In Palestine, 1,500 political prisoners nationwide reached the 40th day of their hunger strike “For Freedom and Dignity” protesting Israeli prisons’ inhumane living conditions.
Their demands include better medical treatment; reinstating bimonthly family visits; air conditioning; access to education; an end to solitary confinement, which is a direct violation of international law; and the eradication of torture and extended detention (referring to criminal detainment without charge or trial).
The prisoners are not alone in their fight. Palestinians from around the country rallied together, joining the strike, shutting down stores, marching in the streets armed with banners and crying out for justice.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned of the prisoners’ rapidly deteriorating health. Already 182 of the incarcerated have been transferred to local medical centers for immediate assistance.
"Israel's responsibility … is supposed to be even greater towards prisoners because incarceration is a condition that exposes the incarcerated person to violations of his/her rights to a greater degree than with non-incarcerated citizens and residents," Ran Yaron, a spokesperson for Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, told Al Jazeera reporters.
Surviving on saltwater alone, prisoners courageously struggle onward, continuing the fight which began on April 16. However, Akram Ayasa, spokesman for the Prisoners and Ex-prisoners Affairs Committee voiced his concerns over the strike to EFE Monday.
“The Israelis are not reacting positively ... We have addressed the (North) Americans because we need to have a response to the demands of the strikers," he said. "The situation is truly worrying.”
The United Nations has urged the state to resolve the issue quickly and the U.N. Committee Against Torture has warned Israel not resort to force-feeding prisoners as they have with past hunger strikes as it amounts to torture.
According to UN Special Rapporteur, Dainius Pûras,"Under no circumstance will force-feeding of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike comply with human rights standards."
Among the incarcerated, the political prisoners include 300 minors, 12 officials, and 28 journalists, according to ANP.