Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners started a hunger strike Sunday morning at three Israeli jails in a bid to improve their condition.
In reaction to theeir strike, the Israeli authorities imposed further restrictions Sunday. They removed radios and television sets from jail cells, did not distribute newspapers, canceled family visits and stopped selling cigarettes, Haaretz reported.
Some 4,000 Palestinian prisoners announced about two weeks ago their intention to open the hunger strike to back their demand for a number of privileges that have either been restricted or taken away by Israel's Prisons Service.
The prisoners are demanding public telephones in their cell blocks, the removal of glass partitions separating them from visiting relatives and an end to what they call "intrusive" body searches.
Meanwhile, Hamas described the prisoners’ hunger strike as a great step that was launched to challenge the Israeli "oppression" represented in the daily humiliations, strip searches, visit deprivation, reducing quantity of meals, denying medical treatment and other practices that could be only "perpetrated by non-humans."
The statement said that the prisoners’ bitter struggle and ferocious battle were part and parcel of the Palestinian people’s Jihad and sincere struggle to rid the homeland of such a detestable occupation and to realize independence and freedom.
On its part, the Palestinian Mizan center for human rights has asked the international community to immediately pressure Israel into meeting the detainees’ demands.
The center’s statement affirmed that the Israeli prisons authority was exercising various penal measures against the prisoners that made their lives inside those detention centers like "hell."
The center declared its wholehearted solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and asked the international community to immediately intervene and demand the minimum limits of treatment of prisoners in accordance with international norms and to seek their swift release. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )