Protesters Call for UN Action outside Ramallah Office

A group of protesters blocked the entrance to the United Nations office in Ramallah Wednesday morning, slamming the UN for not intervening to save hunger-striking prisoners.

Around 50 Palestinian youth began the sit-in outside the UN compound at 9 a.m., carrying banners accusing the UN of collusion with Israeli government policies.

Protesters told Ma’an they would remain until 5 p.m. to disrupt a full day’s work, and will continue the action until the UN takes a stand against Israel’s violation of international law.

Aqsan Barghouthi said the sit-in was the first in a series of planned non-violent activities against international organizations in Palestine.

"We are highlighting the importance of implementing all the prisoners’ demands, especially as some hunger-strikers have now reached a dangerous medical condition," she said.

A group of youth activists called Palestinians for Dignity sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, urging him to take a "firm and vocal position in opposition to Israel’s abuse and violation of Palestinian prisoners’ rights."

The letter added: "We note with disappointment your silence ever since this protest movement began in December 2011 with Khader Adnan’s arbitrary arrest and subsequent hunger strike."

"This stands in stark contrast to your vocal and persistent remarks in support of formerly incarcerated Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit."

Adnan reached a deal for his release after 66 days on hunger strike. On Monday, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected appeals against the administrative detention of two men on hunger-strike for 71 days, Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab.

In Nablus, the chairman of a committee for defending Palestinian refugees, Hussam Khader, on Wednesday applauded President Mahmoud Abbas’ earlier vow to take the case of Palestinian prisoners to the United Nations.

“Such a step has great importance and (will play a) key role in de-escalating all Israeli practices since prisoners on hunger strike have entered a dangerous medical stage”, Khader said.

He called on the Palestinian government to follow up with the prisoners with the assistance of Arab, Israeli and international legal assistance.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails joined a group of hunger-strikers on April 17 protesting detention without charge. Around 2,000 are now taking part in the strike, rights groups say.

(Ma’an)

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