Palestinians rally for hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails

About 1,000 Palestinians are fasting in a protest launched on April 17 by jailed leader Marwan Barghouti.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The prisoners are demanding improved conditions including more family visits, better medical care, phone access, and an end to imprisonment without charge.

Thousands of Palestinians rallied on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah in a show of support for Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

About 1,000 Palestinians are fasting in a protest launched on April 17 by jailed leader Marwan Barghouti.

Those taking part are ingesting only water and salt.

It is unclear how many have been on strike for the full period as some of the original participants have since pulled out while others appeared to have joined.

Supporters of the prisoners say 50 more will join the hunger strike from Thursday, among them prominent Palestinian faction leaders such as Ahmed Saadat, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The prisoners are demanding improved conditions including more family visits, better medical care, phone access, and an end to imprisonment without charge.

Relatives have received no news about their loved ones and live in a state of "permanent anxiety," says Mahmud al-Ziadeh, whose son Majd has been in prison for 15 years.

Barghouti, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah party and a highly popular figure among Palestinians, is serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

"I am addressing you from solitary confinement, among thousands of prisoners and on their behalf, and among hundreds of prisoners who have decided to launch this hunger strike for freedom and dignity that will continue till their legitimate demands are met," he wrote in a statement released on Wednesday by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

"Israel cannot silence us, nor isolate us, nor break us," it said.

This hunger strike aims to confront the ongoing and escalating unjust Israeli occupation policies against prisoners and their loved ones. We stress our determination to undertake this struggle whatever the cost.

TRT World spoke to Palestinian activist Arab Marwan Barghouti, son of Marwan Barghouti, who talked about the hunger strikes, and dismissed suggestions that his father staged the strike for its own political ambitions.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies