A lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society said on Thursday that the Israeli Supreme Court has elected to postpone an appeal filed on behalf of several Palestinian hunger strikers. Until the appeal decision was made, the Court made it clear to the prisons that they were responsible for providing adequate medical care to hunger strikers, one of whom, Bilal Diab, collapsed in court, having refused food since February 29.
A doctor told Addameer that the hunger strikers were in grave danger. Speaking about Diab, he said, “Bilal’s life-threatening condition includes sharp weight loss, concern for peripheral nerve damage, extremely low pulse (39 beats per minute) and blood pressure, severe dehydration, and possible internal bleeding.” Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged Israel to ”immediately charge or release people jailed without charge or trial under so-called administrative detention.” The prosecution, however, claims the prisoners represent a threat to national security. On Thursday, the Israeli Prison Service denied withholding legal counsel to the hunger strikers, but admitted that the prisoners could only receive a lawyer visit if they were fit enough to stand up and talk to prison authorities. Many hunger strikers, having refused food for several weeks, are not physically able to stand, thereby effectively denying them the right to see a lawyer.
Meanwhile, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has vowed to hold Benjamin Netanyahu personally responsible for the prisoners’ well-being. The IPS has admitted that they are “trying to talk to [the hunger strikers] to get them to eat.” A hunger striker, Thaer Halahla, speaking to the court from his wheelchair, told the Court “Administrative detention is a slow death. I want to live my life with dignity. I have a wife, and a daughter I never met.”