SHAFAQNA – Israeli security forces have detained around one million Palestinians in the almost 69 years since the Jewish state was established in 1948, Palestinian prisoner rights groups have said.
The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics issued a joint statement on Saturday ahead of Palestinian Prisoners Day, outlining the history of the mass imprisonment of Palestinian activists.
“The issue of Palestinian prisoners has been central to the Palestinians cause,” the statement said, adding that during the “most difficult historical stage” of the first and second intifadas Israeli forces detained hundreds of thousands of protesters.
More than 1,600 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails launched a mass hunger strike on Monday to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners Day.
The protests, which is the biggest in recent years, has been led by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and will see prisoners from across the political spectrum participate from within six Israeli prisons.
“The number of prisoners taking part in the mass hunger strike is expected to increase but authorities have begun to crackdown on the protest,” Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners Affairs, told The New Arab.
“Prison administration has transferred prisoners to their cells without allowing them to bring their clothing,” Qaraqe added.
There are currently 6,300 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, including more than 300 child detainees, according to Jerusalem-based prisoner rights group Addameer.
Amnesty International said this week that Israel’s decades-long policy of detaining Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza inside Israeli jails and depriving them of family visits was “cruel” and a violation of international law.
Since 1974, Palestinians have marked 17 April as the national day to honour the sacrifices of Palestinian prisoners and express solidarity with their families.
Palestinians have rallied on social media to mark the occasion, which comes during the year of the 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the Palestinian territories captured during the six day war in 1967.
Source: Al Araby