Israel ‘punishes’ Palestinian hunger strikers (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV LAPPIN, REUTERS 04/24/12)
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Israel has taken measures against some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners on
a hunger strike, denying them family visits and separating them from
inmates not taking part in the protest, prison authorities said on
The open-ended strike, dubbed the "battle of empty stomachs" by
organizers, began last Tuesday. The prisoners are demanding better
jail conditions and for Israel to end detention without trial for
Palestinians suspected of security offenses.
"Privileges such as family visits have been revoked and items such as
electronics have been confiscated," Sivan Weizman, a spokeswoman for
the Israeli Prisons Authority, said.
"The term ´punishment´ is incorrect," another Prisons Service
spokeswoman said, responding to the report.
She said hunger strikers were separated from the remainder of
prisoners, but were not separated from one another, and were not in
"Additionally, in accordance to regulations, hunger striking
prisoners have been denied privileges such as visits, canteen, and
television," she added.
Palestinian prisoners have long complained of the difficulty of
securing family visits and the invasive searches visiting relatives
have to go through.
The striking prisoners have said they would drink only water and salt
until their demands are met.
Amani Sarahna of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an advocacy group
for Palestinians jailed by Israel, said prison authorities had
conducted extensive searches in hunger strikers´ cells, taking away
salt from those refusing to eat.
"All the prisoners´ belongings were confiscated except their towels
and their shoes," Sarahna said.
The start of the strike last week coincided with the release of
Khader Adnan, a prisoner who refused food for 66 days before agreeing
to a deal under which he was freed. Adnan is a member of Islamic
Jihad which has vowed to destroy Israel.
Organizers have called for rallies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza
Strip in the coming days in support of the 4,800 Palestinians held in
Israeli prisons. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/24/12)
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