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Palestinians in Tuqu set up tent in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners

April 18, 2017 3:51 P.M. (Updated: April 19, 2017 11:19 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Local organizations and supporters of the Fatah movement in the town of Tuqu, east of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, set up a solidarity tent at the town’s municipality building in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners participating in the mass “Freedom and Dignity” strike across Israeli prisons.

Tuqu Mayor Hatem Sabbah told Ma'an that the tent was set up “to highlight the plight of prisoners,” as he urged locals and representatives of local organizations to “visit the tent in masses every day in order to show solidarity with prisoners who are defending a just cause."

The mayor highlighted that dozens of supporters from the town had already come to the tent and decorated it with posters of political slogans, flags, and photos of prisoners.

A similar tent was erected in Bethlehem city, which was the site of clashes on Monday following demonstrations in support of more than 1,300 prisoners on the first day of their hunger strike.

According to Israeli news outlet Ynet, Palestinian citizens of Israel set up a tent in support of prisoners in the town of Umm al-Fahm.

Tuesday marked the second day of the strike, with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) suspending family visitation rights to Palestinian prisoners.

IPS began its crackdown on the hunger strike on Monday -- which marked Palestinian Prisoners’ Day -- when hundreds of Palestinian detainees began forgoing food.

Initially called for by Fatah-affiliated prisoners, Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum have since pledged their commitment to undertake the strike, which by some estimates exceeded 2,000 participants when it began at midnight on Monday.

The hunger strikers have denounced the torture, ill-treatment, and medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel’s widespread use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges -- which is only permitted under international law in extremely limited circumstances, but is currently being used against some 500 Palestinians.

Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to a joint statement released on Saturday by Palestinian organizations.

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