Palestinian teen: open-ended hunger strike

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A PALESTINIAN prisoner in Israeli jails has been on an open-ended hunger strike for 12 consecutive days to protest over his administrative detention without charge or trial, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) on Sunday.

The detainee, who was identified as 19-year-old Hasan Shokeh, is only consuming water and refuses to take nourishments or to undergo any medical checkups. A PPS lawyer stated after visiting the detainee in Ofer Israeli prison that the Israeli prison administration placed Shokeh, who suffers from Asthma, under solitary confinement immediately after he declared his strike.

According to the lawyer, the detainee’s health condition has begun to deteriorate after 12 days of hunger strike. The detainee currently suffers from persistent headaches and dry eyes.

Shokeh has spent around 12 years in Israeli jails, eight of which were under administrative detention. He was re-detained on August 28, 2017; only one month after he was released from Israeli prisons from a prior arrest, and sentenced to detention without charge or trial for a period of six months.

The use of administrative detention dates from the ‘emergency laws’ of the British colonial era in Palestine, said the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. It stated, ‘Israel’s use of administrative detention violates international law; such detention is allowed only in individual circumstances that are exceptionally compelling for “imperative reasons of security”.’

Israel uses administrative detention routinely as a form of collective punishment and mass detention of Palestinians, and frequently uses administrative detention when it fails to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees. Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest against their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.

• The Government of Japan has deeply deplored Israel’s approval of plans for the construction of about 3,000 housing units in settlements in the West Bank despite repeated calls from the international community including Japan for freezing such activities, foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama said in a press release.

The release was issued following reports that Israel has stepped up plans to build almost 3,000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Settlement activities are in violation of international law and Japan has repeatedly called upon the Government of Israel to fully freeze settlement activities.

‘The Government of Japan once again strongly urges the Government of Israel to fully freeze its settlement activities including implementing the construction plans that are undermining the viability of a two-state solution,’ the statement concluded.

• Israeli forces on Sunday notified a number of Palestinians from Silwan neighbourhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, about their intention to demolish their homes, according to local sources. A WAFA correspondent said staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem backed by a police escort broke into Silwan and handed over notices to a number of local citizens informing them about the municipality’s intent to demolish their homes, under the pretext of construction without a permit.

Over the years, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has demolished hundreds of Palestinian-owned homes in the city for lack of a construction permit. The municipality claims that compared to the Jewish population, it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities.

However, testimonies collected by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) found that the procedures to apply for Israeli-issued building permits were lengthy, sometimes lasting for several years, while the application costs could reach up to 300,000 shekels ($79,180).

As four out of five Palestinians in East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, applying for costly building permits is nearly impossible, leading to only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits being allocated to Palestinian neighbourhoods.

• Israeli settlers on Sunday stole the harvest of hundreds of olive trees belonging to Palestinians in the Nablus and Ramallah areas, said a local activist. Settlers stole the olive harvest in the village of al-Mughayyer, near the city of Ramallah, and the village of Burin, near the city of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlements’ activities in the northern West Bank, told WAFA that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Adei Ad stole the harvest of 200 olive trees in al-Mughayyer village.

He added that other settlers from the settlement of Givat Ronen stole olive fruits of 60 olive trees in Burin village, south of Nablus. Last week, Israeli settlers stole the olive harvest from Palestinian-owned land in the villages of Farata and Jitt, east of Qalqilya. Palestinians look forward to the annual olive harvest season, which is a major income source for thousands of Palestinian families in the West Bank. In addition to stealing olive harvest from farmers, many areas planted with olive trees are closed to farmers due to their proximity to Jewish settlements or fall behind the Israeli apartheid wall.

• United States Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt has travelled to Egypt ‘to meet with senior officials about the status of (Palestinian) reconciliation,’ a senior White House official announced last Thursday. The United States is closely monitoring the reconciliation efforts and is in frequent contact with Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Israel.’

Greenblatt ‘will also work with the Government of Egypt on the basic principles outlined in his earlier statement today so we can help facilitate an enduring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,’ said the White House official.

The Special Representative said in a statement on Thursday that ‘any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognise the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists – and commit to peaceful negotiations. If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements.’

State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said in answer to a question if Greenblatt’s statement was an echo of the same conditions Israel has announced the day before that there was nothing new in that statement. ‘This was not conditions that were placed by the United States in the past. They were placed by – most recently – by (Israeli) Prime Minister (Binyamin Netanyahu). So is this a new position? Is it?’ asked a reporter at a State Department briefing on Thursday.

‘Well, there is nothing new about what he addressed. These are the Quartet principles and they’re the principles that I’ve addressed many times right here… and among that, it includes that any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to non-violence… recognise the state of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties, including to disarm terrorists and also commit to peaceful negotiations. So none of that is new.

‘That’s something that Representative Greenblatt in his trip announced in a statement. For some reason, some people thought it was incredibly new, but it’s not,’ said Nauert.