Israeli Arabs, Jews clash over hunger-striking Palestinian

Clashes break out between Arabs and Jews over Palestinian prisoner who slipped into coma while on hunger strike in Israeli prison

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli Jews confront Arab demonstrators in Ashkelon

Arabs and Jews in Israel clashed on Sunday in the southern city of Ashkelon over a hunger striking Palestinian man who is being held by Israel without trial after news broke that he had fallen unconscious.

Mohammed Allan, 31, who has been in Israeli detention since November after he was accused of belonging to the militant Islamic Jihad movement, began his hunger strike two months ago and has reportedly been in a coma since Friday.

He was moved to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon where he was put on a respirator and a saline drip. His condition is now stable, hospital officials have said.

According to Israeli police, at least 10 Jews, Arabs and Palestinians from the occupied East Jerusalem were arrested for throwing stones and disrupting public order.

Although the Arab demonstration in support of Allan was planned, far-right Jewish protesters confronted the Arabs, chanting provocative slogans.

The AFP news agency also reported that buses carrying more Arab protesters to the area were prevented by police from entering Ashkelon after the clashes broke out.


Force- feeding

The ability to force-feed Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike was legislated through a law passed on June 30 by the Knesset (Israeli parliament) with a majority of 46 to 40.

Hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have long concerned Israel, since the strikes could end in death and certainly cause protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

But the Israeli Medical Association urged Israeli doctors not to abide to the law since they see force-feeding as a type of torture in addition to being medically risky, but the law was welcomed by some Israeli officials such as Yoel Hadar, legal advisor for the Public Security Ministry.

NGOs believe that force-feeding violates autonomy and human dignity and serves political purposes only, while politicians say new force-feeding law protects the sanctity of life.

“As regards Mr Allan’s hunger strike, any solution must take into account the need to protect his moral and physical integrity. The detainee’s choice must be respected and his dignity preserved,” said Jacques de Maio, the head of the ICRC’s delegation in Israel.

There are 5,516 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners that have been held in Israeli prisons until the end of May 2015 according to B’tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.  There are 351 detainees from the Gaza Strip, additionally dozens are held in the Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) facilities for a short period of time.

An additional 1,022 Palestinians were held in Israeli Prison Service facilities for being in Israel illegally according to B'tselem.

TRTWorld and agencies