Holy Land: Palestinian prisoners begin mass hunger strike

 During the month of August, 7,500 Palestinian political prisoners are taking part in a series of hunger strikes hoping to draw world attention and support to a campaign against the violations of their rights and the conditions under which they are being detained. Calling their 'the uprising of the empty stomachs' the prisoners are asking for an end to: - Arbitrary and indiscriminate beatings. - Confinement of children with adult prisoners and political prisoners with criminals. - Withholding or delaying medical treatment. - The firing of tear gas into cells and intimidation by guards with guns. - Humiliating strip searches. - The subjecting of prisoners to solitary confinement for excessive periods of time, for months and even years. - Arbitrary imposition of financial penalties. - The withdrawal of studying privileges that used to enable prisoners to continue their school or university studies through correspondence courses. - Restrictions placed on family members entitled to visit and the denial of travel permits to family members living in the West Bank or Gaza so that they cannot travel to prisons to see their relatives. Some prisoners have endured more than a full year without visits. A spokeswoman said: "Such treatment and conditions violate not only international law but also the Israeli state rules intended to govern the administration of prisons. "With the help of international recognition of these facts the prisoners seek only to alleviate these harsh conditions, their demands calling for the most basic necessities such as food, water and air and for a standard of treatment that meets humanitarian requirements. The Committee for the Families of Political Prisoners and Detainees has planned a month of solidarity activities to coincide with the hunger strikes. Solidarity tents have been set up in the centre of all the cities in the West Bank and in all the Red Cross Centres and will be occupied by the public around the clock for as long as the strike lasts.

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