Official: Health of Hunger Striking Prisoners Denied Medical Treatment by Israel at Stake

RAMALLAH, September 27, 2015 (WAFA) – Minister Issa Qaraqe, chairman of the Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, said on Sunday that the health conditions of hunger striking Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails have deteriorated considerably.

He said that the health conditions of seven out of 17 Palestinian detainees, who have been on hunger strike over their detention without charge or trial for 40 consecutive days, have significantly deteriorated in light of the Israeli prison administrations’ refusal to transfer them to hospital for a much-needed medical treatment.

He said that the prison administration placed All 17 hunger striking detainees in solitary confinement as a punitive measure and in an attempt to break their hunger strike.

Qaraqe, during a visit to the families of some Palestinian prisoners in Bethlehem, expressed grave  concern over the health conditions of the detainees, whose over a month long strike has rendered them unable to either move or stand up.” Qaraqe noted that, the hunger strikers have also sustained a significant loss in weight.”

Qaraqe called for a broad political and international campaign to save the hunger strikers’ lives and to pressure Israel to end its use of administrative detention against Palestinian detainees.

Meanwhile, a statement by the commission issued on Sunday accused the Israeli government of plotting to “kill” the hunger strikers by denying them access to hospital despite of their critical health conditions.

The commission said the Israeli government deliberately deprives the hunger striking detainees of suitable health care and places them in solitary confinement together with Israeli criminal prisoners, in an aim to pressure them to break their hunger strike without meeting their demands of ending Israel’s policy of administrative detention, and releasing them.

The commission said it had filed a petition to the Supreme Court of Israel to compel the Israeli prison administrations to transfer the hunger strikers prisoners to hospital for medical treatment, noting that all prisoners have refrained from taking any nourishment and rely on water only.

He said that despite the fact that the leaders of Israel, who were subjected to administrative detention during the British mandate in the 1940s, considered themselves victims of such policy, they were the first to adopt the policy of administrative detention and apply it against Palestinians since the beginning of the occupation in 1967.

He added that, those who pretend to be victims have transformed into war criminals, and are at the forefront of violating the rights of the Palestinian people.

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.

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 several 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.