Mahmoud Abbas asks UN urgently attend to hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian Negotiation Group, delivered to the UN Security Council on Tuesday a letter from the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, urging the UN to tend to the issue of Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli prisons who have gone on a hunger strike. He further noted that a new Israeli bill, allowing to force feed hunger strikers, undermines international conventions.

File photo of Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.
Image: Matty Stern (U.S. Embassy, Tel Aviv).

The reportedly longest group hunger strike in Palestinian history is currently taking place. It was initiated in April by 125 Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli prisons, in a protest against Israel's detention policy, which allows imprisonment without trial or conviction. Since the beginning of the hunger strike, about 80 of them are being treated in hospitals, some facing severe health risks. Some striking prisoners have told Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm they are determined and will not cease until they win or die a martyr's death. They have also told the paper they had sent letters to the Egyptian leadership, asking it to tend to their situation and put an end to administrative detentions.

With the ongoing hunger strike, an Israeli bill has been drafted, allowing force-feeding of hunger striking prisoners, and use of extra force if needed. Arab Organization for Human Rights prisoners affairs committee manager Janan Abdu said, in communication with Al-Masry Al-Youm, "After the success of individual hunger strikes by Khader Adnan, Hana Shalabi, and Samer al-Issawi and others, Israel is trying to apply a law on forced feeding, which is internationally forbidden and which violates international human rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to break the will of prisoners".


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