Palestinian prisoners in Israel ready to strike unless demands are met – official


Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails are ready to start tomorrow, Sunday, a hunger strike unless the Israel Prison Services (IPS) accepts their humanitarian demands, Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Commission of Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees, said today.

He told WAFA that unless Israel responds today to the demands put forward by the prisoners, a group from among the prisoners will embark tomorrow on an open hunger strike to be followed on the 17thof this month, the Palestinian Prisoner Day, with another batch and on May 1 by whoever wants to join in the hunger strike.

He said the prisoners’ main demand is to remove the jamming devices the IPS has recently installed in the Naqab (Negev or Kitziot) prison due to their impact on the health of the prisoners and the jamming of their TVs and radios, which deny them the right to watch TV or hear radio programs.

The prisoners are also demanding that the IPS installs public phones in the yards that would allow the prisoners to get in touch with their families and to take back punitive measures the IPS has imposed on the prisoners in the Naqab and Rimon prisons following outbreak of protests in these prisons. Some of these measures included raids of cells by the special repression forces, assaulting prisoners, destroying and seizing all their belongings, isolation and imposing heavy fines on the prisoners.

A sense of optimism and calm seem to have prevailed in the prisons yesterday giving hope of some sort of agreement between the prisoners and the IPS that would avert resorting to the open hunger strike, said sources.

The situation in the prisons has been tense for the last few months, ever since Israel’s Home Security Minister Gilad Ardan has adopted recommendation to make life very difficult for the 6000 plus Palestinians held in Israeli jails for resisting its occupation of their homeland, and particularly after installing jamming devices in Ofer and Naqab prisons, which the prisoners insisted have caused them serious health problems and disrupted their TV and radio reception.

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