More than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners started an open-ended hunger strike on Thursday, a Palestinian official told Ma’an news agency, in solidarity with detainees held in administrative detention by Israeli authorities.
Palestinian Authority Minister of Detainees Issa Qaraqe said that the prisoners were calling on Israel to end the practice of administrative detention, in which prisoners – majoritarily Palestinians – can be detained indefinitely without charge or trial.
At least three hunger strike leaders have already been placed in solitary confinement in Beersheba prison.
The new hunger strike comes two weeks after more than 100 Palestinians in Israeli prisons launched an open-ended hunger strike to protest their detention without trial.
Qaraqe said he held Israeli authorities responsible for this “explosion” in protest action.
He called for May 9 to be a “Day of Rage” in solidarity with the detainees.
An Israeli prison services spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
A 2012 agreement which ended a hunger strike of 2,000 Palestinian prisoners was meant to end the detention without trial of Palestinians. According to prisoner’s rights NGO Addameer, 186 Palestinians were in administrative detention as of April 1.
Palestinians held in administrative detention are often held without charge or trial for months and without access to the evidence leading to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances.