From the ground in Gaza: We’re still standing by Palestinian detainees

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Deeb Othman Alnajjar

Deeb Othman Alnajjar

Palestinians in Gaza have not let their disappointment over the decision by the Palestinian consensus government to not maintain a dedicated Ministry and Minister of Detainees Affairs get in the way of expressing their own commitment to the issues facing Palestinian detainees in israeli jails, especially the hunger-strikers.

In their encampment outside the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City, feelings are running high, and the detainees’ supporters are adamant they will never abandon them.

Two members of the Mohjat Al Quds Society for Prisoners’ Freedom expressed particular concern about the announcement Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Palestinian hunger strikers will be force-fed.

“Hunger-striking is a right, it is the only thing detainees can do,” Yasser Saleh said. “In the 1980s Isreal tried to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners and three of them died. The feeding tubes went into their lungs instead of their stomachs, and killed them.”

“There were also infections,” added Ahmed Salama. “The Israeli High Court banned force-feeding after the three deaths, but Netanyahu has decided to do it again. It is a death sentence.”

Those fasting in solidarity with the hunger-striking detainees remain staunchly committed to their cause despite recent events.

Deeb Othman Alnajjar, who has been fasting for eight days, said that removing the Minister of Detainees is the worst news they have heard since the strike began.

Ayman Zwaiyed

Ayman Zwaiyed

Ayman Zwaiyed, who has been fasting for 10 days, insisted that he will remain in resistance until the Palestinian detainees are released.

Wael AlMamlouk

Wael AlMamlouk

Wael AlMamlouk has been fasting the longest, taking only water and salt for 33 days now. The effects are starting to be felt. “I have pains in my stomach, in my back, and in my chest,” he said. Two paramedics beside him added that he is also suffering general weakness all over his body.

But nothing will induce any of them to give up until their brothers and sisters in Israeli jails are free.

Translation by Abdallah Abulaban

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