What was expected by many to be a “symbolic” single-day fast among protesters earlier this month looks to have considerable staying power, as reports say that some 1,200 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons are still refusing food.
Most of the strikers are relatively new (two weeks in) but at least two of the longer-term strikers are said to be close to death, while eight others, mostly older captives, have been sent to hospitals as their conditions worsen.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says that he will press the United Nations on the treatment of detainees soon, though he conceded that this would be blocked from going anywhere by the US.
The strikers are protesting a number of issued about their treatment, including the policy of “administrative detention,” holding Palestinians indefinitely without charges, and restrictions on prisoners’ access to certain goods.
The Israeli prison services have reportedly begun punishing hunger strikers, moving them into solitary confinement and refusing to allow family to visit them.