Comhlámh wish to extend their support for the over 1,700 Palestinian prisoners engaged in a mass hunger strike since 17 April 2017. We call on the Irish government to act immediately at bilateral and European levels to ensure that the basic human rights and dignity of Palestinian prisoners are upheld by Israel.
These hunger strikes arise as a direct prisoner response to the brutalising Israeli prison regime. Israeli policies of denying basic healthcare to prisoners, abusive solitary confinement, the refusal to adhere to prisoner visiting rights and the inhumane treatment of prisoners around transportation lie at the root of the hunger strike as it enters its 25th day.
Hunger strikes have a specific resonance in Ireland given our own history of conflict on the island. They arise in circumstances where prisoners feel other avenues for addressing the indignity and material suffering of prison regimes have been exhausted. Therefore they feel there is no other option but to put their lives on the line.
Comhlamh is an organisation that believes that human rights are inviolable for all. Therefore we speak out in solidarity and in support of the demands of the hunger strikers.
We utterly condemn the tactics of the Israeli prison system in further punishing those participating in the hunger strike by refusing to provide them with sufficient water and salt as their health rapidly deteriorates. This is yet another example of prisoner abuse endemic in Israeli prisons.
We welcome the recent decision by Dublin, Sligo and Donegal City and County Councils to mark solidarity with the Palestinian people by flying the Palestinian flag. Such symbolic gestures of solidarity need to be supplemented by material and political solidarity and we urge the Irish government to make immediate interventions to that end.