Palestinian Prisoners Are Staging A Mass Hunger Strike – Now Is The Time To Set Them Free!

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PALESTINIAN prisoners are staging a mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons to protest against crackdowns and mistreatment by the prison officials.

They say their strike, which will last two weeks, aims to protest repeated inspection of cells by Israeli prison guards.

The decision to begin the hunger strike was made by the ‘Supreme Emergency Committee’ which is made up of prisoners from all the different factions.

The decision comes after Israeli prison authorities announced a set of repressive measures against long-term prisoners in violation of an agreement they had reached with them.

In March, the prisoners agreed to suspend their protests after the regime decided to stop the retaliatory actions taken by the Israeli Prison Service.

There are thousands of Palestinians currently held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of them have been incarcerated under the practice of so-called ‘administrative detention’. Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions without proper hygienic standards. They have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

The new strike action also comes after the Israeli regime’s Supreme Court tossed out an appeal for the release of a Palestinian prisoner, who has been on hunger strike for 172 days in protest against his illegal administrative detention.

The court rejected the request lodged by Khalil Awawda’s lawyer on Sunday, despite the severe deterioration in his health. The court denied the request after the regime’s internal security apparatus Shin Bet forwarded a ‘confidential file’ to the judge.

A senior Palestinian resistance movement Hamas official has confirmed that Israel is dragging its feet over the exchange of Palestinian prisoners in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Zaher Jabbarin said on Sunday there is no progress because the Israeli side is refusing to take any serious steps.

Hamas has provided a general framework for a prisoner swap, but the occupying Israeli regime keeps procrastinating, he said.

Israeli authorities are playing internal politics and are after electoral gains at the expense of the Palestinian prisoners, Jabbarin said, adding that Hamas will continue to support the Palestinian prisoners until they are freed.

Hamas’s political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh has already undertaken serious efforts to form a united front comprising all the Palestinian factions to expose violations against inmates in Israeli prisons.

The Palestinians are fighting desperately to free their imprisoned countrymen. Hamas has, time and again, reaffirmed that Israeli prisoners in Gaza will not see the light of day until Palestinian inmates are released.

The trade union movement throughout the planet must take real action to win the release of Palestinian prisoners. In particular, the UK TUC leaders have promised much for the Palestinians and made a few emotional speeches – but delivered nothing!

A special ‘action motion’ must be put down at the TUC Congress on September 12 for a one-day general strike to demand that all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails be freed at once.

The TUC must pledge to oppose all UK arms supplies to Israel and to refuse to play any part in delivering them. They must ban all trade with Israel, and approach all the union organisations in Europe and the USA to impose a similar ban.

They must call a series of one-day general strikes in support of the Palestinian state and demand that the UK government immediately recognises the Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital and with all Palestinians having the right to return.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly being held in Israeli jails. Hundreds have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, which allows Palestinian inmates to be held without trial or charge. The TUC must demand that they be freed at once!