Al-Quds (Jerusalem), 11 Rabiul Akhir 1434 H/21 February 2013 (MINA) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern about the dire conditions of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails, particularly Samer al-Issawi.
“The secretary general is deeply concerned over the rapidly deteriorating condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike,” said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky on Tuesday, according to Press TV reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Thursday.
Singling out al-Issawi’s case, the spokesman said the UN chief called for a solution to the plight of Palestinians as well as the implementation of the rights of the prisoners’ visiting families.
Al-Issawi, 33, was arrested in July 2012 only months after being released as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas. He has been on hunger strike since August 2012 to protest against his administrative detention.
“Of particular concern are the detainees held in administrative detention without charges,” Nesirky added.
Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.
“Those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released,” the UN spokesman added. “The secretary general urges for a solution to be reached without delay in order to resolve the prisoners’ plight and preserve calm.”
On Tuesday, some 800 Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike to show solidarity with other Palestinian prisoners who have been on a prolonged hunger strike in Israeli jails.
Moreover, thousands of Palestinian protesters staged demonstrations in the West Bank to show support for the hunger-striking prisoners.
On February 16, EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton said in a statement that the European Union was following “with concern reports about the deteriorating health condition” of hunger-strikers Ayman Sharawneh, Samer al-Issawi, Jaafar Ezzedine, and Tareq Qaa’dan, who are in Israeli prisons.
Arab League holds Israel responsible
Meanwhile the Arab League, in a press statement issued yesterday, has announced that it holds Israel fully responsible for the lives of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger-strike and demanded their immediate release.
The League also called on international human rights organizations to support the prisoners, intensify efforts to eliminate injustice, and exert the utmost pressure for their release.
The statement reaffirmed their opposition to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and emphasized the need for a full withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 4, 1967.
On the case of the hunger-striker, Samer Al Issawi, and his colleagues, the League said it embodies the injustice, oppression and treachery of the State of Israel; which requires a concerted international intervention.
It noted that Al Issawi and his colleagues resorted to hunger-strike in protest against the oppression of the occupying power; its breach of signed agreements and violation of international humanitarian law, conventions and treaties. (T/P015/P08/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)