Mass Demonstrations in Beit Ommar for Imprisoned Hunger Strikers Met with Israeli Military Violence

8 May 2012

On May 8th, 2012, multiple demonstrations were held in Hebron, Beit Ommar and surrounding villages in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike.

In Hebron, students from the Hebron district came together and marched in the center of town. Close to one thousand people were present with posters and flags, and youth from all the surrounding areas were present in the march.

In Beit Ommar, Israeli soldiers entered the town in the afternoon and occupied several people’s homes, firing teargas and rubber-coated bullets at the children in the street. In the evening, villagers marched in the town supporting Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla. Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla are both members of Islamic Jihad, and they are on the 71st day of their hunger strike. Their condition is critical, and the Supreme Court has recently denied their petition. Islamic Jihad has said that if any of the hunger strikers die, they will consider it as a political assassination and the truce between them and Israel will be broken.

Additionally, another 2000 or so prisoners are on their 21st day of hunger strike. The prisoners are protesting the torture and ill treatment they receive in prison, and demanding their legal rights (such as the right to a lawyer during interrogations) and an end to administrative detention. Under administrative detention, under which both Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla are being held, prisoners are kept without any charges against them and without trial, for a period of up to six months which can be renewed indefinitely. 320 people are now being held under administrative detention.