More than 1,000 Palestinians jailed in Israel began the second month of a hunger strike protest on Wednesday, against their conditions of detention. The movement was launched in April by Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader sentenced to life in prison for murder, During the riots of the second Intifada in the 2000s.
The hunger strikes of Palestinian prisoners are not rare, but the current movement is one of the most important in recent times. It coincides with the 22nd visit of US President Donald Trump. During a press conference in Ramallah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the Israeli government to accept the prisoners’ humanitarian requirements. “I’m afraid if anything happens to them, it could complicate things further,” Abbas said.
Prisoners protest against the bad conditions in the jail and the so-called “administrative detentions,” where imprisonment occurs without trial. The practice is used to circumvent the legal requirements of a trial. The same method was used in the Apartheid regime in South Africa and in the Guantanamo prison in the United States. More than 500 prisoners are detained in Israel under these conditions. For the Israeli authorities, the motive for fasting is political.
Relatives can not visit prisoners
Prisoners’ relatives also can not visit them, a situation that is being discussed between the Israeli government, the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
On Sunday 14, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erlan accused Barghouti of secretly breaking his fast and eating chocolate bars and biscuits. “He lied to Palestinian public opinion, saying he was on hunger strike. Israel will not give in to blackmail and pressure from terrorists, “he said. According to Kadoura Farès, who heads the Palestinian Prisoners Association, more than 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained in 22 Israeli prisons.
The body supports on average 50 days without food, explains Zeratzion Hisha, a physician at the International Red Cross. According to him, the pains in the stomach last about three days, and then the brain gets used to the lack of food. However, without the necessary nutrients, the body will consume the proteins used by the muscles, and eventually by the organs themselves, preserving the brain, kidneys, liver and heart. Death is usually caused by cardiac arrest.