Hunger Strike Provides Catalyst For Victory
After a forty day period, the suspension of the mass Hunger Strike in which hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners were involved, is a most welcome development, especially when considering the worrying situation in which many of the striking prisoners were to refuse their water and salt supplement during daylight hours due to the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The decision to suspend the fast followed as an agreement was reached between the Israeli Prison Service officials and prison leaders in Ashkelon prison in which negotiations lasted over twenty hours.
The avoidance of further loss of life, which given the numbers involved in the fast, would certainly have been substantial is a relief to the many supporters of the Palestinian prisoner’s demands and the securing of prison reform in terms of family visits is a positive step which has demonstrated that the Zionists can bend to international pressure.
RNU Spokesperson Nathan Stuart welcomes the development but notes with caution recent talk of victory:
“The ending of the fast by our international comrades in Palestine on the first day of Ramadan and at a time when 18 of the strikers are currently hospitalised is welcome news indeed. The steadfastness of the strikers in confronting the unjust occupation is nothing short of heroic and RNU commend all those that faced the Israeli system.”
“The demands won centred primarily around family visitation and there are indicators suggesting that the prisoners have secured the installation of a public telephones and the easing of security prohibitions. These represent only a part of the demands laid out before the strike commenced. Israel have even denied the use of the term ‘negotiation’ in reference to the period of talks that has taken place due to the fact that the second monthly visit was Israeli policy last year and their line is one of a ‘return to previous policy’ rather than acknowledging the pressure the prisoners and their supporters exerted.”
“While further loss of life has been avoided and reform is set to take place, a note of caution should be applied to the recent developments. The human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli state have been both horrific and gratuitous, it’s concern of international condemnation laissez-faire. The very fact that the IPS refuses to even acknowledge that negotiations took place is telling of the attitude of the prison system.”
“The demands secured is an achievement, not merely for the improvement of the prisoner’s conditions but has displayed to the Israeli authorities the unyielding spirit of the prisoners whom through the most inhospitable of conditions carried out their protest with dignity and determination. The plight of the prisoners has been highlighted the world over and the momentum that the prisoners have gathered will no doubt benefit the entire Palestinian liberation cause. As supporters of Palestine, it would be unjustly presumptuous for celebratory talk of victory, the ground won through the strike must be a catalyst for the holistic victory; the securing of all the prisoner’s moderate demands.”