Israel Reneges on Hunger Striker Deal
by Stephen Lendman
Israel’s agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
Rogue states don’t deal. They demand. They lie. They cheat. They betray. They’re intolerant of justice and other democratic values.
On May 14, Egyptian and Palestinian representatives said Israel accepted prisoner demands in exchange for ending weeks of hunger striking.
Israel would make specific accusations or release administrative detainees when their terms expired.
Solitary confinement would end within 72 hours. All detainees were included.
Family visit bans would end. The punitive Shalit Law imposing them would be revoked.
Overall draconian prison conditions would improve. Details were lacking. So were assurances that deal terms would hold.
Straightaway they were violated. Administrative detentions were extended. Solitary confinement continues. So do torture and other abuses.
Gazan detainees were transferred to where family members can’t visit. Gulag conditions remain draconian.
Prisoners should have known that negotiating with a snake assures being bitten.
Now they’re back to square one. Perhaps hundreds or more will resume striking. It’s their only way to get world attention. Doing it, of course, risks their health, well-being, and lives.
It also means detainees freed may be rearrested. It’s standard Israeli practice.
On June 21, Addameer headlined “Urgent: Hunger striker’s administrative detention order renewed in violation of recent agreement,” saying:
Addameer lawyer Fares Ziad confirmed that Hassan Safadi “re-launched his hunger strike and is currently being held in solitary punishment.”
He’s likely being beaten and punished other ways. Israel’s gulag matches the world’s worst in harshness.
Safadi refused food for 71 days before ingesting food. He risked his life for justice. It brought him more pain.
He was promised release. Instead, Israel ordered his lawless administrative detention extended another six months. Indefinite renewals may follow.
He’s uncharged and untried. He committed no crimes. He’s held for political reasons like thousands of other Palestinians.
While on strike, he “was subjected to severe ill-treatment by Israeli prison authorities….”
He was restrained and forcefully injected with unknown substances. Doing so violates fundamental medical ethics.
Adopted by the World and Israeli Medical Associations, the Malta Declaration states:
“Physicians need to satisfy themselves that food or treatment refusal is the individual’s voluntary choice. Hunger strikers should be protected from coercion.”
“Physicians can often help to achieve this and should be aware that coercion may come from the peer group, the authorities or others, such as family members.”
“Physicians or other health care personnel may not apply undue pressure of any sort on the hunger striker to suspend the strike. Treatment or care of the hunger striker must not be conditional upon suspension of the hunger strike.”
When Hassan resumed eating, he was in critical condition. During his hunger strike, he was severely beaten. He sustained injuries.
Israeli prison doctors refused treatment. Independent physicians were denied permission to see him.
He’s been imprisoned for nearly a year uncharged. Extending his term another six months blatantly violates agreement terms. Addameer fears he’ll resume striking and risk death. He’s extremely frail and can’t tolerate much more.
Addameer also believes this breach means others will follow. Hundreds of hunger strikers will be betrayed.
Numerous other violations already occurred. Others will follow. Striker Dirar Abu Sisi remains isolated. He wasn’t returned to the general prison population as promised. Another Palestinian was also placed in solitary confinement.
Israel promised to end the practice. It’s ordered punitively for revenge.
Five weeks after May 14 terms were finalized, Addameer sees “no change in Israel’s overall administrative detention policy” and other draconian practices.
They’ll continue without sustained worldwide pressure to end them.
A Final Comment
On June 22, the Palestine News Network headlined “178 International Decisions in Condemnation of Israel’s Mistreatment of Palestinian Prisoners,” saying:
June 26 is International Day against Torture. It denounces the practice. It honors victims. It also supports them and survivors worldwide.
A Detainees and Ex-Detainees Society report “reveal(s) that (Israeli authorities continue to) tortur(e) Palestinian prisoners and humiliat(e) them.”
It deprives them of their humanity and dignity. It’s not for interrogation purposes. Men, women and young children are abused. Israel makes no distinction.
Photos show Israeli authorities “appear happy and proud of their handiwork.”
“The International Day against Torture addresses the physical and psychological torture used continuously by the Israeli interrogators….”
“(I)mmediate intervention” is urgently needed to “condemn (these) crimes….in serious violation of international humanitarian law.”
Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees society, Issa Qaraqe, called on UN authorities “to declare that Israel is not a state above the international humanitarian law, and to withdraw its membership from the UN because it hasn’t respected the human rights law and the UN conventions, which were the main reason to for accepting Israel as member state in the UN.”
He said 178 previous UN resolutions and “decisions” condemned Israeli practices since 1967.
Israel doesn’t observe its international law obligations. It’s gotten away with murder, torture, and other abuses for decades.
In response, he wants long overdue punishments ordered. Getting them is another matter entirely.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.