Around 1,600 Palestinian political prisoners have entered their 22nd day on hunger strike today. The ‘Freedom and Dignity mass hunger strike’ started on April 17 on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners Day to demand better treatment in Israeli prisons.
Two members of Lajee Center, Marwan Fararja and Anas Nasrallah, have been taking part in this open-ended hunger strike since the beginning. There are eight other political prisoners from Aida Camp taking part in the hunger strike, Mahmoud and Nasser Abu Srour, who have been in Israeli jails since before the 1993 Oslo Accords; Monjed Abo Aker; Hazem Abo Aker; Ashraf Abu Srour; Ibrahim Abu Srour; Ali Abu Srour; and Khader Abu Khudeir. Following their decision to forgo food, they were moved to isolation, like many other hunger strikers. Lawyers and families have been banned from visiting them. After 22 days without food, the physical consequences of the strike are severe. There is no more hunger; instead, prisoners are in extreme pain, suffer from difficulty standing, severe dizziness, weakness, loss of coordination, low heart rate, and even cognitive impairment and loss of vision.
Marwan and Anas, together with the other 1,600 Palestinian political prisoners, are fighting for freedom and dignity, and civil society has mobilized across Palestine to show solidarity with the hunger strikers and their demands. It is very important for international civil society to also show its support and solidarity, and to put pressure on Israel to put an end to the ongoing violations of Palestinian political prisoners’ basic rights.
Palestinian political prisoners started this campaign, but for it to be truly effective we must all mobilize. It is time to stand with the hunger strikers, for the freedom and dignity of all Palestinian political prisoners. They have turned Israeli prisons into centers of resistance, now civil society around the world must follow and support their demands, raise awareness, and express solidarity.