Dozens of Palestinian security prisoners on hunger strike have been checked in to Israeli hospitals across the country, the Israel Prison Service said Sunday.
IPS spokeswoman Sivan Weitzman said that the prisoners – all of whom are on “administrative detention” – weren’t hospitalized because their lives are in danger, but rather because it is IPS protocol that after prisoners hunger strike for 30 days they must be taken to hospital to be placed under medical observation.
The 70 prisoners in hospitals had begun their strike back in late April to protest their being kept on administrative detention.
The term “administrative detention” refers to the controversial, indefinite detention without formal trial or regular charges. The detentions are used for Palestinians suspected of being involved in security crimes Another 220 security prisoners began a hunger strike, but they have not yet crossed the 30-day threshold.
Since the hunger strike started, other security prisoners have periodically protested in solidarity. On May 8, about two weeks after the strike began, around 300 Palestinian security prisoners sent back their meals in what IPS officials said was a one-day act of solidarity.
On Sunday, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said the hunger strikers “represent the most selfless struggle for justice and freedom in Palestine,” and referred to their hunger strike as “an essential tool of nonviolence.”
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