News / Middle East

Palestinians Close Shops in Support of Prisoners

Across the entire Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, businesses and shops closed as a sign of support for Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike being held in Israeli jails. Pedestrians walk by locked shops in Ramallah, June 8, 2014.
Across the entire Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, businesses and shops closed as a sign of support for Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike being held in Israeli jails. Pedestrians walk by locked shops in Ramallah, June 8, 2014.
VOA News
Shops were shuttered in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday in solidarity with nearly 300 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike against Israeli detention without trial.

Also on Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet made changes in a law that could block amnesty for Palestinians imprisoned for murdering Israelis.
 
Black-and-white flags bearing slogans such as “Freedom for Prisoners” and “Chains must be broken” flew in the streets of Ramallah, the Palestinian commercial capital.
 
In Hebron, also in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, dozens of Palestinian protesters marched in the streets in support of the hunger strikers.
 
The hunger strike was begun on April 24 by a group of 120  prisoners held under what Israel terms “administrative detention” - or incarceration without trial - of Palestinians suspected of security offenses.
 
They were later joined by 170 other inmates who also demanded that Israel abolish the procedure, which has drawn international criticism.
 
Israel's Prisons Service said 65 hunger strikers were being treated in hospitals, although none were in critical condition and all were conscious. A Palestinian lawyer who has visited some of the hospitalized inmates put the number of prisoners who had required hospital care at 100.
 
“The weight of striking prisoners has gone down by an average of 16 kilograms,” Jawad Bolus told Reuters.
 
On Friday, a U.N. spokesman said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was concerned about “reports regarding the deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainees”. Ban, the spokesman said, reiterated his long-standing position that they be charged or released without delay.
 
Israel argues administrative detentions are sometimes necessary to avoid court proceedings that could expose sensitive intelligence information or informants.
 
Lawyers who visited prisoners over the past several weeks said Israel had begun a dialog with some of the hunger strikers' representatives but no progress had been made.
 
Palestinians regard those jailed by Israel as heroes in a struggle for statehood.

Changes to law
 
Israel says Palestinians involved in violent anti-Israeli activities are terrorists, and it is in the process of enacting a law aimed at blocking, in any future peace talks, the release of prisoners convicted of killing Israelis.
 
Legislation that would enable judges to declare convicted killers ineligible for presidential pardons was approved by the full Israeli cabinet on Sunday for submission to parliament, a month after a ministerial committee gave the bill the go-ahead.

The bill must pass two more readings in parliament before becoming law.

Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party who initiated the change said it was aimed at preventing the release of Palestinian militants who killed Israelis as well as other murderers, the French news agency AFP reported.
 
"The mass release of terrorists through diplomatic deals makes a mockery of the Israeli public as does shortening the prison terms of criminal murderers," she said in a statement.
 
The latest round of U.S.-led peace talks collapsed in April after Israel refused to release a fourth and last round of 26 long-term prisoners imprisoned for killing Israelis, breaching a commitment made in 2013.
 
Throughout the talks, Israel released 78 of the promised 104 prisoners, in a move that angered hardliners.
 
Zehava Gal-On of the dovish Meretz party said the amendment would tie Israel's hands in future talks and accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "capitulating to the extreme right and supporting a demagogic law," according to the AFP report.

In a separate development, the Israeli government is also seeking to push through legislation which would allow for the forced medical treatment, including feeding of
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, the AFP reported.
 
Vatican meeting

Pope Francis used his Sunday address at the Vatican to thank the faithful for their spiritual support ahead of an evening prayer meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the AP reported.
 
A group of Palestinians attended the Angelus, waving flags and greeting Pope Francis. 
 
Vatican officials insist no political agenda is lurking behind Pope Francis' invitation to the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to pray for peace together in the Vatican gardens, and no concrete initiatives are expected.
 
But Sunday's unusual summit - with Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers intoned in the shadow of St. Peter's Basilica - could take on great significance on the ground.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid