as lawyers warned of the “slow death” of the three, who have all gone more than 60 days without food in protest of being held by Israel without charge or trial.
Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe on Saturday accused Israel’s government, security services, and judicial authorities of “committing a crime against the three prisoners,” saying their conditions have reached “intolerable” levels. Qaraqe and other Palestinian officials on Saturday visited a tent in the city Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank to show solidarity with the Balboul brothers and al-Qadi.
Among the visitors was member of the central committee for the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) ruling party the Fatah movement Mahmoud al-Aloul, and veteran Fatah-affiliated prisoner Riziq Salah who has served 21 years in Israeli jails. Salah criticized the international community for its failure to help the hunger strikers. “By remaining silent, the international community is encouraging Israel to continue with its tyrannical practices against Palestinian prisoners and its recklessness towards their lives.” Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul’s 16-year-old sister Nuran, who was also recently detained by Israel for four months, told visitors and solidarity activists that international human rights organizations should intervene immediately “before it’s too late,” given the very dangerous conditions her brothers and al-Qadi have reached.
Earlier on Saturday, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs released a statement highlighting the “slow death” of hunger-striking prisoners.The hunger strikers’ health conditions have been “collapsing,” as their internal organs have degenerated, putting their lives at risk, Iyad Misk and Tareq Barghouth, two lawyers from the committee, said after visiting the Balboul brothers at the Wolfson Medical Center and al-Qadi at the Assaf HaRofeh hospital. The lawyers said the hunger strikers have all suffered from heart seizures, asthma, and body spasms, in addition to losing their ability to speak and hear.
Misk added that the committee had presented an appeal to the Israeli prosecution urging the Israeli Supreme Court to permit the transfer of the hunger strikers to Palestinian hospitals since their administrative detention was suspended earlier in the month.Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul have been on hunger strike for 75 and 72 days respectively, while al-Qadi entered the 63rd day of his strike on Saturday. On Saturday, al-Qadi’s mother was urgently summoned to the Wolfson Medical Center, after the 25-year-old slipped into a coma. On Thursday, al-Qadi was reported to be in critical condition as he has remained in a coma for seven days, with the committee saying that his health condition was the most severe of any hunger striker since 2011. Last week, an Israeli court temporarily suspended al-Qadi’s administrative detention, just one day following the suspension of the Balboul brothers’ detentions. In all three cases, the courts said the sentences would be suspended until their health conditions improved.
However, the prisoners have steadfastly committed to their hunger strikes until they are completely released from administrative detention.On Tuesday, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal submitted by al-Qadi’s lawyers to release al-Qadi from administrative detention due to his critical health condition.Meanwhile, at least 100 prisoners joined a mass hunger strike in support of the Balboul brothers and al-Qadi, doubling in just a day after the strike was first launched by 50 Fatah and Islamic Jihad-affiliated prisoners on Wednesday.Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, students, and journalists.
Sanaa Balboul told Ma’an she believed her children were targeted as a result of her late husband’s political activities in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah movement. He was shot dead by undercover Israeli forces in 2008.Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.According to Addameer, as of August, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 700 of whom were being held under administrative detention