There are currently 2000 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, though judging by the lack of coverage of the story in the mainstream media you'd never know it. Two of the prisoners involved are now in a critical condition, having been on hunger strike for 60 days and counting. They are protesting prison conditions, including the widespread use of solitary confinement, lack of medical treatment, and most importantly the use by the Israelis of the prisoner category described as administrative detention.
Under this particular category prisoners can be held indefinitely at the behest of the military without any charges being brought, no trial, or even so much as a hearing to be made aware of the evidence against them. Currently, over 300 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons and detentions centers under administrative detention, including six women and six children.
According to the website of the Palestinian prisoner support organisation Addameer, 19 of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike are being kept in solitary confinement. One of those, Ahmad Sa'adat, has been held in isolation for three years.
It is also claimed that the Israeli prison authorities are waging a campaign of punishment against the hunger strikers, which includes daily raids on their cells, the confiscation of personal belongings, cutting their electricity supply, and various other measures deemed illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Back in March Amnesty International called for the immediate release of Hana Shalabi, a female prisoner who was being held under administrative detention and was close to death as a result of the hunger strike she began 37 days prior.
The human rights organization issued a statement on Shalabi's plight.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities to release Hana Shalabi and other Palestinians held in administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offences and tried in accordance with international fair trial standards.
Shalabi's case came to international attention. The resulting pressure brought to bear on the Israeli government led to her being released her as part of the prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas involving 1,027 Palestinian detainees in return for Gilad Shalit, who'd been held captive in Gaza after being captured during an operation by members of the Palestinian resistance on an Israeli military position in 2006. Shalit was the only Israeli being detained by the Palestinians, who are now holding no Israelis captive. In contradistinction, the Israelis currently have over 4,000 Palestinians in captivity.
Israeli prisons and military detention camps are primarily located within the 1948 borders of Israel. There are a total of four interrogation centers, as well as secret interrogation facilities, five detention/holding centers, and about 21 prisons in which Palestinians from the Occupied Territories are held. The location of prisons within Israel and the transfer of detainees to locations within the occupying power's territory are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime. Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly states that "Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein."
Most of the Palestinian Prisoners are being held in detention facilities located outside the Occupied Territories.
Physical abuse and humiliation of the detainee by Israeli forces is common. Based on numerous sworn affidavits, detainees have reported that they have been subjected to attempted murder and rape, thrown down stairs while blindfolded, as well as various other forms of physical abuse. During their arrest, detainees are often forced to strip in public before being taken into custody. Family members have also been forced to remove their clothes during military raids. Mass arrests from homes in entire neighborhoods continue to take place in the Occupied Territories during military incursions. Once bound and blindfolded, the detainee is usually placed on the floor of a military jeep, sometimes face down, for transfer to an interrogation and detention center.
Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This forms approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories. Considering the fact that the majority of those detained are male, the number of Palestinians who've been detained forms approximately 40 percent of the total male Palestinian population of the Occupied Territories.
Draw your own conclusions.
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