Protests Break Out In Solidarity With Over 1,500 Prisoners Held In Israeli Prisons

In Ramallah, West Bank at least 50 Palestinian protesters were injured in clashes with Israeli forces on a “day of rage” held across the occupied Palestinian territories to show solidarity with more than 1,500 prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

The “day of rage” was agitated and called for by Fatah president Mahmoud Abbas to support the prisoners’ hunger strike that started on the 17th of April to protest against the harsh conditions under which they live in Israeli prisons. It is estimated that there are about 6,500 Palestinian prisoners including minors in Israeli detention. The conditions of the detention are deplorable with poor medical attention; prisoners are subjected to torture and administrative detention that entails imprisonment without charge or trial. It is said that the mass hunger strike protests have been organized by Marwan Barghouti, a senior Fatah figure who is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for his role in killing Israelis during the second intifada.

On Thursday, local media reported protests in the West Bank in solidarity with the prisoners on a hunger strike which led to skirmishes with Israeli authorities. On Friday, protests continued with dozens getting injured by rubber bullets and tear gas. The protests led to a standstill in the entire area with schools, businesses and government institutions closed.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict subsists in a meshwork of complex political controversy to date with no end in sight. Following the UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016 that explicitly stated that Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory were illegal under international law, little headway has been made in initiating again the peace process towards pacifying the conflict. The U.S President, Donald Trump is said to be “exploring” a state visit to Israel in the coming days, however, there is an atmosphere of uncertainty that marks this visit as regards earlier comments by the White House about the possibility of a two-state solution and establishing of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. It is also not known how the visit will help or deteriorate the relations between Israel and Palestine towards pacifying the conflict.