Palestinians rally to free hunger strikers 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
Two Palestinian security prisoners said Sunday they were continuing to refuse
food despite the recent agreement between Israel and the inmates to end the
hunger strike in Israeli prisons.
Mahmoud Sarsak said he has been on
hunger strike for the past 80 days, while Akram Al-Rikhawy has been fasting for
The two prisoners sent a letter to the Ramallah-based Addameer
Human Rights Association in which they appealed to the Palestinian Authority
leadership and Hamas to intervene to save their lives.
The two men said
they were being treated at a the Ramle Prison hospital and that they were
determined to continue with their hunger strike until they are
Under the terms of last month's Egyptian-brokered agreement,
Israel said it would ease restrictions imposed on security prisoners and end
solitary confinement. The Palestinians say that Israel also promised to stop
Sarsak, 22, of the Gaza Strip, is a soccer
player with the Palestinian National Team. He was arrested by the IDF in 2009,
when he arrived at the Erez border crossing on his way to the West
He has since been held in administrative detention.
representing Addameer met with Sarsak last week and reported that he was in
"grave condition." Rikhawy, who is also from the Gaza Strip, was arrested in
2004 and sentenced to nine years in prison for security-related
He has since been held in the prison hospital as he suffers
from a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis,
according to Addameer.
Issa Qaraqi, the PA Minister for Prisoners
Affairs, voiced concern over the deteriorating health of the two prisoners and
called for their immediate release.
He said that Sarsak was protesting
against his continued detention without trial, while Rikhawy was protesting
against the Israeli court's refusal to shorten his term for health
Qaraqi said that thousands of Palestinian prisoners were now
threatening to renew their hunger strike in protest against continued
administrative detentions "and other measures taken by prison authorities."
Qaraqi told reporters in Ramallah that conditions in Israeli prisons were "very
harsh" and accused Israel of violating the recent agreement that ended the
He claimed that Israel has placed 30 Palestinians under
administrative detention since the agreement. He also claim that sick inmates
were being denied proper medical treatment.
According to figures released
Sunday by Palestinian human rights organizations, there are 4600 Palestinians in
Israeli prisons, including 302 who are being held in administrative detention.