Gaza authorities call for new Intifada to free political prisoners

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on April 30 for a new intifada to support Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, who started a mass hunger-strike two weeks ago. The Hamas premier urged Arab and Muslim nations to intervene to support detainees, in remarks at a rally for prisoners in Gaza City. The prime minister challenged human rights groups to “break their silence” and demand freedom for all Palestinians held in Israel. More than 4,000 Palestinians are currently imprisoned in Israel—around 320 of them without any charge. On April 17, marking Palestinian Prisoners Day, at least 1,200 prisoners in Israel launched an open-ended hunger strike, with prisoner groups estimating that 2,000 people are now refusing food. They are demanding improvements in living conditions, and an end to solitary confinement, night raids and bans on family visits for prisoners from Gaza. Prison authorities have responded by denying all striking inmates family visits, and separating them from the inmates not taking part in the protest. (Ma’an News Agency, April 30)

See our last post on Palestine and last year’s prisoner hunger strikes.

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  1. Israel high court won’t free striking prisoners
    The Israeli Supreme Court on May 7 ruled against two Palestinian prisoners in their appeal seeking release from detention. Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab have been placed in administrative detention, a legal method of incarcerating potentially dangerous individuals indefinitely without a trial. The two men, along with over 1,500 other Palestinian detainees in Israel, have been refusing food to protest their detention without trial. In its decision, the court determined that such policies are necessary to combat terrorism in Israel, but suggested the authorities should consider releasing the two prisoners for health reasons. (Jurist, May 7)