In photos: widespread solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners

6 May 2012

An estimated 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners are on an open-ended hunger strike that began on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The strike is a direct challenge to Israel’s regime of arrest and detention to try to break the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

Prisoners are specifically calling for a resumption of family visits and an end to the widespread, abusive practices of administrative detention — imprisonment without charge or trial — and solitary confinement. Ahmad Saadat, Palestinian parliamentarian and leader of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is currently on hunger strike after more than three years of solitary confinement. Israel currently holds nearly 20 percent of the 132 Palestinian Legislative Council members in administrative detention.

Two prisoners, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, both being held without charge or trial, are on the brink of death after 68 days of hunger strike. Amnesty International has issued a call for urgent action to save Diab and Halahleh’s lives. Several other prisoners have also been on hunger strike for weeks and have been transferred to a prison clinic. Some, like Biab and Halahleh, have not been allowed to see independent doctors.

Today, Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel issued an urgent, joint statement regarding the grave condition of Thaer Halahleh, Bilal Diab and a third hunger striker, Hassan Safadi, whom they said are being subjected to “medical negligence” by Israeli authorities.

In contrast to the deafening silence from world media and governments, there has been widespread support for the mass hunger strike throughout historic Palestine and in exile. Nearly all Palestinian families living under Israeli occupation have been affected by Israel’s regime of arrest and detention and Palestinian political prisoners are celebrated as national heroes.

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Demonstration in front of Ramle prison in Israel, 3 May.

(JC / ActiveStills)

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Palestinian protesters rally in support of political prisoners outside Ramle prison in Israel, 3 May.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)

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Some of the 17 activists arrested at a demonstration in support of hunger striking prisoners outside Ramle prison are brought to court in Petach Tikva near Tel Aviv, 4 May.

(Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

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Posters of hunger striking Palestinian political prisoners at a solidarity tent in Gaza City, 4 May.

(Majdi Fathi / APA images)

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Women on solidarity hunger strike at the sit-in tent in Gaza City, 4 May.

(Ali Jadallah / APA images)

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A Palestinian woman on solidarity hunger strike at the Gaza City sit-in tent receives medical attention, 3 May.

(Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

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An artist paints a mural at a solidarity tent in Gaza City, 30 April.

(Mohammed Asad / APA images)

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A candlelight vigil in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners, Gaza City, 28 April.

(Mohammed Asad / APA images)

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Children participate in a rally in support of the mass hunger strike in Gaza City, 3 May.

(Naaman Omar / APA images)

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A rally in support of Palestinian prisoners in Ramallah, 29 April.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Palestinians perform Friday prayers during a protest in support of political prisoners in Ramallah, 4 May.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Palestinian Christians attend a special service in the West Bank city of Ramallah in support of hunger striking prisoners.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Hamas supporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah call for the release of Palestinian prisoners, 5 May.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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A Palestinian woman waves a flag atop an Israeli military vehicle at a protest outside Ofer military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, 1 May.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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A Palestinian man throws stones at Israeli soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, 4 May.

(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

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Relatives of Jordanian prisoners in Israeli jails take call for their release in Amman, 3 May.

(Mohammad Abu Ghosh / Xinhua/Zumapress)

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A Palestinian woman displays a photo of a jailed relative during a protest in front of the Red Cross in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, 30 April.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)

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Palestinians hold a rally in support of prisoners in the Old City of Jerusalem.

(Mahfouz Abu Turk / APA images)

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A demonstration in the city center of West Bank city of Nablus in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, 3 May.

(Ahmad Al-Bazz / ActiveStills)

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Khader Adnan (center), who was on hunger strike for 66 days earlier this year, shows his support for the mass hunger strike at An-Najah National University, Nablus, 3 May.

(Ahmad Al-Bazz / ActiveStills)

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A rally in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank city of Nablus, 3 May.

(Wagdi Eshtayeh / APA images)