EU asks Israel to let families visit hunger strikers (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Shatha Yaish 05/08/12)
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The Red Cross and EU on Tuesday expressed concern about several
Palestinian prisoners in the advanced stages of a hunger strike,
urging Israel to provide them with medical treatment and family
In a statement, the European Union delegations in Jerusalem and
Ramallah said they were worried about the failing health of several
prisoners, two of whom were on their 70th day without food, passing
what medics say is the point of no return in terms of recovery.
"The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah are concerned about the
deteriorating health condition of the Palestinians held in
administrative detention in Israel who have been on hunger strike for
more than two months," it said.
"The EU requests the government of Israel to make available all
necessary medical assistance and to allow family visits as a matter
of urgency," it added.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was "extremely
concerned" about the fate of a handful of Palestinians on long-term
hunger strike, adding they were "in imminent danger of dying."
Five Palestinian prisoners have been refusing food for between seven
and 10 weeks in protest at their being held by Israel without charge,
under a procedure known as administrative detention.
Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahla, 33, have both gone 10 weeks
without food, sparking widespread concern among medical and legal
Hassan Safdi, 31, has gone 65 days on hunger strike, and Omar Abu
Shlal, who is in his late 40s, has been refusing food for 63 days.
The fifth detainee, Jaffar Ezzedine, has gone 48 days without eating.
The head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the Palestinian
territories Juan Pedro Schaerer called for all long-term hunger
strikers to be transferred "without delay to a suitable hospital so
that their condition can be continuously monitored."
And he issued an "urgent request" that Israel reverse a ban on family
visits for prisoners on hunger strike.
Diab was transferred last week to a nearby civilian hospital called
Assaf HaRofeh, but the other four are being held in the infirmary
wing of Ramle prison near Tel Aviv, with Physicians for Human Rights-
Israel expressing concern they were not receiving adequate medical
On Tuesday, PHR-Israel spokeswoman Amani Daeef told AFP that the
prison service was refusing to allow Diab´s family access to him,
saying his condition was "not that severe that he required a family
"There is no such thing as a health condition that is not severe
enough to require a family visit and according to international and
Israeli laws, every patient has the right to see his family."
She also criticised the failure to move all the long-term hunger
strikers to civilian hospitals.
"After 45 days, the fear always comes from sudden surprises like
heart attacks or organ failure, so they need constant care and
monitoring in a civilian hospital," she said.
The EU statement reiterated its opposition to Israel´s use of
administrative detention under which suspects can be held without
charge indefinitely, for renewable periods of up to six months.
"Detainees have the right to be informed of the reasons for their
detention and be subject to a fair trial without undue delay," the
"The EU is also following closely the ongoing hunger strike by
several hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, and calls for the full
respect of international human rights obligations towards all
Three weeks ago, the hunger strikers were joined by another 1,200
detainees who began refusing food to demand better conditions. That
number has now grown to approximately 1,600 prisoners.
The Palestinian cabinet in Ramallah on Tuesday called for the
international community "to immediately intervene to rescue the
prisoners... and force the Israeli government to respond to their
just demands which form the minimum of their natural and humanitarian
rights," a statement said. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse.
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