Jerusalem, 15 Rabiul Akhir 1434/25 February 2013 (MINA) – Thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails rejected meals on Sunday to protest against an inmate’s death a day earlier, local media reported.
The one-day hunger strike came as thousands of Palestinians are assembling for demonstrations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, according to the Middle East Monitor (MEMO and Xinhua reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Monday morning..
The inmate named Arafat Jaradat, 30, died less than a week after he was arrested from his home in one of the almost-daily raids conducted by the Israeli army in the West Bank.
Israel said Jaradat was not on hunger strike and died of an apparent heart attack, asking Palestinian representatives and Jaradat’s relatives to attend the autopsy.
However, Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs, Eissa Qaraqe, demanded an international investigation into the detention, the questioning and the death of Jaradat.
Jaradat’s death angered Palestinians who have been protesting for several days to support the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, especially the four prisoners, who have been on a hunger strike for months and demanded an end to their administrative detention, in which they could be locked up for long period without a trail.
Jaradat’s death sparks off the fire on Sa’ir town north of Hebron, which is Jaradat’s home town.
Palestinians protest in Ramallah’s central square, showing their outrage over Jaradat, a father of two children, death.
A Palestinian campaigner for prisoners’ rights in Israeli jails, Abdul-Nasser Ferwaneh, ruled out on Sunday the possibility that the detainee, Arafat Jaradat, passed away on Saturday because of a heart attack.
Ferwaneh said that Mr Arafat Jaradat was detained several days ago and had been subjected to severe torture on charges of taking part in ‘anti-Israeli activities.’ Even after his ill-treatment, he was denied proper medical treatment.
The protest move came one day after Israeli officials alleged Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old father of two, had died of cardiac arrest in Israel’s Magiddo prison.
Reports also say the Israeli occupation forces have been put on high alert for possible demonstrations by Palestinians over Jaradat’s death.
The chairman of the West Bank-based Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, an association that supports Palestinians in Israeli prisons, rejected claims by Israeli authorities that Jaradat had suffered from various health problems prior to his arrest.
Jaradat did not suffer from any illness, said Qadoura Fares said on Saturday, adding, “Israel was responsible for his life.”
Jaradat was arrested on February 18 on suspicion of being involved in hurling stones at Israeli soldiers.
Jaradat, 30, was from Sa’eer neighborhood in Hebron. He died on Saturday evening in Israel’s Majeddo prison from what the media claims was a heart attack.
Immediately after his death, the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported a prison source saying that the deceased prisoner suffered a heart attack and paramedics unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him.
Upon hearing about his death, Palestinians in West Bank cities took to streets in protest. Fierce clashes erupted with the Israeli occupation forces, who tried to close down the security checkpoints between the Palestinian cities.
The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) blamed Jaradat’s death on Israel’s maltreatment of Palestinian prisoners in its jails.
Member of Hamas political bureau, Izzat Al Reshq, said that Israeli is completely responsible for his death. “He died as a result of Israeli maltreatment and severe torture;” Al Reshq tweeted on Saturday evening.
With Jaradat’s death, the number of Palestinian fatalities in Israeli jails has now reached 203. According to Ferwaneh, 71 died under severe torture; 51 died from poor medical treatment or incorrect drug prescriptions; 74 were victims of pre-meditated murder and seven were shot to death inside their cells. Seven prisoners have died in Majeddo prison.
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike
Meanwhile, Thousands of Palestinian prisoners have launched a one-day hunger strike in protest at the death of a Palestinian inmate in an Israeli jail.
“About 3,000 prisoners announced that they would refuse meals,” Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said on Sunday.
More than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial. Four of these prisoners– Ayman Sharawneh, Samer al-Issawi, Jaafar Ezzedine, and Tareq Qaa’dan — have been on hunger strike for months.
Scores of Palestinian prisoners had died in Israeli captivity such as Raed Abu Hammad in 2010 or shortly after their release the latest being Ashraf Al-Masalama in early 2013.
Call For International Inquiry
Palestinian Authority’s Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqea on Saturday called for an international investigation into the death of the Palestinian inmate.
“Israeli government hold total responsibility for the death of my brother” said Sa’ad Jaradat, brother of Araft Jaradat, the Palestinian detainee who died yesterday inside Israeli jail.
Jaradat demanded to form international Inquiry Committee compiled from World Health Organization, international Committee Red Cross and Ministry of Detainees to examine the body and conduct an autopsy.
“Arafat was in good health before he was arrested on 18 February 2012” his uncle Mousa Jaradat said.
“He was taken directly to al-Jalama Prison instead of being taken as usual to the nearest interrogation center. He spent four days in al-Jalama and then transferred to Megido prison, where he died”, he added. (T/P02/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)