Some 250 Palestinian administrative detainees being held in Israel’s Negev prison on Tuesday began an open-ended hunger strike to protest their internment without trial or charge.
A representative of the prisoners told Ma'an that Israel uses the policy of administrative detention "to coerce the Palestinians and deprive them of their life."
The mass hunger strike comes as Palestinians across both the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel have rallied in support of Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Allan, a 31-year-old lawyer from southern Nablus who has been on hunger strike for more than 60 days.
The lawyer, who on Friday slipped into a coma, also undertook his hunger strike to protest his administrative detention.
There are currently approximately 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in the Negev prison, 250 of whom are being held in administrative detention.
At the end of June, there were a total of 370 Palestinians being held in administrative detention, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem.
The prisoners' representative in the Negev jail told Ma'an that the hunger strike would go on "until Israel’s policy of administrative detention comes to an end."
He added that prisoners are adamant in continuing to struggle and urging the "world and the Palestinian community in particular" to support prisoners in their fight.
Administrative detainees are community leaders, lecturers, doctors, lawyers, and students, among others, he said.
He pointed in particular to Nidal Abu Akar, from Duheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem, a leader from the leftist movement, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who has served a total of nine years in administrative detention.
Israeli forces usually release him for a few weeks or months, he said, then they detain him again for a year or two without trial under administrative detention.
"This time we declare a real Intifada so as to cancel the military law called administrative detention," the representative said.
"We are not asking to be released or to have our sentences reduced, but rather we are asking to completely stop administrative detentions."
There has been wide unrest in Israel's southern prisons in recent days, with Palestinian prisoners declaring campaigns of disobedience and hunger strikes to protest their treatment at the hands of the Israeli Prison Service.