Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Palestinian Prisoners Day: inmates launch 'battle of empty stomachs'

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -- At least 1,200 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched an open-ended hunger strike on Tuesday, upping the stakes in a protest movement that has put Israel under pressure.

Israel has already struck deals with two Palestinian detainees this year after they staged prolonged hunger strikes and 10 other inmates have been refusing to take food in an ad-hoc campaign that has gathered unexpected momentum.

Hundreds more joined the so-called "battle of empty stomachs" on Tuesday to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners' Day, when both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip stage mass rallies in support of some 4,800 prisoners who are held in Israeli prisons.

"I am afraid for the life of my son. I am afraid for all their lives. All the prisoners are as dear to me as my son is," said Gaza resident Zbaida Al-Masri, adding that her son, Yusri, was serving a 20-year-term for fighting against Israel.

The Israeli prisons' authority said 2,300 prisoners had announced they would reject their daily meal on Tuesday, while 1,200 indicated they were launching a formal hunger strike. more

'Flytilla' activists on hunger strike for Palestinian Prisoners Day

Detained activists from 'Welcome to Palestine' flytilla campaign, have begun a hunger strike in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike for Palestinian Prisoners Day.

Organisers of the 'Welcome to Palestine'flytilla, which is currently in it's third year, stated on Monday that the activists were hunger striking "in solidarity with the April 17 Palestinian Prisoners' Day on one hand and to renew the demand for their basic right to move freely in the occupied West Bank, especially to Bethlehem." more