As Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh enter their 70th day of hunger strike, the Israeli occupation courts have rejected their appeal, refusing to free them from administrative detention where they remain without charge or trial, subject to secret evidence and secret allegations. Today also marks the 20th day of the open hunger strike of now more than 2500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails continuing their resistance to injustice. Act now – send a letter to Israeli authorities expressing your outrage and demanding full implementation of the prisoners’ demands.
Addameer reported that:
Both Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab’s petitions to the Israeli High Court regarding their administrative detention orders were rejected today. They are on their 70th day of hunger strike and at immediate risk of death. In complete disregard to their critical medical condition, the Court stated in their decision that “hunger strikes are not relevant to decide on length of administrative detention as such”.
The Court recommended in Thaer’s case that since he has already spent nearly two years in administrative detention, the Israeli Security Service should investigate more in depth before extending his detention order to see if there are any possible alternatives to administrative detention. The Court further stated that if his detention order is extended, a more thorough interrogation should occur. The Court reiterated that these recommendations were irrespective of his hunger strike.
In Bilal’s case, the Court also suggested that if his administrative detention order is renewed, and his health permits extended detention, he should also be re-interrogated. The Court recommended that the Security Service shorten his order from 6 months to 3 or 4 months, to allow for a closer date of judicial review.
While Bilal and Thaer are in their hospital beds, on the longest hunger strikes recorded in the Israeli occupation prisons, the Israeli courts have once again revealed themselves to be primarily a mechanism and a tool in the hands of occupation. Indeed, the advising of “more thorough” interrogations against Bilal and Thaer is particularly appalling in light of Israel’s permission of “moderate physical pressure,” well-known as torture through the use of stress positions, sleep deprivation, hitting and beating, and noise abuse – inside its interrogation chambers, and far from being a remedy for Bilal and Thaer, is in fact a prescription for extended suffering.
It was also reported by Azzam Diab, Bilal’s imprisoned brother, that “The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has offered the release and deportation to Gaza for each of Thaer Halahle and Bilal Diab in return for ending their hunger strike.” The Palestine Information Centre reported that “Detainee Azzam Diab, the brother of Bilal, said that he was surprised at the presence of Askalan jail wardens in his cell on Sunday morning. He said that they asked him to go with them to Ramle prison hospital to convince his brother and Halahle to agree to end their strike in return for their deportation to Gaza. Azzam…refused, saying that he would not be used as a pressure tool on his brother.”
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel told CNN that there is no recorded case of prisoners surviving on hunger strike past 75 days without supplements or minerals; Amnesty International has issued a call for the release of Bilal and Thaer.
The prisoners are continuing to resist, making clear they will hold on until their demands are met and that prisoners are unified behind the strike’s leadership (despite Israeli attempts to undermine the leadership, imprisoned Palestinian national leader Ahmad Sa’adat refused to meet separately with Israeli prison management.) It is critical that the voices of people around the world remain raised and clear, calling for freedom for Bilal, Thaer and all of the administrative detainees – and, for all Palestinian prisoners, voices of their national and international struggle for liberation; for an end to isolation; for prisoners’ contact with their families and their lawyers no matter where they are from; and for the prisoners’ rights and dignity.
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike fighting for their most basic rights:
Bilal Diab- Day 70 of hunger strike
Thaer Halahleh- Day 70 of hunger strike
Hassan Safadi- Day 64 of hunger strike
Omar Abu Shalal- Day 62 of hunger strike
Mohammad Taj- Day 51 of hunger strike
Jaafar Azzedine- Day 47 of hunger strike
Mahmoud Sarsak- Day 46 of hunger strike
Abdullah Barghouti- Day 26 of hunger strike
Over 2,500 others are also on their 21st day of mass hunger strike.
1. Sign a letter demanding the Israeli state implement all of the demands of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners. Tell the Israeli Prison Services that the world is watching! Click here to sign.
2. Join a protest or demonstration for Palestinian prisoners. Events are taking place throughout Palestine; students have announced solidarity strikes. Nakba day is coming up May 15 – raise the voices of the striking prisoners as you commemorate 64 years of occupation. Organizing an event, action or forum on Palestinian prisoners on your city or campus? Use this form to contact us and we will post the event widely. If you need suggestions, materials or speakers for your event, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Contact your government officials and demand an end to international silence and complicity with the repression of Palestinian political prisoners. In Canada, Call the office of John Baird, Foreign Minister, and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel and justice for Palestinian prisoners, at : 613-990-7720; Email: email@example.com. In the US, call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209). Demand that Jeffrey Feltman bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel.
4. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and demand they uphold their duties to protect the rights of Palestinian political prisoners. Click here to sign a one-minute letter and make your voice heard!