Ahmad Nimer’s photos from Ramallah on 14 May 2012 as prisoner deal announced. [An album of his recent photos is posted here]:
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization reported some details of the agreement here, today:
- “The details of the agreement signed last night by the prisoners’ committee representing the hunger strikers was recounted today to Addameer lawyer Fares Ziad in his visit to Ahed Abu Gholmeh, who is a member of the committee, and to Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan during his visit to Ahmad Sa’adat in Ramleh prison medical clinic, who conveyed what he was told last night when members of the committee came to Ramleh to announce the end of the hunger strike.
According to Ahed Abu Gholmeh, the nine members of the hunger strike committee met yesterday with a committee consisting of IPS officials and Israeli intelligence officers and determined the stipulations of their agreement. The written agreement contained five main provisions: the prisoners would end their hunger strike following the signing of the agreement; there will be an end to the use of long-term isolation of prisoners for ‘security’ reasons, and the 19 prisoners will be moved out of isolation within 72 hours; family visits for first degree relatives to prisoners from the Gaza Strip and for families from the West Bank who have been denied visits based on vague ‘security reasons’ will be reinstated within one month; the Israeli intelligence agency guarantees that there will be a committee formed to facilitate meetings between the IPS and prisoners in order to improve their daily conditions; there will be no new administrative detention orders or renewals of administrative detention orders for the 308 Palestinians currently in administrative detention, unless the secret files, upon which administrative detention is based, contain ‘very serious’ information.
For the five administrative detainees on protracted hunger strikes, including Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, who engaged in hunger strike for a miraculous 77 days, their administrative detention orders will not be renewed and they will be released upon the expiration of their current orders. These five have been transferred to public hospitals to receive adequate healthcare during their fragile recovery periods. In regards to Israel’s practice of administrative detention as a whole, Ahmad Sa’adat further noted that the agreement includes limitations to its widespread use in general. Addameer is concerned that these provisions of the agreement will not explicitly solve Israel’s lenient and problematic application of administrative detention, which as it stands is in stark violation of international law”.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights [PCHR] in Gaza issued a statement expressing “respect for the prisoners’ decision to end their open-ended hunger strike”. It noted that “Almost a third of Palestinian prisoners in Israel started a hunger strike on 17 April 2012. Other individual prisoners started to hunger strike on 29 February 2012. The demands of the prisoners on hunger strike included improving detention conditions in Israeli jails and detention centers, allowing family visitations, especially for prisoners from the Gaza Strip, putting an end to solitary confinement, putting an end to administrative detention, allowing prisoners to pursue their education, and putting an end to night searching campaigns”.
PCHR stated that “This hunger strike is one of the most serious hunger strikes in the Israeli jails. It is also the most complex, as it was the longest. The agreement reached, which will hopefully set a standard for Palestinian prisoners’ demands, would not have been reached without the struggle and persistence of prisoners who put their lives at risk, in one of the highest forms of resistance and peaceful protest … In this context, PCHR reiterates that releasing all of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is a principal demand”.
The agreement was not welcomed by everyone in Israel, however. It was reported on the Arutz Sheva website here that Knesset member Danny Danon of the Likud party denounced the agreement and vowed to work to derail it:
- “This deal is a serious mistake … Rather than making things harder on the terrorists, they give them gifts. The situation of security prisoners must be clear: no family visits, no special benefits, and key prisoners must be confined seperately … We would not allow a Hizbullah prisoner visits, and there is no reason to give Hamas prisoners visits. Both deny the existence of Israel”. The publication noted that “The hunger strike has been used by the prisoners – and Fatah and Hamas leaders – as a vehicle for attacking Israel’s administrative detention laws”. And, it was also reported in the same piece that “Danon told Arutz Sheva he plans to demand an urgent hearing by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to debate the details of the agreement, and hopefully prevent its implementation”.
Israeli Government spokesperson Mark Regev told the television cameras yesterday, biting each word for distinctness, that Israel negotiated the deal at the request of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.