Palestinian rally for hunger strikers dispersed

Violence broke out between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers on Feb. 21 during a rally in the West Bank near the town of Beitunia. At least 1,000 protesters were marching to Ofer Prison in support of four Palestinian inmates on a hunger strike. As Israeli forces obstructed the march protesters threw stones and burning tires, at which point the Israeli forces utilized rubber-coated bullets and tear gas to break up the crowd. At least 29 Palestinian protesters were injured in the incident. The recent clash is only one of many incidents in the last few days. There was a similar incident two days earlier in which Israeli soldiers used the same measures against protesters. The four inmates have been under administrative detention, which is renewable and permits detention for up to four months without charges. They have been protesting against such detention through hunger strikes. Among them are Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine who have been on hunger strike for 78 days and Samer al-Issawi who has been on partial hunger strike for 200 days. A Jerusalem court on Feb. 19 rejected al-Issawi’s request to be released on bail.

From Jurist, Feb. 21. Used with permission.

  1. Palestinian hunger striker near death
    Palestinian prisoner Samer al Issawi is near death, according to doctors, after spending 236 days without food to challenge the Israeli policy of ‘administrative detention’, in which Palestinians are imprisoned for extended periods without trial.

    Qaadan and Azzidine suspended their strike Feb. 27, after an Israeli military prosecutor said their administrative detention order would not be renewed. They had each gone without food for 93 days. Israeli authorities were intransigent in the case of Samer al-Issawi, who they said had violated terms of his parole following an earlier period of detention by travelling to an area of the West Bank he had been forbidden to. Unlike most “administrative” detainees, he actually faced criminal charges. By the end of March, he had been without solid food for 236 days, and was approaching death. (IMEMC, March 25; Maan News Agency, Feb. 27)