Some 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel launched a mass hunger strike on Monday to press for basic rights and shed light on the difficult humanitarian conditions inside Israeli prisons.
The open-ended hunger strike, one of the largest in recent years, coincides with Palestinian Prisoners Day, annually commemorated on April 17. Led by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, the strike will see Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum participate from within six prisons inside Israel.
“They have central demands and will continue to fast until they achieve them. The prisoners see hunger striking as the only door they can knock on to attain their rights,” Amina al-Taweel, spokesperson for the Hebron-based Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies, told Al Jazeera.
“Even though it Is one of the most dangerous and difficult decisions, they are only making this choice because conditions [inside the prisons] have reached a new low,” said al-Taweel.
There are currently 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, including more than 500 administrative detainees, according to Jerusalem-based prisoner rights group Addameer.
Prisoners’ demands include installation of a public telephone in all prisons to allow communication with relatives, resuming bi-monthly family visits, allowing second-degree relatives to visit, increasing duration of the visits and allowing prisoners to take photographs with their families.
|The Israeli government will be responsible for any and all of the consequences of this hunger strike – if a prisoner dies, or becomes extremely ill – they are the ones that will have to handle the outcome.|
Many prisoners suffer from medical negligence in jails. Prisoners must pay for their own medical treatment, and are not provided with the adequate health care. Sick prisoners have also reported being denied water.
Since 1967, more than 50 Palestinian prisoners have died due to medical negligence inside Israeli jails, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. “Some people wait four years to get surgery,” said al-Taweel. “They’re calling for an end to this deliberate medical negligence.”
Additionally, prisoners are demanding better treatment when being transferred between prisons or between courts and prisons. Detainees are transported in a vehicle with blacked-out windows, known as the Bosta.
The vehicle is divided into tight metal cells, whereby the prisoner is chained from their arms and legs to a chair in a confined space, for long periods of time in the dark.
Other demands include installing air conditions in prisons, restoring kitchens, allowing detainees to keep books, newspapers and clothes, as well as ending the policies of administrative detention and solitary confinement.
Administrative detainees are arrested on “secret evidence”, unaware of the accusations against them and are not allowed to defend themselves in court. Their detention periods can be indefinitely renewed.
“The Israeli government will be responsible for any and all of the consequences of this hunger strike – if a prisoner dies, or becomes extremely ill – they are the ones that will have to handle the outcome. Palestinian prisoners have been demanding these basic rights for years,” said al-Taweel.
Al-Taweel said there are high expectations that the Israeli Prison Service will carry out a campaign of prisoner transferals, which she said would be an attempt to “try and break the will and determination of the prisoners”.
Al Jazeera reached out to the Israel Prison Service for comment but did not receive a response.
Under international humanitarian law, prisoners from occupied territories must be held in the occupied territory, not in the territory of the occupying power. Though most Palestinian political prisoners hail from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, they are placed in prisons inside Israel, in direct contravention of international law.
Families of Palestinian prisoners must apply for permits to visit them and are regularly denied entry into Israel on security pretexts.
“One of the most significant concerns is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told Al Jazeera.
“Palestinian prisoners are placed inside Israel as opposed to the West Bank and Gaza strip. This is a crippling restriction on access to family and loved ones,” explained Shakir.
|Palestinian prisoners have reported experiencing various forms of abuse and ill-treatment, particularly during interrogation periods [Getty Images]|
A recent report from UK-based rights group Amnesty International also condemned Israel’s policy of holding Palestinian prisoners inside Israel, describing it as “unlawful and cruel”.
“Instead of unlawfully transferring prisoners outside the occupied territories, Israel must ensure all Palestinians arrested there are held in prisons and detention centres in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Until then, the Israeli authorities must stop imposing excessive restrictions on visitation rights as a means of punishing prisoners and their families, and ensure that conditions fully meet international standards,” the report read, quoting Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy regional director at Amnesty International.
Hunger striking as a method for pressuring Israel has become increasingly prevalent among Palestinian prisoners in recent years. In 2012, approximately 1,500 Palestinian prisoners launched a similar hunger strike for close to a month before managing to obtain their rights.
And, in 2014, 800 prisoners staged a strike against administrative detention for 63 days before a reaching a deal with the Israeli prison authorities and deciding to end their strike.
According to Shakir, a mass hunger strike is an attempt by Palestinian prisoners to shed light on such practices that raise serious questions about Israel’s policies under international law.
“It can help return the issue of Palestinian prisoners on top of the international community’s agenda. It’s about the plight of Palestinians behind bars,” said Shakir.
Additional reporting by Farah Najjar.
Source: Al Jazeera News
Baruch Goldstein, Jew
A visit to the grave of mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein
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Commenters on the conflict often speak of the grave of Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish extremist who gunned down 29 Muslims inside the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron in 1994. Jeff Klein recently visited the grave. This account appeared on his site, At a slight angle to the universe, on June 22.
On a hillside in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, overlooking the large West Bank Palestinian city of al-Khalil — known to Israeli Jews and most foreigners by its biblical name of “Hebron” – is the grave monument of Dr. Baruch Goldstein.
