Over 200 websites are participating in a campaign which named Monday 17 December the Electronic Day to Support Palestinian Prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.
The campaign calls on people to share content to on social networking sites toRaise the voice of the prisoners on hunger strike “raise the voice of prisoners.”
The Waed Association for Prisoners and Liberated Prisoners called on people to support prisoners by providing financial and moral support to their families. In addition, it aimed to raise the profile of prisoners by organising protests and using the internet to inform people about them.
There are over 4,600 Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons, according to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. At the end of November there were 178 prisoners in administrative detention, according to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights.
Addameer defines administrative detention as, “a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.” Neither the prisoner nor their lawyers can view the information.
Helmy Al-A’araj, the director of the Ramallah based Center for the Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (Hurryyat), said, “administrative detention puts Palestinians – regardless of age or sex –behind bars for… up to seven or eight years.”
B’Tselem said international law places rigid restrictions on the use of administrative detention, which should only be used as a last resort. These restrictions are violated by Israel, according to the organisation.
One of the prisoners, Omar Barghouti, had his administrative detention renewed for the sixth time on Monday. Another prisoner, Ayman Sharawna, has been on hunger strike since 1 July. His 170 days without food are believed to be the longest hunger strike in history. Samer Al-Issawy’s hunger strike has lasted 139 days. Both hunger strikers are in Ramleh Prison Hospital Clinic in deteriorating health.
Al-A’araj said there were around 300 prisoners in administrative detention but some of them were released after they embarked on “heroic hunger strikes” earlier this year.
According to Al-A’araj, Israeli authorities began holding more people under administrative detention after the latest attacks on the Gaza strip in November. The arrest campaign included freed prisoners, such as Ja’far Ezz el Din who has been on hunger strike for over 20 days.
Al-A’raj believed that Israelis started arresting more people because Palestinians in the West Bank showed solidarity with their countrymen in Gaza. “The occupation did not like that,” he said.
He said Hurryyat is part of the electronic campaign but had supported the prisoners from before the campaign.
On Monday, a national press conference was held by Hurryyat, the Palestinian Red Cross and other organizations to show solidarity with ill prisoners. “We came up with many recommendations including asking Amnesty International and the United Nations for intervention to help them,” he said.
Overnight Sunday nine Palestinians in Ramallah and Nablus in the West Bank were arrested by Israeli forces. The arrested included the headmaster of a secondary school.
According to Ahrar Centre for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights, there are around 120 teachers in Israeli prisons.