As the mass hunger strike launched by over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails enters its 10th day Wednesday, continuing to raise awareness about the plight of prisoners and press for an end to poor treatment, some prisoners in solitary confinement began refusing water.
According to the Media Committee for Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike, a joint committee formed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society and Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, a number of prisoners being held in solitary confinement in Ramla prisons had stopped drinking water.
According to Qaraqe, Israel Prison Service officials have continued to punish participating prisoners for their strike, including preventing them from accessing commissaries to purchase salt — as some prisoners are only consuming salt and water — giving them only dirty sheets and covers and carrying out provocative search raids of prisoners’ rooms.
Last week, Israeli authorities had begun cracking down on the prisoners, forcibly moving many to different sections of Israeli jails, confiscating their clothes and personal belongings and preventing lawyers and family members from visiting them in jail.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights released a statement Wednesday saying it was “strongly concerned” for the lives of the hundreds of hunger-striking prisoners, adding that “Israeli forces should be fully held responsible for the deterioration of prisoners’ conditions in light of the stubbornness of the IPS to meet their humane demands,” Ma’an reported.
Throughout the world, many groups have expressed their solidarity with the strikers, with near-daily rallies continuing to take place in Palestine.
Cuba Calls for Abolition of Military Bases, US Interventionism
The President of the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples Silvio Platero emphasized Wednesday the need to abolish all military bases also reiterating that the U.S. naval base located in Guantanamo is against the will of the people and law of the land.
Cuba is hosting the International Peace Seminar for the Abolition of Military Bases in May with the aim to unite forces to eradicate military facilities.
The event will take place from May 4-6 in the eastern province of Guantanamo. Some of the key issues to be discussed in the seminar are nuclear disarmament and calls to end the interventionist policies of global powers.
The MovPaz president highlighted the negative impact of the military bases warning of the dangers increased U.S. military bases pose. Currently, the U.S. has 850 bases spread across five continents, with 150 in the U.S. itself.
So far, over 200 delegates from 25 countries have signed up to attend the event. The final declaration of the event will be read in the town of Caimanera, located a couple of miles from the Guantanamo Naval Base, Granma reported.
Calling out the interventionist policies of the U.S., Platero said, “The empire uses supposed humanitarian assistance in national emergencies,” as in the case of the recent floods in Piura, Peru, Prensa Latina reported.
Trump Readying an Executive Order to Leave NAFTA
The Donald Trump administration is mulling over an executive order that would withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA, according to Politico on Wednesday.
A senior administration official has emphasized that the U.S. withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement is something President Trump has “always been considering” and that a recent 20 percent tariff imposed on softwood lumber imports from Canada is only the first shot.
During his presidential campaign, Trump often berated NAFTA, promising to either renegotiate the terms of the agreement or withdraw from it altogether. In recent months Trump has referred to NAFTA as a “disaster” and has contended that the trade agreement has resulted in the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs. However, a host of Republicans have urged Trump not to pull out of the deal. “It will devastate the economy in my state. I hope he doesn’t do that,” said Sen. John McCain Wednesday.
While Trump may be under pressure to make good on his campaign promise, a promise he’d pledged to fulfill before his first 100 days in office, Mexican leaders are anxious to finalize NAFTA negotiations well before the country’s July 2018 presidential election. Term limits restrict Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto from running again and there’s no guarantee that the next president will cooperate with the Trump administration on trade issues.
Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told CNN Tuesday, “We are ready to come to the table anytime, but the United States, in fact, has yet to actually initiate the negotiating process.”