By the end of April 2014, more than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners (in fact POWs who are denied such status) were held in Israeli prisons. According to Addameer (Prisoner’s Support and Human Rights Association), approximately 190 of those POWs are under continued administrative detention, which is detention with no charge or trial. Some of them have been detained (intermittently) for more than 10 years.
On 24th of April 2014 90 administrative detainees began refusing food in protest of their continuous unlawful detention. Since then the hunger strike has been widened as more Palestinian POWs (administrative detainees and other prisoners) have joined the strike. It is believed that approximately 300 POWs are currently on hunger strike and that many others (apparently thousands) are about to join in that strike.
Since the strike commenced the conditions and the treatment of the hunger strikers have been deteriorating: as the health of the strikers have been dwindling day by day up-to a critical condition, the Israeli authorities have imposed various punitive measures on the strikers like deprivation of hygiene products and denial of family visits.
Last week a new bill was approved by Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation and has gone through preliminary Knesset approval as well. That bill will enable to force-feed Palestinian hunger strikers. If this bill is passed into law it would violate the World Medical Association Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers, according to which “Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable”. Furthermore, the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) stated that force-feeding amounts to torture, hence declared that medical professionals would refuse to use that measure if asked to. Instead of endorsing IMA’s warning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would find doctors who will be willing to force-feed Palestinian prisoners.
The CPI asks progressive movements and human rights organizations worldwide, to organize events in solidarity with Palestinian POWs, calling on the Israeli government to refrain from any unlawful measure such as force-feeding, to immediately release all administrative detainees, as well as all Palestinian POWs who are currently held in Israeli prisons