In a statement released on Sunday, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said thirty Palestinian inmates had stopped taking meals two weeks ago in protest against Israel’s so-called policy of administrative detention.
According to the PPS, at least 20 more Palestinian prisoners have joined 30 others already refusing food in Israeli jails.
The majority of the hunger-striking inmates were being held in solitary confinement in the notorious Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank.
In recent days, hundreds of detainees at Israeli prisons have refused to take their meals in solidarity with the hunger-striking detainees.
The detainees in a message last month said that the practices of the Israel Prison Services (IPS) “are no longer governed by the security obsession as an actual driver of the occupation, but rather are acts of revenge due to their past.”
Nearly 500 detainees have been refusing to show up for their military court hearings since the beginning of the year. The boycott includes the initial hearings to uphold the so-called administrative detention order, as well as appeal hearings and later sessions at Israel’s “supreme court.”
Palestinian prisoners are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted, which is in sheer violation of human rights. Advocacy groups describe Israel’s use of the detention policy as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on Israel to end its use.
There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Human rights organizations say Israel violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Fourth Geneva Convention. They say administrative detention violates the right to due process since the evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at their detention. Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions without proper hygienic standards.
The prisoners have been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
According to the Palestine Detainees Studies Center, about 60% of the Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails suffer from chronic diseases, a number of whom died in detention or after being released due to the severity of their cases.