As reported by UPI
, the Jerusalem Post
and Al Jazeera
some 1,200 Palestinian security prisoners have declared a hunger strike beginning today, the Palestinian 'Prisoner Day'.
These protests come amidst growing discontentment within Gaza and the Occupied Territory of the West Bank as the peace process is showing no tangible signs of materializing and the prospect of a Palestinian state in the near future seems to be nil.
There are about 4,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, with 1,200 already pledging to stay on hunger strike to protest their conditions and detainment a further 400 may soon join them.
Many Palestinians have shown their solidarity by holding rallies in the West Bank and Gaza.
Widespread hunger strikes have been done before by Palestinian prisoners in 2000 and 2004 and in the latter parts of last year. These protests have often been compared to the Irish Republican hunger strikes in the early 1980's which saw the infamous death of Bobby Sands, in that case those members of the IRA the status of political prisoners.
The President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas stated that the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails should have the status of war prisoners, he addressed them today declaring:
"I talk to you from the bottom of my heart to assure you that your case is in my heart, mind, conscience and existence. I carry your case wherever I go and it is at the top of my list of priorities. We will not be comforted until you gain your freedom."
Analysis on the IRA hunger strikes by the British Medical Association concluded that in hunger strikes like these "death generally occurred between 55 and 75 days."
Many fear that if any of these hunger strikers do die that it may lead to riots and further animosity and anti-Israel sentiments within the Palestinian Territories.