Israeli policemen arrested, on Thursday evening, more than 20 protesters during a massive protest held in front of the al-Ramla prison in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian detainees. The protesters also demanded the release of seven who were taken prisoner during a previous protest held in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners. The kidnapped protesters, Arab and Jewish Israelis, are from different areas, including Lod, Ramla, Shfa-Amr, Majd Al-Koroum, and several others.
The protest was organized by youth groups and peace activists to express solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, who are conducting an open ended hunger-strike demanding their internationally guaranteed rights.
The Arabs48 news website reported that, following the arrests, dozens of residents, including the families of the detainees, held a peaceful protest in front of the police base where the protesters were held, and demanded their immediate and unconditional release. The police responded to the demands with further arrests after beating and tasering several nonviolent protesters.
Lawyer Maisa’ Ersheed, went to the police station to represent those arrested but the police refused to allow her to see them, and forced her out of the station.
The police violently attacked the kidnapped residents, and one of them, identified as 16 year old Ward Kayyal, was moved to the Ramla Hospital after being kicked and beaten by the police.
It is worth mentioning that dozens of detainees have been on hunger-strike for several weeks, including detainees Thaer Halahla and Bilal Thiab who started their hunger-strike 65 days ago, and whose health condition has deteriorated sharply posing a direct threat to the lives.
Arab Member of Knesset, Head of the National Democratic Assembly, Dr. Jamal Zahalka, stated while participating in the protest that thousands of Palestinian detainees intend to join the hunger-strike in the coming few days, saying that the detainees are just demanding their rights, rights that have been taken away from them.
Dr. Zahalka went on to state that the detainees have four basic rights: an end to the illegal Administrative Detention polices, allowing visits to Gaza Strip detainees, an end to solitary confinement policies, and an end to all sanctions imposed against the detainees under the so-called “Shalit Law”.
“This is the beginning of daily activities in support of the detainees”, Zahalka stated. “We will be holding protests and marches on a daily basis, It is our duty to support the legitimate demands of the detainees”.
Several political leaders, including Fateh official in Jerusalem, Hatem Abdul-Qader; Head of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah; Secretary-General of the National Democratic Assembly, Mustafa Taha; and Abla Sa’adat, wife of the imprisoned Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Sa’adat, participated in the protest.
Arabs48 reported that Raed Shaheen and Mohammad al-Jayyoussi, who spent 4 and 6 years in detention and were released Thursday from Nafha prison, headed to the protest directly after their release.
Arab Member of Knesset, Dr. Ahmad Tibi, stated Thursday that detainee Bilal Thiab, on hunger strike since 67 days, is facing imminent death and he has reached a stage where he needs to be released and admitted to urgent care at a specialized hospital.
Both Thiab and Thaher Halahla were brought to court where Tibi examined them, and found out that they are in a serious health condition and need immediate hospitalization. Thiab’s body temperature is dropping, and his pulse rate is only 48. Israel refused to allow journalists to take pictures of Thiab and Halahla.
On Wednesday, detainee Rateb ad-Deek, from Salfit in the West Bank, lost his hearing, and was vomiting blood after being given the wrong medication, the Palestinian Prisoners Society reported.
He first complained that he had pain in his ear and the doctor at the Mejiddo Prison hospital, that lacks basic equipment and specialized physicians, gave him an ear drop that led to a complication that caused deafness. It remains unknown if the condition is permanent, and the detainee needs urgent specialized medical attention.
Ad-Deek was taken out of his cell, cuffed and shackled, to see his family who came to visit him, and also complained of poor eyesight after being given eye drops when he complained of pain in his eyes.
Next Monday, all detainees from all Palestinian factions, in all prisons in the south of the country will be joining the hunger-strike.