Lawyer: Administrative detainees won't end hunger strike
Published Thursday 08/05/2014 (updated) 09/05/2014 21:20
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A group of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails without trial say they refused an offer by the Israeli prison service to end their strike in return for "vague" promises, a Palestinian lawyer said on Thursday.
The offer comes as more than 5,000 Palestinians joined a mass hunger strike on Thursday, in solidarity with almost 100 Palestinian administrative detainees who have been refusing food since April 24.
Jawad Bulous, who heads the legal department of the Palestinian Prisoner's Society, told Ma'an that he spoke with a number of the prisoners at Ofer court who have been on hunger strike for 15 days.
The hunger strikers told Bulous that representatives of the Israeli prison service had visited them and suggested that they end their hunger strike. The proposal, they said, was turned down because the Israeli prison service offered "vague and unspecified promises."
Prisoners have demanded Israel end the use of administrative detention against Palestinians except in exceptional cases, as it agreed upon after an early mass hunger strike. The practice, which involves the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for weeks and even months on end, has continued unabated since an agreement over a year ago.
Prisoners told Bulous that they would continue their hunger strike because their demands have been met with rejection by Israeli authorities.
Bulous said that 43 prisoners held in solitary confinement at Ayalon prison and 51 at Negev desert prison are currently on open hunger strike. Twenty more prisoners from Ofer detention planned to join the hunger strike on Thursday as well as 16 prisoners being held at Negev desert prison.
A 2012 agreement which ended a hunger strike of 2,000 Palestinian prisoners was meant to end the detention without trial of Palestinians, but as of March 1, 183 Palestinians were still being held under administrative detention.
Palestinians held in administrative detention are often held without charge or trial for extended periods of time and without access to the evidence leading to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances.