Voices from Palestine: Hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners nears one month
PENGON – Friends of the Earth Palestine is calling the international community to support the 1600 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons who are on a hunger strike for “freedom and dignity” since April 17. The environmental organization is also calling to demand Israel authorities to respect international laws and human rights.
“We appeal to the international community to join the Palestinian hunger strikers to support their demands, with a symbolic one-day hunger strike in your community, to protest outside your local Israeli Embassy, to call your Foreign Affairs official and members of Parliament and urge actions for Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike”, said the member of PENGON, Abeer Butmeh, in an interview with Real World Radio.
The prisoners are demanding “full access to medical care, an end to abuse, an increase in the number and duration of family visits and access to legal counselling, all of which are supported by International Human Rights Laws. The prisoners are also calling for access to the courts and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention”, according to a press statement by PENGON.
The Palestinian organization also stated that Israeli prisons are currently holding more than 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners, including 300 children (70 of which are girls) and more than 500 prisoners are under administrative detention. Also “around 900 prisoners suffer from physical/chronic illnesses and are in dire need of medical treatment”, the add.
In the interview with Real World Radio, Butmeh made reference to what the prisoners on hunger strike are facing and some of the health issues they are suffering, such as dehydration, low blood pressure, heart disorders and inability to walk.
“Tell your governments that Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike for their basic human rights. Governments must pressure Israel to recognize the prisoner´s demands”, highlighted the Palestinian activist.
On April 26, PENGON called the international community to hold Israel accountable for their inhumane treatment and to follow international and humanitarian laws, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians in times of war and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
In the press release, the Palestinian organization demanded Israel to immediately release sick detainees, particularly those with disabilities. They called the international community to bring the issue of the Palestinian prisoners to the International Criminal Court, the UN Human Rights Council, and the United Nations, in order to hold Israel accountable for the violations against human rights.
Activist Mohammad Gazawneh, also member of PENGON, highlighted to Real World Radio that the hunger strike is a form of peaceful resistance and that the demands of Palestinian prisoners are based on the international law.
“We therefore call upon the international community to urgently intervene to ensure Israel´s respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees”.
Meanwhile, the environmental activist Ashraf Taha, also from PENGON, demanded support to the protest held by Palestinian prisoners to international and human rights organizations, Arab countries, allied countries and non-governmental organizations. And he demanded Israel to treat prisoners as war prisoners, because they come from an occupied country, with the right to resist and at least to have their human rights respected.
Last Sunday marked the 69th anniversary of the official declaration of Israel as a State, which for the Palestinian people meant a day of catastrophe, or “Nakba”. Zionist forces destroyed, according to widely circulated figures at international level and cited by both Palestinian and Israeli historians, 500 Arab towns, they murdered 13,000 people, injured 30,000 and displaced 800,000 people from their lands and homes (half of the Palestinian population).
This podcast was produced and first published by Real World Radio.