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Barghouti threatens to stop drinking water as health deteriorates

Barghouti told Shqeirat that he has not changed his clothes since the hunger-strike began [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2017

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In Barghouti’s first time in seeing a lawyer since undertaking the hunger-strike, new details emerged on the conditions in which he is forced to live.


Leader of the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike Marwan Barghouti will no longer drink water in response to Israel’s continued refusal to respond to the hunger strikers’ demands, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs announced on Tuesday.

Some 1,300 Palestinians are participating in hunger strikes in which they ingest nothing more than salt and water, in order to pressure Israeli prisons to give them what they say are their basic rights, such as family visits, appropriate medical care when needed and an end to solitary confinement.

Barghouti’s deterioration

Barghouti’s announcement comes days after Palestinian Lawyer Khader Shqeirat raised concerns that the imprisoned leader's health is in danger, after losing 12kg in nearly a month of drinking nothing but salt and water.

In Barghouti’s first time in seeing a lawyer since undertaking the hunger-strike, new details emerged on the conditions in which he is forced to live.

Read more: Palestinian hunger strikers: The frontline of an imprisoned nation

According to Shqeirat, Barghouti was kept in a basement cell for four days, from which he was removed only when he stopped drinking water.

Barghouti told Shqeirat that he has not changed his clothes since the mass hunger-strike began on April 17.

He had also complained of being forced to listen to loud noises for several hours a day, in which he has resorted to stuffing paper tissues in his ears to mute as much of the noise as possible.

Barghouthi described the notorious "oppression units" of the Israel Prison Service, in which he endures his cell being raided his cell four times a day, in which they carry out aggressive inspections, including strip searches while his hands and legs are cuffed.

He is also cuffed when he is taken into the prison clinic, he said.

Appeal for unity

Ahead of the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, Marwan Barghouti published a statement, which was carried by the Dignity Hunger Strike Media Committee, in which he appealed for national unity.

Read also: Israeli forces clash with Palestinian protesters supporting hunger strikers

“I extend my thanks to friends and in the whole world who have expressed their solidarity with us in our battle for dignity and freedom.

I would like to extend my greeting to our people, refugees, and victims of ethnic cleansing, particularly in the 69th anniversary of the Nakba,” Barghouti said.

"I would like to call on Fatah and Hamas to achieve national reconciliation [...] we must remember that our cause is our first priority and so is the Palestinian right to return," he added.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes. Around 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows imprisonment without charge. 

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, however this protest is reportedly the largest protest in recent times.

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