Hunger Strikers Reject Israeli Proposal of Release in Return for Expulsion

RAMALLAH, September 21, 2015 (WAFA) – Hunger striking Palestinian administrative detainees have rejected an Israeli proposal to release them if they agreed to be expelled abroad, said the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee in a press release.

The committee explained that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) offered Palestinian hunger strikers to release them if they agree to be expelled abroad as part of its efforts to force them to end their hunger strike. However, the proposal was rejected by all hunger strikers.

The committee identified the new  hunger strikers as Moath Abu-Nassar, Udai Byoumi, Mohammad Hawarin, Motasem Raqban, Ahmad Adawi, Ashraf and Hassan Zaghari, and Rabi’ Jibril, who suffers from a serious health condition.

The new hunger strikers joined another group of detainees who have been on hunger strike in protest of their detention without charge or trial for 32 days. The first group of hunger strikers are Nidal Abu ‘Akr, 45, Bilal al-Saifi, Ghassan Zawahra, 32, Bader al-Ruzza, Munir Abu Sharrar, Sahdi Ma‘ali, 39, and Salman Skafi.

The committee noted in the press release that the Israeli government has been blackmailing and extorting hunger strikers using unethical and illegal means. It said that the Israeli government is offering two choices; either to die as a result of hunger strike or to be expelled.

The committee added that the new  hunger strikers, who have started an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with their fellow hunger strikers, brings the total number of hunger striking detainees to 15.

The committee warned that if the Israeli occupation authorities don’t end administrative detention and its arbitrary and routine renewal, the hunger strike would expand to include a large number of detainees starting on October 10.

The committee explained that hunger strikers have came under tremendous pressures exerted by IPS in order to force them to abandon their strike. To this end, IPS have employed several punitive measuress, including holding hunger strikers in solitary confinement, moving them from one jail to another, restricting lawyers’ access to hunger strikers, denying hunger strikers access to subsistence needs and locking them inside poorly hygienic cells.

Under administrative detention rules, Israel may detain Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six months, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.

The use of administrative detention dates back to the emergency laws of the British colonial era in Palestine, said the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

Many human rights groups have accused Israel of using administrative detention as a routine form of collective punishment against Palestinians, as well as using it when failing to obtain confessions during interrogation.

There are around 500 detainees serving administrative detention in Israeli jails. Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.