Palestinians down tools in solidarity with hunger strike detainees

Palestinians down tools in solidarity with hunger strike detainees
The Palestinian diaspora across the world are also reportedly taking part in the hunger strike to show solidarity with the prisoners in Israeli jails.
3 min read
23 May, 2017
Palestinian hunger strikers blocking roads to Ramallah on Monday [Getty]

Palestinians are observing a second general strike in solidarity with Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails who are observing a month-long hunger strike.

In the occupied West Bank, schools, banks, and public transport closed down in observance of the strike. However, hospitals and emergency services remained open.

The Higher Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel held a meeting at Tayibe city hall, in which they had urged all Palestinian citizens of Israel to join the strike.

Schools and emergency services were exempt from the industrial action, according to Palestinian news agency, Maan News.

Palestinian activists blocked roads in the West Bank that lead to Ramallah with rocks and burned tyres to ensure the general strike was observed.

Reports have also surfaced that Palestinians across the world taking part in the strike in solidarity with the prisoners.

The media committee for the Freedom and Dignity hunger strike, hailed the general strike, saying in a statement that Monday's action was "the first time since the First Intifada (1987-1993) that a general strike was observed in occupied West Bank, the Palestinian territory occupied in 1948 (present-day Israel), and in the diaspora".

The committee urged Palestinians to gather at one of the many sit-in tents set up throughout the occupied territories in support of the strike at 11am to prepare for political rallies later in the day.

Read more: Cross-resistance: Filipino prisoners stand in solidarity with Palestinian hunger-strikers

The Freedom and Dignity statement also urged Palestinians to take part in a 12-hour hunger strike and fast between 10am-10pm in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners.

The committee for the Freedom and Dignity strike called for a day of rage to take place on Tuesday, when US President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

More than 1,600 prisoners took part in the hunger strike that began on 17 April, ingesting only water and salt.

By the beginning of May, the number of strikers decreased to just below 1,000 people, but Palestinian sources are now saying the number of people joining the hunger strikes have risen by at least 300 since then.

Read also: Palestinian hunger strikers - The frontline of an imprisoned nation

While Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, the most recent is reportedly the largest in recent times. 

Israeli prison authorities are taking disciplinary measures to pressure the Palestinian prisoners to end their strikes.

Israeli settlers have also used the hunger strikes as an opportunity to taunt Palestinians. Days after the hunger strike was announced, dozens of Israeli settlers organised a barbeque outside a jail near Ramallah.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes. Around 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows imprisonment without charge.