Israeli Brutality Against Palestinians Protesting in Solidarity with Hunger Strikers
by Stephen Lendman
Palestinians are arrested, detained and brutalized daily, thousands annually, on average 17 a day in 2016, according to the Addameer prisoner support group.
Women and young children are treated as brutally as adult males. Human rights workers, students, journalists and PA lawmakers are targeted.
In custody, they face cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment, their fundamental rights denied at all times.
On April 17 and succeeding days, up to 2,000 Palestinians began hunger striking for justice. Hundreds rallied in solidarity with their comrades.
Israeli security forces responded harshly, attacking them with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and physical beatings in flagrant violation of international law.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet.
A dozen or more others suffered from tear gas inhalation. Police photographed protesters, including relatives of imprisoned Palestinians. Arrests were made.
Demonstrators peacefully chanted: “With our souls, with our bloods, we you prisoners.” Other protestors across the West Bank and in East Jerusalem were attacked.
Punitive measures were imposed on hunger strikers, forcibly segregating them from other prisoners, taking their personal belongings and clothes, banning books, other reading material and television, numerous prisoners placed in punishing solitary confinement.
Force-feeding may be ordered in specially set up military field hospitals. Thousands of Palestinians rallied on Monday, fewer numbers on succeeding days.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi issued a statement, saying “the entire global community should be alarmed by Israel’s willful breach and devaluation of the rights and lives of Palestinian political prisoners, especially in regards to the imprisonment and ill-treatment of Palestinian men, women, children, and the elderly."
Palestinian Detainees’ Committee attorney Karim Ajwa said prisoners suffering from serious illnesses and diseases joined the hunger strike. They threatened to stop taking medications.
Appalling prison medical care got them to join with other hunger strikers for justice, risking their lives, greatly exacerbating their suffering.
Prison authorities escalated terror tactics, including violent strip searches, sleep deprivation and other ill-treatment amounting to torture.
Defense minister Avignor Lieberman urged taking tough measures against strikers, agreeing to none of their demands, ignoring their fundamental human rights.
The hunger strike begun Monday is open-ended. It could continue for days, weeks or longer.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.