Nearly 250 Palestinian prisoners inside Israel’s Negev prison have started an open ended Hunger Strike in protest against Israels policy of administrative detention. Nearly all who have been detained under this act have been Palestinian, bar a number of Jewish extremists who also found themselves at the end of administrative detention. Anyone who is held under this act can be held up to 6 months without charge or without being shown the evidence against them.
The last time prisoners took this kind of action en masse was back in April 2012 when over 2,000 prisoners took part in a hunger strike protesting against the very same thing the prisoners are today. After a deal had been reached in Egypt, the hunger strike was suspended on the 14th of May.
More recently, prisoner Mohammed Allaan, who has been on Hunger strike for nearly 70 days, only just opened his eyes after falling into a coma. As a result of Mohammed’s deteriorating health Israel have moved the Iron Dome missile defense system near the port city of Ashdod in fear that if the prisoner dies from his protest retaliation will be sought in the form of missiles from the Gaza strip.
Israel have used this act to suppress political activists that they see as a threat to the occupation. A report released in 2012 .‘Starved of justice: Palestinians detained without trial by Israel’ highlights the human rights abuses associated with administrative detention.
If an occupational commander deems it necessary they are able to hold anyone in detention indefinitely without charge for up to 96 hours before being brought before a judge. If after the 6 months detention the authorities may also renew the detention order indefinitely.
There is striking resemblance to what is happening here in Ireland with Internment of political prisoners – mainly Republican activists who have been held indefinitely without charge or without being shown the evidence which the state holds against them.
This action has time and time again been used to silence dissenting voices here in Ireland as well as in Palestine. The use of Hunger strike in protest also produces similarities to the situation in Ireland. The only difference with Amnesty’s analysis here is that Amnesty international fails to recognize the abuse of political prisoners in Ireland.