[Marxism] Palestinian Hunger Strike

Scotlive at aol.com Scotlive at aol.com
Sun Aug 15 09:18:50 MDT 2004


Last Updated: Sunday, 15 August, 2004, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK  




 
 
Children in Gaza demonstrate in support of Palestinian prisoners
About 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike to 
protest at conditions they say are humiliating and unnecessary. 
But Israel's security minister said they would not bow to pressure and the 
prisoners could "starve to death". 
The inmates' demands include an end to strip searches and more prison visits. 
Israel argues that prisoners continue to plan attacks from within jail and 
their contact with the outside world must be restricted as far as possible. 
 As far as I'm concerned, they can strike for a day, a month, until death 

Tzahi Hanegbi
Israeli Internal Security Minister 
The open-ended hunger strike is currently taking place in several jails, and 
organisers of the protest say most of the around 7,500 Palestinians held by 
Israel are expected to join it by the end of the week. 
'Like animals' 
A statement from the Palestinian Prisoners Society announced the start of the 
hunger strike, accusing Israel of "robbing us of all our rights, treading on 
our dignity and treating us like animals". 
The Palestinians are presenting the strike as non-political. Their demands 
include: 
guards to stop conducting strip searches 
more frequent contact with families; organisers say 40% of inmates are 
currently denied any visits 
improved sanitary conditions 
access to public telephones 
A spokesman for the Israeli prison service, Ian Domnitz, told AFP news agency 
that the protest would not be classified as a hunger strike for 48 hours but 
was already being deemed contrary to regulations. 
In response, prison officials have confiscated televisions and radios, 
stopped the sales of cigarettes and sweets, and stopped all visits. 
No change 
The Israeli authorities say the restrictions are needed to prevent prisoners 
from organising further attacks from their prison cells, and the protest will 
not lead to a change in prison conditions. 
"As far as I'm concerned, they can strike for a day, a month, until death. We 
will ward off this strike and it will be as if it never happened," Internal 
Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi told reporters. 
The BBC's Richard Miron in Jerusalem says the stand-off could escalate in 
scale and political significance. 
Issa Qarage, a prisoners' rights activist in the West Bank, told Reuters news 
agency that the hunger strike would spread from the main prisons to detention 
camps in military bases. 
Protests have also been taking place in support of the prisoners, including 
in Bethlehem and the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. 
Meanwhile, in the latest violence, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli border 
policeman near Jerusalem, who then shot and killed him, Israeli police said. 
Israel Radio reported that the attacker appeared to be mentally ill. 



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