Hunger Strike Challenges Oppression and Racism while Defending Justice
Since its occupation of the West Bank, including the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, Israel, the occupying power, has been deliberately and systematically exercising administrative detention against thousands of Palestinian civilians. For that purpose the government of Israel has passed a set of illegal discriminating laws and legislations in order to justify its violations of the rights of Palestinian detainees and cover up for its illegal practices against them. Illegal practices include, inter alia, torture, arrest of children, undocumented investigations, forced feeding of detainees holding a hunger strike and deprivation of proper education. Obviously these practices violate international humanitarian laws.
Israel exercises administrative detention against all segments of the Palestinian society including children, young men and women, the elderly, members of the Legislative Council, ministers, unionists, journalists, lawyers, writers and students. All these segments are brought to trial before military courts that collude with the occupying political regime in order to break down the strong determination of the Palestinian people to resist.
The open hunger strike is one form of confrontation and passive resistance that Palestinian brave detainees in Israeli jails have espoused in response to arbitrary administrative detention. The hunger strike is a challenge to injustice and racism as well as a struggle for safeguarding the humanitarian rights of detainees. For several decades Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails have held hungers strikes as a means to ensure that their human rights are secured and observed.
Today detainees Mohammad al-Balboul, Mahmoud al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi are threatened with death as a result of the hunger strike they launched in protest of Israeli oppressive measures against Palestinian detainees.
The leadership and people of Palestine call on all Palestinians at home and in the diaspora to express solidarity with our detainees as they launch their hunger strike and support their righteous demands including freedom. The battle of the Palestinian detainees is the battle of all Palestinians everywhere.
Profiles of three Palestinian detainees: Mohammad al-Balboul, Mahmoud al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi:1
Mohammad al-Baloul, 25, from Bethlehem
- Israel assassinated the father of Mohammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul in 2008 and afterwards Mohammad was placed under administrative detention for 14 months at the age of 17. In 2008 Mohammad spent 2 months in solitary confinement and as a result of the poor health condition in the cell he contracted a skin disease.
- Mohammad studied medicine in Egypt and one year ago he opened his own clinic. He used to provide families of detainees with health care.
- In April 2016 the Israeli occupying forces arrested Mahmoud’s younger sister Nouran al-Balboul after she had quarreled with an Israeli soldier at a military checkpoint. She was later sentenced to 4 months in jail.
- Israeli investigators threatened Nouran to arrest all the members of her family in order to put pressure on her.
- Israel arrested Mohammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul on 9 June 2016 and placed them under administrative detention. Mahmoud’s mother and her daughter Nouran spent the holy month of Ramadan alone after the arrest of Mohammad and Mahmoud.
- Israel sentenced Mohammad to 6 months and Mahmoud to 5 months in administrative detention.
Mahmoud al-Balboul, 22, from Bethlehem
- Mahmoud studied psychology in Al-Istiqlal University and before he arrest he was doing his MA in Israeli studies. He is a First Lieutenant and works at the Political Guidance Office in Bethlehem.
- Mahmoud is known for his lightheartedness and he insisted at the moment of his arrest to take a selfie picture with his mother.
- Mahmoud stared his hunger strike on 4 July while his brother Mohammad started his hunger strike on 7 July in protest of their administrative detention. After the hunger strike the prison administration moved the two brothers to separate solitary confinement cells which lacked natural lighting and ventilation. Israeli prison officers physically attacked the two brothers and caused them injuries. As a result, Mahmoud was transferred to a clinic in al-Ramla jail after losing the proper ability to walk. Now Mahmoud is detained at Asaf Harofe Hospital while his brother Mohammad is detained in Wolfson Hospital and his health condition is extremely serious.
Malilk al-Qadi, 20, from Bethlehem
- Malik is a student of Media and Communication in Al-Quds University. He has been on hunger strike since 15 July 2016.
- Malik was arrested two times. The first was time on 7 December 2015 and after his release he was arrested a second time for 43 days.
- Malik has 3 sisters and 3 brothers.
- The Israeli occupying authorities detain Malik in Wolfson Hospital and his health condition is rapidly deteriorating.
Our struggle to expose the Israeli illegal practices and bringing Israeli war criminals to justice before international courts especially the ICC are no shallow slogans. It is only a matter of time and eventually justice will prevail. The international community is called upon to intervene, deter the Israeli government and force it to comply with the rules of the International Law and Geneva Conventions. Israel is called upon to immediately release all Palestinian detainees unconditionally and end 60 dark years of military occupation.
- 1. Palestine Prisoner’s Club