Israeli prison authorities on Tuesday punished dozens of Palestinian prisoners who, in an act of solidarity, went on a hunger strike following the lead of another inmate who was arrested on July 27 under Israel's administrative detention policy. The policy allows Tel Aviv to hold Palestinians without any charge.
Thirty-two prisoners at the Ofer Prison have begun an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with Maher al-Ahras, who was hospitalized at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, as he has refused to eat for 79 days in protest of his arrest without a charge or trial.
Israeli prison services said the hunger strike by the detainees "was a violation of disciplinary rules,” and the prisoners were transferred to isolation and "placed in empty cells without any equipment."
On Monday, al-Ahras turned down a deal with Israel's Supreme Court that recommended he be released by Nov. 26, rather than ruling in favor of his release in exchange for ending the strike.
Al-Ahras said he will continue his fast until Israel's Supreme Court or Israeli authorities guarantee his release on a specific date.
The Israeli court refuses to release al-Ahras and made the decision to keep him in prison until he completes his sentence next month despite reports from Israeli rights group B'Tselem claiming that the man is "on the verge of death."
Some 5,000 Palestinian political detainees suffer in Israeli jails, including 43 women, 180 children and 430 detainees under administrative detention which allows Israel to detain people without charge or trial for renewable six-month periods. Taken away from their children, dozens of Palestinian women are suffering abuse in Israeli prisons, according to Palestinian activists.