Palestinian Hunger Strikers – An Update
PALESTINE - ISRAEL, 22 May 2017
Medical Aid for Palestinians
19 May 2017
This week approximately 1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons entered their second month of a hunger strike over conditions and medical rights. Their demands to the Israeli Prison Services include better and consistent access to healthcare; more liberal family visit policies; and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention.
The issue of prisoners’ access to adequate medical treatment was highlighted in a joint statement from Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations (Addameer, Adalah, the Arab Association for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel) last week which urged Israel to “cease its ongoing, systematic human rights violations against the hunger-strikers”:
“The quality and range of healthcare services available to prisoners held in Israeli prisons and detention facilities are considerably lower than those provided to the general population in Israel. Further, the IPS and the Ministry of Internal Security administers the health care system in prisons, rather than the Ministry of Health.
“Extremely long waiting times to see specialist physicians are standard and few periodic medical examinations are available. Certain treatments such as physiotherapy or treatments for hepatitis that are supposed to be available, according to the IPS’s own regulations, cannot be accessed in practice because of budget limitations.”
Concerns over adequacy of medical care are particularly acute for the hunger strikers. The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs (CDA) reported on Wednesday 17 May that scores of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike had been transferred to hospital after their health deteriorated.
Seventy-six Palestinian prisoners were admitted to Israel’s Ofer Hospital, following the transfer of 36 hunger strikers to the Hadrim field hospital the day before.
Speaking to AFP, Dr Zeratsion Hishal, an Eritrean-Dutch doctor working with the International Committee of the Red Cross who has visited some of the prisoners, explained what happens to a person’s body after three or four weeks of hunger striking:
“Every time they drink they can vomit. They are tired and they become apathetic. They want to sleep and they don’t want to talk much. You see some depression.”
He estimated that the hunger strikers would have lost approximately 10 percent of their body weight, and would experience dizziness, joint pain and headaches. At this stage, hunger strikers need regular medical checks.
Palestinian medics, including doctors, dentists and pharmacists, partnered with nursing and medical laboratory unions and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Jericho to release a joint letter on 17 May, calling on international health organisations to intervene to “save the lives of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.”
Dr Bashar Ahmad, a member of the Palestine Doctors Association, stated:
“Israel is fully responsible for the health condition of prisoners and for medical negligence.”
He stressed that the lives of prisoners “are facing real danger that requires urgent medical intervention, especially due to the dangers of force feeding.”
The risk of force feeding was also raised by United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Michael Lynk. Mr Lynk warned that Israel’s 2015 law allowing force-feeding could be applied to the hunger strikers, and called on Israel to comply with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners:
“Prisoners everywhere have a right to engage in hunger strikes to protest their living conditions, and they should not be punished as a result. Force-feeding is a practice that human rights experts have found could amount to torture.”
The Special Rapporteur also expressed concern about the reports he has received that prisoners are being held in solitary confinement, being denied access to lawyers, and experiencing other forms of deprivation due to their participation in the hunger strike. He urged Israel to comply with international law and international standards for detention.
You can find out more about Palestinian prisoners’ lack of access to medical care here.
Jews for Justice for Palestinians is a network of Jews who are British or live in Britain, practising and secular, Zionist and not. We oppose Israeli policies that undermine the livelihoods, human, civil and political rights of the Palestinian people. We support the right of Israelis to live in freedom and security within Israel’s 1967 borders. We work to build world-wide Jewish opposition to the Israeli Occupation, with like-minded groups around the world and are a founding member of European Jews for a Just Peace, a federation of Jewish groups in ten European countries.
Join the BDS-BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS campaign to protest the Israeli barbaric siege of Gaza, illegal occupation of the Palestine nation’s territory, the apartheid wall, its inhuman and degrading treatment of the Palestinian people, and the more than 7,000 Palestinian men, women, elderly and children arbitrarily locked up in Israeli prisons.
DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WHOSE BARCODE STARTS WITH 729, which indicates that it is produced in Israel. DO YOUR PART! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
7 2 9: BOYCOTT FOR JUSTICE!
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article:
PALESTINE - ISRAEL: