A Palestinian woman takes part in a demonstration outside the Red Cross offices in Gaza City on September 19, 2016, in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails. (Photo by AFP)
At least 120 Palestinian prisoners have gone on an open-ended hunger strike to express their solidarity with three fellow inmates who are refusing food in protest at their arbitrary detention by the Israeli regime.
The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a statement released on Tuesday that the Palestinian prisoners began the hunger strike in a show of support for Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul and Malek al-Qadi.
The 120 inmates demanded the release of the trio and an end to the so-called administrative detention policy, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months.
The committee head, Issa Qaraqe, told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that the health conditions of Balboul brothers and Qadi were rapidly deteriorating.
“They are suffering from chest pains, muscle cramps, increased body temperature and frequent loss of consciousness,” Qaraqe said.
Muhammad Balboul, 25, began refusing food 78 days ago to protest his detention without charge or trial. Mahmoud Balboul, 22, also went on hunger strike three days after his brother. Mahmoud is said to have lost his eye sight as a result of the prolonged strike.
Malek al-Qadi, who is 19 years old, is now in the 67th day of his hunger strike.
Earlier this month, an Israeli court decided to “temporarily” suspend the trio’s administrative detention. However, the prisoners vowed to continue refusing food until the arbitrary incarceration orders issued against them were permanently overturned.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, many of them arbitrarily.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strike in an attempt to voice their outrage at the illegal and unfair administrative detention.
Last year, the Israeli regime passed a controversial bill allowing the force-feeding of hunger-striking inmates.