Palestinians ask Red Cross to intervene in hunger strike

The Palestinian Authority has criticised Israel's refusal to talk to more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees who are on hunger strike against conditions in Israeli jails.

Meir Kahane's 1990 letter to the New York Times, in which he calls for the annexation and ethnic cleansing of the occupied Palestinian territories, was published two years after his party was disqualified from the Israeli elections on the grounds that he incited to racism and rejected the democratic foundation of the State of Israel.

Lieberman also called for the imprisonment of all Arab leaders in Israel who are in solidarity with the prisoners.

According to Palestinian medical sources, 20 Palestinians suffered temporary asphyxiation due to the excessive use of teargas by Israeli troops. She led her item by hyping that "Barghouti is an unusually popular political figure among Palestinians, especially for a man behind bars".

Shortly after the beginning of the hunger strike, thousands of Palestinian activists demonstrated in several cities to show their support to the inmates' cause.

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, but rarely on such a scale.

Around 1,500 Palestinian inmates are now refusing food, Issa Qaraqe, head of detainees' affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said.

Many have speculated that Barghouti is attempting to gain support and position himself to take over as the new leader of the Palestinian people, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is now 82-years-old and will soon need a replacement.

The hunger strike is being led by Palestinian leader and one of the most high-profile detainees Marwan Barghouti. Further, Barghouti's defiant refusal to accept the legitimacy of the Israeli court proceedings-an act of civil disobedience-is left unexplained.

Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails launched the strike last week in a move that coincided with a Barghouti op-ed in The New York Times titled "Why we are on hunger strike in Israel's prisons".

Although the hunger strike will have to prove its durability in the coming weeks, there are reasons to believe that something different is beginning to stir. A biographical sentence at the end of the Op-Ed simply says, "Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian". "We will never lose our sense of clarity because we are on the side of justice and they are on a side that is neither just nor moral".

Israeli officials have vowed not to negotiate with the hunger strikers, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday calling them 'terrorists and incarcerated murderers'. At times it happens that family members who are willing to meet their relatives do not reach in time or are not allowed to cross, resulting in a senseless psychological stress both for them and the detainees.

  • Kyle Peterson