Some 2000 of the estimated 4600 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons are now hunger striking. Three hundred of them have been deprived of the right of habeas corpus and are being held in without charge or trial. Others are routinely tossed into solitary confinement, which, depending on how it is deployed, could be a severe violation of their human rights. Some 10 of the hunger strikers are severely affected and some near death.
The National (UAE) has a good overview of the issue.
While some of these prisoners were arrested on suspicion of terrorism, others are guilty of protesting, stone-throwing or thinking wrong thoughts. All are where they are because they won’t cooperate with Israel’s illegal 45 year old military occupation of and large-scale theft of Palestinian land, though the violent among them were wrong if any harmed civilians.
In any case, if the prisoners have committed crimes, they should be charged and the state should prove it in court, otherwise they are kidnapping victims, not prisoners in a civilized penal system. And, solitary confinement should be used against those who commit violence against other prisoners or guards, not to punish thought crimes.
Palestinians are being kept stateless by Israel. which means they have no rights. The occupation is costing them an estimated $7 billion a year. Also, they have no rights.
Some Tunisian cabinet ministers in the new democratic government are doing one-day fasts in solidarity with the prisoners, in what could become a movement.
Perhaps fearing a growing PR debacle, Israeli authorities are now offering some concessions, including on the issue of solitary confinement.