Some 18 Palestinian political detainees in Israel’s Etzion prison have launched a hunger strike in protest of a recent surge of maltreatment and suppression by Israeli prison authorities, according to the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Commission.In a press statement relaeased on Tuesday, the commission said that the 18 prisoners have resorted to escalation against prison authorities after they being subjected to a number of arbitrary measures, including medical negligence, insufficient food provision, lack of mattresses and cleaning materials, in addition to overcrowding.

There are some 6,000 Palestinian political dissidents being held in Israeli jails, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

According to rights groups, medical negligence has been a systematic policy in Israeli jails. The prisoner rights group Addameer asserts that the Israeli Prison Service maintains a systematic policy of medical negligence toward Palestinian detainees.

There are at least 1,500 sick prisoners in Israeli jails, prisoners suffering from malignant diseases, paralysis, and disabilities, in addition to cases of mental illness and neurological disorders.

The group reports that, the ‘lack of natural sunlight and moisture in the prisons, along with a poor, imbalanced diet and restrictions on use of the prison yard for exercise, can lead to health problems such as skin diseases, extreme fatigue, anemia and weakness, kidney problems, rheumatism, dental problems and ulcers.’

The only prison hospital available for Palestinian prisoners is Ramle hospital, and only in certain circumstances does Israel allow prisoners there for medical care. The prison hospital does not provide a good standard of healthcare, leaving the sick to depend on over-the-counter painkillers.

Archive IMEMC: 02/26/16 Al-Qeeq Suspends His Strike After Reaching An Agreement For His Release