Something that should be discussed is the question of why Israel is responsible if prisoners refuse to eat. as long as food is provided, if the prisoners choose not to eat it, well, that is and ought to be their problem.
I do not think any fair minded person would blame Israel for someone who decided not to eat. However that is NOT the main point here.
The real question is how Israel just goes out and round up people like cattle and put them in prison. How they are treated and torturted by simply wanting to live in freedom from occupation.
The way non-Jews are treated is simply abusive and disturbing.
How indeed are non-Jews treated?
Are random Arabs being "rounded up" and imprisoned? Have these people been tortured? You are making some extreme and unsubstantiated allegations. It is simple libel.
First of all, no one is rounded up. Even in cases of administrative detention, there is a significant connection with a crime - usually, individuals are arrested whe there are significant reasons to assume that they are involved in illegal, often clandestine activity. It's not a particularly democratic practice - it originated with the British and remained on the Israeli law books. And it is used against Jews as well - usually the extreme right, when there is suspicion that they are planning something violent. The information comes from intelligence work, and the claim is that a formal criminal indictment would mean revealing sources. I am uncomfortable with this practice.
The prisoners have access to medical care. This is not the issue. They are using a hunger strike to gain political power.
I don't think that this is a moral position - suicide, quick or gradual, is not morally acceptable. But in some cases, especially if we are talking about terrorists, I don't really care.
I can understand that Arabs feel that they are being ruled over by others against their will, and want their own state. There are any number of non-violent methods of protest - and ostensibly, the PA is involved in peace negotiations to change the status-quo. Oh I forgot - they won't sit down at the table to negotiate until Israel gives them what they want......
It is disengenuous to speak of non-violent protest when the Arabs have chosen terror as their main mans of achieving their goals.
>>>>>> Nope. You can read reports from number of international human rights organizations. Starting from Amnesty international to Beit Shalom (An Israeli outfit).
PA simply asked Israel to STOP stealing more lands (i.e settlement process) from west Bank and gaza as pre-condition to peace talks. These illigal take over of land is a basic "Right issue". Not unreasonable at all. At least the common Arabs need to SEE talk works in SOME cases. At the end of the day occupied has to end and viable states have to be in place to ensure security of both Israelis and Palestinians. One sides colonial style dictations will bring NOTHING to Israel.
By way of background on the specifics of the hunger strike, Al Jazeera reports that the prisoners' principal demands are an end to administrative detention, an end to solitary confinement, and the reinstatement of family visits from Gaza. Other demands include being allowed to take a photo with their families once a year, instead of just once during their prison terms.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the director of the human rights group Al-Haq states that the prison service has "responded harshly" to the strike by placing prisoners in solitary confinement, issuing daily fines of 500 shekels ($132 AUD), denying electricity supplies, and conducting random cell and body searches. "Prisoners are calling for humanitarian treatment and basic human rights,'' the director said.
The Herald also reports that a spokesperson for the Israeli prison service states that the service has a committee "that is going from prison to prison to discuss the prisoners' concerns. We will tell them soon about our decision.''
Al Jazeera reports that Israel's position on administrative detention is that it's used to hold Palestinians who pose an immediate threat to the country's security. Israel's postion on why evidence for a given prisoner's detention is kept secret from lawyers and the accused is that releasing such evidence would expose intelligence-gathering networks.
Al Jazeera also observes that the prisoners' conditions is one of the most emotional issues for Palestinians, many of whom have had a loved one behind bars at some point. The Herald reports that about 320 Palestinians are currently in administrative detention and that 24 of these are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. I don't know how many of these prisoners are on hunger strike.
Al Jazeera also reports that leading members of Hamas have warned Israel of consequences if any prisoners die while on hunger strike.
Amnesty International issued an urgent call for action with respect to the hunger strikes of Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahleh, who are today on Day 69 of their hunger strikes, Hassan Safadi, Omar Abu Shalal, Ja’afar Izz al-Din, and Mahmoud al-Sarsak.
According to Amnesty international, each of these 6 prisoners are under imminent threat of death.
In response to the call for action of Amnesty, I prepared the letter below and emailed it to Israeli officials Amnesty International requested letters be submitted to (except Israeli Prison Services, for which no email address was provided), as well as on my own initiative sending this letter to each member of The Knesset (this process is almost complete).
This is my letter (as emailed to Knesset members) prepared in response to Amnesty International's call for action, to try to help to save the lives of these six men:
"I am forwarding you an email I sent to PM Netanyahu this morning, and I want to try to ensure all members of The Knesset know about these Palestinian prisoners under threat of imminent death. I know you do not want their deaths on your conscience. Thank you for considering their plight and anything you can do to help improve the situation.
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
I am very concerned about the safety and welfare of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel under administrative detentions who are on hunger strikes, in particular six prisoners who have been identified by Amnesty International as facing imminent death, Bilal Diab and Tha’er Halahleh, who are today on Day 69 of their hunger strikes, Hassan Safadi, Omar Abu Shalal, Ja’afar Izz al-Din, and Mahmoud al-Sarsak.
