Ramallah – Following reports of a mass health collapse and successive fainting, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs demanded that Palestinian prisoners who entered their 28th day on hunger strike in Israeli prisons on Sunday be hospitalized, as their health continue to decline. This came amidst leaks on negotiations made outside prisons in an attempt to reach an agreement to end their strike.
Head of the Palestine Liberation Organization Commission for Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe said in statement that hunger strikers urgently needed be taken to hospitals for treatment, under the medical supervision of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) doctors.
Qaraqe said that Israeli authorities’ refusal to hospitalize the prisoners, choosing instead to continue holding them in solitary confinement under “inhumane conditions,” represented a violation of international law.
He condemned the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) for its indifference to the lives of hunger-striking prisoners as their health steadily declined, and slammed IPS for its “continued failure to respond to the prisoners’ fair demands and its refusal to engage in negotiations with leaders of the hunger strike.”
The Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have been calling for an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — among other demands for basic rights.
Qaraqe called upon the ICRC to issue a detailed report about the prisoners’ health conditions and to immediately undertake measures to protect hunger strikers from continued mistreatment and abuse at the hands of IPS authorities.
The media committee, established by The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) to support the hunger strike, released a statement Sunday, reporting that several hunger-striking prisoners in Nafha prison were fainting and vomiting blood.
According to the statement, Palestinian Prisoner’s Society’s (PPS) lawyer was able to visit two hunger strikers in Nafha — Muhammad al-Ghoul and Yahya Ibrahim, both from Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank.
The lawyer reported that the two prisoners were entering a “dangerous” health condition, worsening by the day, amid continuous aggressive measures taken by IPS, highlighting in particular the invasive predawn cell raids and searches being conducted on hunger strikers.
Al-Ghoul and Ibrahim told the PPS lawyer that 90 percent of hunger strikers in Nafha prison were suffering from deteriorating health conditions, most of whom were fainting repeatedly throughout the day.
The ill hunger-striking prisoners are taken to one of the so-called field clinics set up by Israel in anticipation of the hunger strike, established to avoid evacuating hunger strikers to civilians’ hospitals.
According to the two prisoners, the field hospital is not properly equipped and “does not provide any type of medical care.”
Al-Ghoul and Ibrahim confirmed to the lawyer that prisoners in Nafha were still committed to continuing with the hunger strike until a decision was made by its leadership, despite their suffering.
Both sides want to reach an agreement ending the strike before US President Donald Trump arrives in the region on May 22. The US President will visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in a visit aimed at pushing peace process forward again.