Five Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Negev jail on Saturday continued a hunger strike they began on August 18 to protest their internment without trial or charge, the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said.
Fadi Obeidat, a lawyer for the PA committee, met with some of the hunger strikers Saturday and said that they were demanding an end to Israel’s policy of administrative detention.
The Negev jail — also known as the Ktz’iot prison — is one of Israel’s largest detention centers and has been site to frequent tensions between administrative detainees and prison personnel in recent months.
He said that they are giving the Israeli authorities until September 1 to respond to their demand, after which point they threatened to stop taking “fluids.” He did not specify whether this referred to liquids with sodium and nutrients, or water as well.
The hunger strikers also told Obeidat that more administrative detainees plan to join their hunger strike after September 1 if the Israeli Prison Service has not responded to their demand.
The hunger strikers were identified as Nidal Abu Aker, Shadi Maali, Ghassan Zawahreh, Badra al-Ruzza, and Munir Abu Sharar.
Nidal Abu Aker, from Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, told Obeidat that they rejected Israeli’s policy of administrative detention policy and a recently passed Israeli law allowing force-feeding. He said that they were demanding the release of all administrative detainees.
Abu Aker has been held in administrative detention since June 28, 2014, but has spent a total of nine years of his life in administrative detention.
Abu Aker said that the hunger strikers were also boycotting Israeli administrative courts.
He said that they refuse to take any vitamins or medical tests, despite Abu Aker suffering from blood pressure issues and a stomach ulcer.
Abu Aker called for support for administrative detainees in their fight against Israel’s administrative detention policy and courts.
Administrative detention allows for internment without trial or charge for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely. The policy has been strongly criticized by the international community as well as both Israeli and Palestinian rights activists.
Many Palestinians have gone on hunger strike to protest the practice, and earlier this month, Israel agreed to suspend the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Allan following a 66-day hunger strike that raised fears Israeli authorities would force feed him.
In July, another Palestinian prisoner, Khader Adnan, was released after a 56-day hunger strike to protest his administrative detention that brought him close to death.
It was the second time Adnan had gone on hunger strike against the policy, after a 66-day hunger strike in 2012 that also led to his release.
Administrative detainees are allowed to appeal to the courts, The Prisoners’ Center for Studies, a prisoner rights group, found that 85 percent of all administrative detentions are renewed.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 400 Palestinians were being held in administrative detention as of July.