Palestinian Hunger Strikers Hospitalised

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ISRAELI authorities have hospitalised three Palestinians on hunger strike, an Israeli prison services spokeswoman said last Friday.

Ayman Sharawna, Jaafar Azzidine and Tareq Qaadan were transferred from Ramle prison to hospitals in Israel for medical tests, Sivan Weizman said.

Azzidine and Qaadan, who were taken to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre, had by Friday been on hunger strike for 87 days in protest at their administrative detention, without charge or trial.

Sharawna went on hunger strike on July 1, 2012, but briefly stopped on December 23 after believing there were developments in his case, prisoner rights group Addameer says. He restarted the strike in January.

Like Samer Issawi, who as of last Friday had been on hunger strike for 205 days, Sharawna was rearrested after being granted amnesty in the October 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas.

Israel’s military judiciary is seeking to cancel their amnesty and reinstate their former sentences.

Sharawna was transferred to the Soroka University Medical Centre while Issawi remains in Ramle prison clinic.

Mona Hussein Qaadan, 41, last Friday declared an open hunger strike, in support of her brother the hunger striker Tareq Qaadan, and all the striking prisoners’ demands.

Mona informed her family, through her lawyer, that she declared an open hunger strike on Wednesday till meeting all the striking prisoners’ fair demands, her family said.

Mona was arrested four times, her mother died while she was in the prison and she was liberated in a prisoners exchange deal between Hamas and Israeli occupation authorities but she was re-arrested on 13th November 2012.

Mona’s fiancé is prisoner Ibrahim Hasan Gbarieh from Jerusalem who is serving life in occupation jails.

Israeli police increased manpower in East Jerusalem on Friday ahead of anticipated protests in support of Palestinian hunger strikers.

The Israeli news site Ynet said police would deploy at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City amid growing protests in solidarity with Samer Issawi, a resident of Jerusalem who has been on hunger strike in Israeli prison for 205 days.

Issawi and three other prisoners on hunger strike have been the focus of intensified clashes with Israeli forces throughout the West Bank.

Last Thursday, an Israeli court sentenced Issawi to eight months, back-dated to his arrest, for leaving Jerusalem in violation of the terms of his release under an October 2011 prisoner exchange.

The Israeli military judicial authority is also trying to cancel Issawi’s amnesty and force him to serve the remaining 20 years of his previous sentence.

‘This decision (by the civilian court) does not change (Issawi’s) situation and doesn’t mean that he will be released in March,’ said Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Several Palestinian protesters were injured in clashes with Israeli troops last Friday in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Israeli forces clashed with hundreds of Palestinians protesting near Ramallah last Thursday in solidarity with long-term hunger strikers in Israeli jails.

PNA prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe and Fatah central committee member Mahmud al-Aloul joined the rally, near Israel’s Ofer prison in the central West Bank.

More than 70 Palestinians were injured in violent confrontations with the occupation soldiers outside the Ofer detention centre.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement that at least one person has been injured with live ammunition, and 26 injuries with rubber-coated metal bullets, while the rest of the injuries were due to tear gas.

Students from Birzeit University, the University of Jerusalem, and secondary schools participated in marches to Ofer prison, where clashes erupted.

The Israeli occupation authorities had declared the area since early Thursday morning a closed military zone, where occupation soldiers were deployed within a one-square-kilometre area and took hold of the rooftops of some houses around the prison.

Israeli soldiers used a bulldozer to open roads closed by demonstrators in addition to the use of water cannons using waste water against the protestors.

Israeli officers, border guards, and Israeli police were stationed in front of Ofer prison from the early hours to suppress the demonstrators and prevent them from having access to the prison gate.

The leader of the Islamic bloc in Birzeit, Imran Mazloum said that hundreds of people, including students from the University of Birzeit, participated in a massive march to the Ofer prison west of Ramallah in support of the prisoners on hunger strike.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) repressed them with tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets, leading to several cases of suffocation and the outbreak of violent clashes in the region.

The Popular Committee Against the Wall on Thursday called for holding the Friday prayers outside the Ofer prison in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike.

Islamic bloc leader Mazloum said that Birzeit student blocs had organised events in support of prisoners in front of Ofer prison gate, few days ago, where many of them were injured.

Different areas in the West Bank have witnessed clashes and confrontations at the entrances to towns and camps.

Meanwhile, the Ahmed Abu Rish Brigades on Thursday threatened to fire rockets at Israel if any jailed hunger striker is harmed.

‘We will continue to work with rockets and we will not stand by idly. Military operations will be implemented to achieve the rights of prisoners and to free them,’ brigades member Abu Ali al-Qawkabi said in a statement.

Al-Qawkabi called on Palestinian leaders in Ramallah to reject any negotiations with Israel and urged the Gaza government to refuse a truce until the detainees’ demands are met.

The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades joined a solidarity tent in Gaza City on Thursday in support of Samer Issawi who has been on hunger strike for 204 days, and Tareq Qaadan and Jaafar Azzidine who have refused food for 86 days.

The brigades called for action to free prisoners and joined a march from Victory Street to the protest tent, raising flags and banners of the hunger strikers.

Islamic Jihad has said a truce with Israel could unravel if any hunger striker dies.