by Ahmad Jaradat, Senior Project Coordinator, Alternative Information Center

In Bethlehem, hundreds of Palestinians participated in a march in solidarity with three Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, the Palestinian Ministry of Education and local civil society groups organized the demonstration.

The march started at the Ministry of Education’s headquarters and, accompanied by the “freedom train,” proceeded onto Bethlehem’s main street.

During the procession, Abdullah el Zeghari, the spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, said, “we organized this event today in Bethlehem as part of our ongoing solidarity with the prisoners, especially those who are on hunger strike. We loudly decry administrative detention as a grave violation of prisoners’ human rights who have been arrested without charges.”

He added, “this is also a message from Palestine to international organizations and movements to actively put more pressure on the Israeli occupation to stop unjust policies that abuse Palestinians political prisoners.”

Other speakers called on Palestinians everywhere to continue organizing solidarity actions for Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.

Fellow Palestinian political prisoners in four different Israeli detention centers (Hadareem, Rimon, Nafha and Eshil prisons) announced their commitment to take “escalating steps” in support of the prisoners on hunger strike. The steps range from returning meals to launching open-ended hunger strikes themselves.

The prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prison are Mahmoud al-Balboul, Mohammad al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi. All three are incarcerated via an administrative detention orders.

Mahmoud Balboul, 21 years old, launched a hunger strike on July 1st 2016. His brother Mohammad Balboul, 26 years old, began hunger striking soon after on July 4th 2016. Mahmoud Balboul is a student at al-Quds University and a member of the Palestinian police. Mohammad Balboul is a dentist.

Qadi, 20 years old, has been on hunger strike since July 16th 2016. He is one of 25 Palestinian journalists incarcerated by the State of Israel.

Mahmoud Balboul is in intensive care are Assaf Harofeh hospital outside of Tel Aviv, while Mohammad Balboul and al-Qadi are being held in Wolfson hospital.

Mohammad Balboul recently started losing his eyesight. Wolfson hospital’s so-called Ethics Committee is considering subjecting him to force-feeding.

The Palestinian Health Minister issued an urgent press release on Sunday, in which he described the hunger-striking prisoners’ health conditions as critical, and calling for their immediate release.

Though administrative detention orders technically have an expiration date, Israeli authorities can – and do– renew administrative orders.

The Israeli legal system sanctions the renewal of administrative detentions order the same way that it grants their initial approval: without evidence, charges, or trial. Administrative detention orders are based on secret evidence provided by Israeli intelligence. This system allows for de facto indefinite detention.

There are currently 750 Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli prison.

Search IMEMC: “hunger strike”