Alwaght– Over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners languishing in notorious Israeli regime jails, in a battle of wills, launched a hunger strike on 17 April to protest against Israeli violations including torture, medical negligence and administrative detention.
The hunger strike which commenced on the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day was launched to achieve a series of demands, including an end to the denial of family visits, the right to education, appropriate medical care for Palestinian prisoners and an end to solitary confinement and “administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.
The strike is indeed a historic act of defiance that is shaking the Israeli Apartheid regime to its core as it faces increased international isolation over its atrocities.
Last year Tel Aviv surrendered in the face of heroic resistance by Sheikh Adnan affiliated to the Islamic Jihad movement of Palestine who was one of the high profile prisoners held in the regime’s notorious detention centers. After 55 days of hunger strike, he was eventually freed. We are currently witness to another hunger strike by more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners.
The Israeli regime currently holds over 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners, 500 of whom are held without charge or trial under indefinitely renewable administrative detention orders issued by a military court.
Marwan Barghouti who has been incarcerated by the Israeli regime for 15 years is leading this new wave of hunger strike whose participants include members of Palestinian liberation and resistance movements such as Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others.
Palestinians unite in the face of adversity
This is a unique show of unity among various Palestinian factions in the face of adversity and they can build on this newfound solidarity to sustain pressure and resist Israeli regime until the eventual and inevitable liberation of Palestine. If there is one cause that has managed to bring Palestinians together in recent years, it has proven to be the prisoners’ struggle.
The fact that this hunger strike is led by Marwan Bargouthi a senior member of Palestinian Authority, which has been holding talks with the Israeli regime, is of importance. He is one of the major opponents of Mahmoud Abbas who leads the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority. Bargouthi has on several occasions accused Abbas of collaborating with the Israeli regime in a bid to end the hunger strike.
Zionist media outlets have warned that Bargouthi is increasingly being transformed from a so-called moderate figure to a resistance leader.
The Israeli regime has previously faced solo hunger strikes by prisoners and caved in to their demands or was compelled to free them, thus losing the battle of wills. However, the Tel Aviv regime is now facing an unprecedented situation with thousands Palestinians on hunger strike thus sending shivers in Tel Aviv.
Israeli Regime War Minister Avigdor Lieberman had previously proposed that this regime adopts policies of ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in dealing with prisoners on hunger strike. That policy entails avoiding any talks with the hunger strikers until they die. Thatcher used this policy following the hunger strike by imprisoned leaders of the Irish Republican Army in 1981 when London rejected talks leading to the death of ten prisoners on hunger strike.
The Palestinian prisoner’s strategy of using battle of the wills is a major challenge to the Israeli regime as the hunger strike is now growing and gaining popularity. Tel Aviv is in a quandary on how to counter the effective battle of the wills which has become and effective weapon by Palestinians.
International Support for Palestinians
Meanwhile, the battle of wills against the Israeli regime is going global with a group of students at Manchester University joining the hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.
Their action comes as students’ unions across the Britain face growing scrutiny over the lawfulness of their anti-Israel stance. In support of the actions in Palestine and the hunger strikers’ ongoing struggle, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network has called for organizing actions from 27-30 April 2017 internationally. Events and actions are scheduled in major cities across Europe and North America in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in this decisive battle of wills.