Egyptian foreign minister raises plight of Palestinian prisoners

Ahram Online , Wednesday 13 Feb 2013

The international community must intervene to end the humanitarian crisis of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, said minister Mohamed Kamel Amr

Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Israeli soldiers fire rubber bullets outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Egypt's Foreign Minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr, expressed concern about the health conditions of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons, state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday.

The news agency added that Cairo is directing special attention to the two cases of Ayman Al-Sharawna and Samer Al-Issawi, who have been on hunger strike for seven months since their arrest under the so-called administrative detention law.

Amr called the international community to press for ending Israeli practices against the Palestinian prisoners that comes in violation of international law.

Also, he pointed out that such crisis might lead to further deterioration in the political situation inside the occupied Palestinian territory and the region in general.

A Palestinian source told the German Press Agency (DPA) on January that Egypt is holding talks with Israeli to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike at the request of the Palestinian Authority. But no actual results have been seen until now.

The Free Samer Issawi Campaign said on Monday on Twitter that the Palestinian prisoner is "currently dying" in Israeli prisons."The longest hunger strike in history and the world doesn't say a thing about it," the campaign tweeted.

Issawi has stopped drinking water, taking vitamins and boycotted all medical tests after refusing food, Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper had reported a few days ago.

The news outlet added that a doctor has informed Issawi that his heart could stop functioning "at any time" due to water shortage in his body.

Issawi was released as part of the Egyptian-brokered prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israeli authorities in October 2011.

That deal led to the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. However, Issawi was rearrested on 7 July, 2012 under the so-called administrative detention law.

The law, which has been in place since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, legalises the arrest of Palestinians if they are a "threat" to Israel's national security.

Issawi faces other serious health problems, including weight loss, general weakness, protein shortages, sugar shortage, deteriorated visions, and others.

The Palestinian Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Issa Karake, himself a former political prisoner in Israel, told Ahram Online in May that almost 2,500 hunger-striking Palestinians were facing the threat of death.

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