On the Jewish holiday of Purim, February 25, 1994, Goldstein, then a reserve officer in the Israeli army, walked into the Mosque of Ibrahim (the traditional burial place of the Patriarch Abraham) in uniform and with his army-issued weapon, opening fire on the Muslim worshippers. 29 people were murdered outright and 125 wounded before the survivors managed to disarm Goldstein and kill him on the spot.
For many far-right Israeli Jews and especially the settler movement Goldstein was a martyr to the cause of religious Zionism. His grave in a ceremonial plaza overlooking the Palestinian town became a place of pilgrimage and celebration – to the great embarrassment of the Israeli government and many of its supporters in the US.
The ceremonial plaza around the grave was ordered dismantled, but the park and monumental walkway leading up to his grave remain in place. The park is dedicated to Meir Kahane, the US-born rabbi who was a founder of the violent Jewish Defense League and later the leader of the fascist Kach party — which was so openly racist that it was eventually banned in Israel. Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990, but today you can still find stickers and graffiti around Israel with the slogan “Kahane Lives” or in English “Kahane Was Right!”
The Hebrew inscription on Goldstein’s grave monument reads, in part:
“The revered Dr. Baruch Kapel Goldstein… Son of Israel. He gave his soul for the sake of the people of Israel, The Torah, and the Land. His hands are clean and his heart good… He was assassinated for the Sanctity of God”
The stones on the grave are customarily left by visitors to express their mourning.
During the annual observance of the Purim holiday, settlers gather at Goldstein’s grave to celebrate his deed and sing songs in praise of the man they regard as a noble martyr. One of the songs includes the verse: “Dr. Goldstein, there is none other like you in the world. Dr. Goldstein, we all love you… he aimed at terrorists’ heads, squeezed the trigger hard, and shot bullets, and shot, and shot.”
Then the settlers march down to pray at the Mosque/Synagogue of Abraham, accompanied by a massive show of force by Israeli army troops.
The 1994 Hebron Massacre launched a fierce outburst of violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories, which included the first suicide bombings carried out by Hamas within the 1948 borders.
But in this case (Jewish) terrorism worked. The ancient burial place of the Patriarchs, which had been converted into a mosque over a thousand years earlier was now divided into a Muslim and a Jewish section and made accessible to Jewish worshipers and foreign tourists.
Ironically, it’s impossible for anyone to visit both parts of the shrine at a single occasion, since people approaching the heavy security at the shrine must declare their religious affiliation and are allowed into one or the other section depending on their answer. Muslims are not allowed into the Jewish section and Jews are not allowed into the Muslim section. Non-Jewish tourists can choose one or the other, but not both. (I know this from a previous visit with my son to the Mosque side).
On the day I was there, a large group of Swedish tourists, the men sporting incongruously small white Jewish kippot (“yarmilkas”) given to them at the entrance. Jewish religious law does not require non-Jews to have their heads covered.
Meanwhile religious Jewish yeshiva students were chanting fervently and loudly just behind them.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Baruch Goldstein Massacre At Hebron Mosque
Russian and Polish Time Bombs
After they destroyed Russia, they were imported to Israel. These things have been inbreeding for 1400 years, and the physical and mental symptoms are surfacing.
In Poland they had boundaries, but in Israel they roam like jackals. Raping a 11 yr old Arab girl, or beating an old Arab, is considered sport.
Purim is a sacrificial period when Jews kill. Goldstein, dressed as an IDF soldier, and another Jew, entered the rear of the mosque during night prayers.
There were nine soldiers on duty, but none of them stopped Goldstein. As the Arabs were kneeling, Goldstein threw grenades, and then used a machine gun. When it was over the Jews had killed 29, and wounded 150.
The Arabs beat him to death with a fire extinguisher, his accomplice escaped, and the IDF soldier ran.
It was built in 1206, and contains the body of Ibraham, who is a prophet and as the father of the Prophet Ismail, who is considered the Father of the Arabs and as the father of the Prophet Issac. Abraham is considered one of the most important prophets of Islam.
Following the Six-Day War of 1967, a group of Jews disguised as tourists, led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger, took over the main hotel in Hebron and refused to leave. They later moved to a nearby abandoned army camp and established the settlement of Kiryat Arba. This process of expansion of the Jewish presence is continuing and there are now more than 20 Jewish settlements in and around the city.
Jews living in these settlements and their supporters claim that they are resettling areas where Jews have lived since time immemorial, but the presence of Israeli settlements in these areas is condemned by many foreign governments and the United Nations as a violation of international law.
These are the most violent Jews in all of Israel. Video
Most of these settlers don’t work. They will come out of their nests and terrorize the Arab population. They cut the arm off this kid for throwing rocks.
This ‘Human Garbage’ will terrorize Arabs for sport.
Goldstein, a Jewish doctor from Brooklyn, immigrated in 1985. He was often questioned by the FBI with regards to his activities with the JDL. In Israel he was part of the Kiryat Arba ‘Kach’ terror groups, founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane.
Israel gives a immigrating doctor a house, salary, all expenses. These people receive exquisite houses, Thai servants, etc, it is all financed through US loans.
Israel erected a mini shrine at Kiryat Arba.
What Does It All Mean?
They destroyed Russia, Germany, Eastern Europe, Iraq, and soon Iran. When the time is right they will do the same thing to America.
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