The ongoing hunger strike by Palestinian detainees entered its 46th day on June 8 and became the longest running collective hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners. The strike started in April by prisoners being held under Israel’s system of Administrative Detention.
Administrative Detention is Israel’s policy of holding Palestinian detainees without charge or access to legal defence for indefinitely renewable periods of up to 6 months.
Since the hunger strike began, it has spread widely among Palestinian detainees across various prisons where they are held.
Few issues hold greater sway in the Palestinian street than the prisoners’ case; and solidarity actions that began when the strike broke out are intensifying across the 1967 occupied lands as well as among Palestinian citizens of Israel. These include protests, political public art performances and solidarity tents.
Day 46 of the hunger strike was marked with a national strike across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ramallah’s bustling city centre was brought to an economic standstill as all shops were closed down for the day. It was followed on June 9 with three simultaneous demonstrations which converged on Yasser Arafat Square for a large rally.
Israel is currently attempting to pass legislation through the Knesset in order to begin force feeding hunger strikers despite firm rejection by the Israel Medical Association. In its declaration on hunger strikers, the World Medical Association has also firmly stated: ‘Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable.’