Monday 30 June 2014

Hunger Strike

On the 25th of June, between 60 and 80 prisoners currently help under Israel’s controversial ‘Administrative Detention’ law have ended their hunger strike. The prisoners had started their strike on April 24th this year as a protest against being detained indefinitely without charge. Various sources have been speculating as to why the strike has ended now with no official reason being verified.

Israel has been debating as to whether to bring forward a contentious law of force feeding prisoners on hunger strike, a move condemned as ‘unethical’ by the Israeli Medical Association. Jerusalem Post has stated that the Israel Prisoner Service has made little to no concessions and that the ending of the strike could possibly be due to the fact that the hunger strikes are futile in their attempt to change conditions as Israel steps up its operations in the West Bank as a response to the kidnappings of three Israeli settlers.

Whatever the reasons behind the strike ending, there is little evidence to suggest that the 190 prisoners under administrative detention will face charges, be brought to trial or be released anytime soon.
This number will seemingly grow as Israel continues its actions in the West Bank as the search for the missing Israelis continues. Some 371 people have already been arrested over the past 2 weeks with operations continuing daily.

As recounted by another volunteer in a previous post, the Israeli army came to Abu Dis in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Six arrests were carried out, four of which were of children under 18. We witnessed soldiers storming houses and have since seen pictures of homes turned upside down looking for ‘persons of interest’ and evidence against them. As my first experience seeing the Israeli army carrying out operations so close to us, it was fairly shocking. 
Israeli army in Abu Dis
For Palestinians living here in Abu Dis, it’s seemed to have become an almost farcical routine. One Abu Dis resident who we were with the next evening left our company early to go home as he had forgotten his ID card and didn’t want to be caught by the army without it. It is situations like that that can sometimes be hard to process as a westerner, something so trivial as say forgetting your wallet leads you to go home because you are worried about being arrested by the army.

As of now, operation ‘Brothers Keeper’ being carried out by the Israeli Army is still in full swing. The increased army presence, with all that it entails, continues in Abu Dis and the rest of the West Bank.


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