Monday, May 14, 2012

The Last Option? Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike

As many as 2,000 Palestinian prisoners have engaged in a hunger strike inside Israeli prisons to protest their conditions of indefinite detention without charges or trial under Israelis administrative detention policy. Israel has defended this policy as vital to the state’s national security and has declared that many of the protestors are not boy scouts.
 Many hunger strikers view it as the last option because of their lack of legal rights within Israel. Even Israeli human rights advocates argue that administrative detention is not to be used as a substitute for the criminal process. Source:
I thought this was an interesting story because the paper I wrote for my human security seminar dealt in part with a hunger strike. Hunger strikes by their nature are the actions of desperate men and women. It requires a certain desperation to put physical safety and livelihood on the line.
There’s a certain logic behind the tactic though because while the Israeli government may steadfastly claim national security in authorizing lengthy detentions, being a democracy Israel does not want images of emaciated prisoners splashed across the front page of every major international newspapers.
 What will win out: Israel’s national security or the prospect of being internationally shamed?

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