As these words were being written, three Palestinian prisoners were on hunger strike in protest against their imprisonment without trial, a practice cloaked by the anodyne sounding term “administrative detention.” Sami Janazra was on his 69th day and his health has sharply deteriorated, Adeeb Mafarja was on his 38th day, and Fuad Assi was on his 36th. These prisoners are amongst at least 700 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who are currently being held in administrative detention, a practice that Israel routinely uses in violation of the strict parameters set by international law.
Palestinian political prisoners have long used hunger strikes as a form of protest in response to violations of their rights by Israeli authorities. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association traces the first use of hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners to as early as 1968. Since then, there have been over 25 mass and group hunger strikes with demands ranging from ending solitary confinement and administrative detention to improving imprisonment conditions and allowing family visits.