Israel has taken measures against some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners on a hunger
strike, denying them family visits and separating them from inmates not taking
part in the protest, prison authorities said on Monday.
strike, dubbed the “battle of empty stomachs” by organizers, began last Tuesday.
The prisoners are demanding better jail conditions and an end to detentions
without trial for Palestinians suspected of security
“Privileges such as family visits have been revoked and items
such as electronics have been confiscated,” Sivan Weizman, a spokeswoman for the
Prisons Service said.
“The term ‘punishment’ is incorrect,” a Prisons
Service spokeswoman added.
She said hunger strikers were separated from
the remainder of prisoners, but were not separated from one another, and were
not in isolation.
“Additionally, in accordance to regulations,
hunger-striking prisoners have been denied privileges such as visits, canteen,
and television,” she added.
Palestinian prisoners have long complained of
the difficulty of securing family visits and the invasive searches visiting
relatives have to go through.
The striking prisoners have said they would
drink only water and salt until their demands are met.
Amani Sarahna of
the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an advocacy group for Palestinians jailed by
Israel, said prison authorities had conducted extensive searches in hunger
strikers’ cells, taking away salt from those refusing to eat.
prisoners’ belongings were confiscated except their towels and their shoes,”
The start of the strike last week coincided with the
release of Khader Adnan, a prisoner who refused food for 66 days before agreeing
to a deal under which he was freed. Adnan is a member of Islamic Jihad which has
vowed to destroy Israel.
Organizers have called for rallies in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip in the coming days in support of the 4,800 Palestinians held
in Israeli prisons.