salama and Mahmoud Shureiteh had just launched their hunger strike when they were thrown in ‘the hole,’ while administrative detainee Rami al-Barghouti was 27 days into his strike when he was sent from Negev prison to Al Zaheria checkpoint, then directly to al-Ahla Hodspital in Hebron.
Although the hunger strike is beginning to take a physical toll, Palestinians’ determination and spirit have not been dampened.
Leaders of the Palestinian detainees’ movement said many more detainees intend to join the strike, and on the outside, Palestinians in their droves are taking to the streets to support their prisoners. In Gaza, many civilians and ex-detainees have joined the strike, vowing to continue until the unjust policy of admninistrative detention is scrapped.
Israel agreed to end the policy of renewing administrative detention orders in the Shalit ‘prisoner swap’ deal of 2011, but as with most of its deals, has failed to honour its word. Since the beginning of the 2014 hunger strike alone, Israel has extended the detention orders of at least 15 detainees, including Member of Parliament Mahmoud Al Romhi.
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information, without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.
Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention since the beginning of the Israeli Occupation in 1967 and prior to that, under the British Mandate. Its use has been steadily rising since 2000, and currently more than 180 Palestinians are jailed for periods of between six months and over two years.