These administrative detentions Israel is holding Palestinian prisoners under, that include the six prisoners named above, violate international treaties Israel is bound to which internationally recognize rights to a fair trial for detainees and prisoners, to include the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Evidence heard in secret, which provides neither the defendant nor his attorney being allowed to examine the evidence or challenge it, violates the requirements of international law that mandate fair legal proceedings and due process in detentions of prisoners. These detentions are war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
I urge you to ensure Israel abides by her obligations under international law and call on the Israeli authorities to release these six detainees in imminent danger of death, as well as all other Palestinians in administrative detention, unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offenses and brought to trial in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards.
I urge you to ensure the immediate transfer of Tha’er Halahleh and other detainees on prolonged hunger strikes to a fully-equipped hospital so they can receive specialized medical care.
I urge you to ensure that all detainees on hunger strike are allowed regular, private access to independent doctors, families and lawyers, treated humanely, and not punished in any way for their hunger strike.
I urge you to end the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of administrative detainees, such as shackling detainees on prolonged hunger strike, that the human rights organizations and NGO’s are reporting Israel is engaging in.
I urge you to ensure Israel abides by her obligations under international law and deals humanely with Palestinian prisoners she holds captive and in detention.
There are two groups of hunger strikers, those on hunger strike protesting unlawful administrative detentions, and those protesting unlawful prison conditions, in a strike that began more recently, in April.
From 972 Magazine, there is an update on the administrative detention hunger strikers, as well as the other strike over prison conditions. (It is being reported there may be a resolution to that strike in the next few days).
This group of longer striking prisoners numbers about 20. Four of these prisoners launched their hunger strikes more than 60 days ago. They are presently hospitalized, and have been described by doctors as at risk of death.
The administrative detainees demand an end to their detention without trial or charges. Their attorney, Jawad Boulos, recently told Haaretz that he fears that after the release of Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, Israel will prefer seeing detainees die behind bars than allow them to chip away at its system of administrative detention.
"Less than three weeks after at least 1,400 Palestinians in Israeli prisons launched a widespread hunger strike, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Thursday made several astounding admissions regarding Israel’s use of administrative detention. In private meetings with security officials, Aharonovitch called for reducing Israel’s use of the practice, applying it “only if there is a need and not in all cases,” according to a Haaretz report."
The obvious moral response here would be for Israel to release these prisoners they unlawfully hold under administrative detentions and stop the unlawful practice of holding prisoners without legitimate charges being filed against them.
Simply claiming persons are members of Islamic Jihad, which they deny, is not a legal basis to hold persons captive under international law.
I note that CNN falsely reports the two prisoners as members of Islamic Jihad, there is no evidence to support this claim.
In a strange sort of way, the hunger strike is analogous the dispute itself. The strikers can end the danger to their lives by eating. If the Israeli authorities save their lives by force feeding the strikers then the Authorities will be accused of violating the strikers human and civil rights. If the strikers starve themselves to death the Israelis authorities will be condemned for allowing the deaths to take place.
The Palestinians complain that they don't have an independent state of their own and much like the humger strikers refusal to eat, the Palestinians on several occasions have refused the opporrtunity to establish an independent state of their own. And at every step of the way, it is the Israelis who are supposedly responsible for the Palestinian's lack of a state.
Like all analogies, this one also lacks a perfect one for one relationship. But the attribution of responsibility to the State of Israel for the consequences of its own actions and the consequences of the actions of the Palestinians tends to repeat itself very often.
Sorry, I simply cannot say I see it the way you do.
I see it as Injustice and a test, how do we respond to it, I know exactly how Martin Luther King, Jr. felt in a jail cell, as he wote about the sin of silence in the face of Injustice, as he wrote about the response of the Church and white America in the South to the Civil Rights Movement.
And, wow, do I not see and feel and experience God in the midst of all of this, bringing people together in the most amazing ways! Those experiences are ones to cherish and remember always, for a lifetime and beyond!
I was just reading a comment made about the hunger strike in a publication called The National last night, that I think has a lot of truth in it. I happened to come across this the very same day I read out loud to my Bible Study class a letter that was a statement a Palestinian Christian, Bassem Tamimi, made to a Court falsely accusing him of crimes he did not commit.
"Non-violent resistance needs an audience. As the Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Tamimi said: "They have military superiority but we have moral superiority." Without a watching world, the hunger strikers will continue to be harshly suppressed. By not offering the Palestinians an audience as they protest to reclaim their humanity, we are denying ours."
I think that it is an injustice that murderers, thieves and traffic law violators should be let out of prison just because they choose not to eat. I suppose that we all have our own version of justice but I find it difficult to see as just that the murderers of children and infants who are asleep in their beds at night should be freed just because they are Palestinians.
You mentioned Martin Luther King Jr. How many children did his followers murder in their endeavor to gain equal rights? Come to think of it, did Martin Luther King ever advocate the denial of civil rights to anyone because they were white? And yet, you support Palestinian organizations that call for Jews being denied their right to national independence.