The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs said in a statement on Sunday that the nine prisoners have been on hunger strike for the fifth consecutive day in protest at their indefinite, unfair and unexplained imprisonment at the hands of Israel, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.
The commission further called on international human rights organizations as well as local humanitarian institutions to take immediate action to put an end to the Israeli maltreatment of the hunger-striking detainees, including solitary confinement.
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are held under “administrative detention”, in which Israel keeps the detainees without charge for up to six months, a period which can be extended an infinite number of times. Women and minors are among those detainees.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detention. Palestinians hold Israeli authorities fully responsible for any deterioration of the circumstances in jails.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Over 350 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention.
The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as ‘secret’ evidence.
Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.
The Israeli parliament, Knesset, has already approved a law which made way for Israel’s prison officials to force-feed hunger strikers if their condition becomes life-threatening.
Critics say Israel uses the policy of “administrative detention” to silence the voices of Palestinians but lacks any concrete evidence that could be presented in an open, military court. Palestinians say administrative detention is a whole other level of injustice.
According to figures by the Defense for Children International, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children at the age of 12-17 are also arrested and tried in Israeli military courts every year. Israeli forces had arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000.