UN chief Ban Ki-moon has recently expressed concern in regard to the deteriorating health conditions of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. He has called on Israel to either charge or release them without further delay.Around 125 prisoners have been on strike for over six weeks, AFP reports via Ma’an, mostly administrative detainees who are being held indefinitely without charge or trial.
‘The secretary general is concerned about reports regarding the deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainees who have been on hunger strike for over a month,’ Ki-moon’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, this past Friday.
‘He reiterates his long-standing position that administrative detainees should be charged or released without delay.’
Additionally, the UN High commissioner for human rights has also pointed to a bill presented in the Israeli parliament which would permit force-feeding and medical treatment of prisoners on hunger strike, as it is in contravention of international standards.
Six parliamentarians from the Palestinian Legislative Council, all administrative detainees, are also currently engaged in the strike, according to Israeli and Palestinian rights groups, raising the official count by the Israeli Prisons Service (IPS) to 290 Palestinians who are refusing food.
70 are being treated in hospital, according to IPS.
Though the administrative detention policy allows suspects to be jailed without trial for up to six months, such orders can be renewed indefinitely by a military court.
Prison administration recently distributed leaflets to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, in a more or less official renege on a previous agreement with the prisoners, reached in 2012 under Egyptian auspices.
Under the previous agreement, 2,000 Palestinian prisoners ended their hunger strike with a promise by Israel to end the policy itself but, as of March 1, 183 Palestinians were still being held under administrative detention.
About 5,000 Palestinians are now currently being held in Israeli prisons, nearly 200 of them under administrative detention.