Pales­tini­ans in Is­raeli jails are go­ing hun­gry for bet­ter con­di­tions, but their jail­ers are try­ing to break their spirit

New Straits Times - - News -

E are en­gaged al­most two years now, and I’ve only seen him three times. I still re­mem­ber the first time I saw him, af­ter he got ar­rested. It was March 3, 2016, ex­actly one year af­ter he got ar­rested. He was un­der ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion for more than a year with­out any rea­son! At the court, I saw him, first time in the whole year… but, just for less than two min­utes,” said Sam (not her real name), whose fi­ancé is in prison, charged with “al­leged at­tack” against the Jewish peo­ple in 2015 with­out suf­fi­cient proof.

Tra­di­tion­ally, Pales­tinian women marry their fi­ancé af­ter be­ing en­gaged for half a year. For Sam, it has been more than 1½ years of wait­ing for her fi­ance’s re­lease so they can get mar­ried.

Sim­i­lar cases like Sam’s hap­pen al­most ev­ery day in Pales­tinian fam­i­lies. They are forced to sep­a­rate be­cause fam­ily mem­bers get ar­rested, with no rea­son given, and are placed un­der de­ten­tion for an in­def­i­nite du­ra­tion.

This is why now, one of the big­gest mass hunger strikes in his­tory, is tak­ing place among Pales­tinian pris­on­ers in Is­rael.

This week, the mass open-ended hunger strike has en­tered its fourth week since April 17.

Led by jailed Fatah leader Mar­wan Bargh­outi, who is touted as a suc­ces­sor to Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas, the strike is joined by some 1,500 Pales­tinian pris­on­ers from all fac­tions. They are unit­ing for one rea­son: their rights and dig­nity.

Their de­mands in­clude bet­ter con­di­tions, bet­ter med­i­cal care, an end to soli­tary con­fine­ment and un­de­fined ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion pe­ri­ods.

Most im­por­tant of all, they are

FRI­DAY, MAY 12, 2017

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