On April 17, 1,500 Palestinian prisoners announced a hunger strike to protest against the Israeli policy of incarceration with no trial and the horrendous, inhumane conditions in Israeli prisons and in order to shed light on the degrading standards in said prisons. Across six Israeli jails, the fast, which is led by Marwan Barghouti will continue until the striking prisoners attain their rights and demands regarding the prison’s conditions, which have reached now reached a new low.
Apart from the “abuse cages”, some examples of the state of these degrading standards in question, include: ‘Rasmea Odeh‘, whose father was “ordered to rape her” in the prison’s interrogation room as she was “chained naked to the wall” and when he subsequently refused this disgusting and demeaning order she was instead “raped with a wooden rod until she bled and fainted”. ‘Arafat Jaradat’, who “died six days after being arrested by Israeli intelligence”, due to the “physical torture” and abuse the prison put him through during interrogation; although the “Israelis maintain he died of cardiac arrest” an autopsy displayed that Jaradat had “six broken bones in his neck, spine, arms and legs”, lacerated lips and a bruised face. ‘Aisha Odeh‘ who was also “raped with a wooden rod” along with being “physically beaten” and “showered with cold water” during her interrogation, and finally ‘Ahmed Manasra‘, a 13 year old, was found — after a disturbing video was leaked — to have suffered “extreme psychological and verbal abuse” during his interrogation, as the Israeli interrogator screamed and bellowed derogatory insults at the young, distressed child while simultaneously “accusing him of murder”.
Although Israel claims that the hunger strike (which consists of prisoners merely drinking water and eating salt to stop their bodies from shutting down) is not due to the standards in the prison, but instead a political motive to strengthen Marwan Barghouti’s position, these unsettling cases prove otherwise and that Israeli prisons are in need of a massive renovation on all fronts to form better standards, rights, incarceration policies and, clearly, guards for not only for the prisoners’ safety but also for basic human rights for said prisoners. It’s simply inhumane and barbaric that these incidents are allowed to not only occur but for there to be little to no subsequent repercussions on the guard’s who did this; it’s as if this outrageous treatment is viewed as “the norm” in these prisons, which is almost as frightening as the actual treatment.
Now reaching its fourth week, the hunger strike has received little to no mass media attention meaning that, essentially, no changes in the prison have been made and standards for these prisoners have remained inhumane. And when they do receive media attention, it’s because Pizza Hut is belittling and demeaning not only the strike but the leader for a witty ad. Palestinians are choosing to deprive themselves of food -just a few weeks before the mass Muslim fasting festival ‘Ramadan’ — just to attain basic human rights and decency while in prison and whether or not you support Palestine, you should inhibit the fundamental human emotion of sympathy towards these people. People. Not prisoners, people. This is how people are being treated under Israeli ‘care’, so should feel some sort of human obligation to help, but also to not ignore the story instead inflate it so it receives the media attention it deserves and the prisoners achieve the fundamental human rights they are entitled to.
(Side note: if you would like to help Palestine in other ways, here are some links: to donate to the “Palestinian Solidarity Campaign” and to the “Human Appeal Campaign”)