Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

General Strike in Palestine in Solidarity with Detainees’ Hunger Strike | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Media ID: 55374826

Israeli forces take position during clashes with Palestinian protesters following a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Ramallah, Tel Aviv – Palestinians began a general strike on Monday in all areas of the occupied Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip and the diaspora, in solidarity with the hunger-striking prisoners, who have now entered the 36th day of their hunger strike.

Fadwa Barghouthi, member of the Fatah revolutionary council and wife of Marwan Barghouthi, the Fatah official leading the hunger strike, participated in a sit-in on Monday along with a number of Palestinian mothers of hunger-striking prisoners, inside the shrine of late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.

Barghouti stressed that she will go on with her strike until all detainees receive their demands.

Palestinian citizens participated in the general strike and stopped going to their workplaces and closed businesses. Public transportation, ministries, and educational institutions in Palestinian areas also took part in the strike, in addition to some public and private institutions.

The national committee for championing the prisoners’ hunger strike, which announced the strike, called on all Palestinian citizens at home and abroad to go to rallying points and solidarity tents to participate in massive angry marches and protests.

The committee also called for participating in a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with the hunger striking detainees.

Intense clashes in Ramallah occurred as dozens of Palestinians blocked all the roads leading to the city. Red Cross established a field hospital near the Kalandia checkpoint.

Protests north of Bethlehem clashed with Israeli army where one young Palestinian was shot claiming he tried to stab a soldier. He wasn’t immediately medicated, which led to his death.

About 1300 Palestinian detainee partake in the open hunger strike ongoing since April 17 demanding longer and more regular family visits, landlines installed in prisons and better health care for the roughly 6,500 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Initially, Israel refused any negotiations with the detainees, but later on, Israeli officials met with Palestinians in an attempt to reach an agreement.

Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that there were several attempts to reach an agreement. A number of Palestinian officials were requested to visit the detainees to help convince them end their strike, but the officials refused. They told Israelis they were willing to make this trip in case the demands were regained.
Detainees participating in the strike confirmed they will continue till their demands are met.

Lawyer Jawad Boulos reported Nasser Oweis as saying that detainees are determined to continue with their strike no matter the procedures the prisons’ administration take.

Boulos pointed out that so far there had been no negotiations or serious discussion of the demands.

Meanwhile, the hunger strike media committee reported that a number of hunger-striking prisoners held in central Israel’s Ramla prison were evacuated to hospitals inside Israel.

The committee said that officials in southern Israel’s Ashkelon prison were planning on moving all hunger-striking prisoners to the prison’s field clinic by the end of the day on Monday.

The media committee highlighted that the prisons’ field clinics, which had been set up since the beginning of the strike, were not well equipped and lacked the basic equipment of civilian hospitals.