2 Palestinian Brothers on Hunger Strike for the 3rd Week in Israel’s Prisons

The two Palestinian brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul entered the third week of their hunger strike to protest their detention in Israeli prisons without charge or trial, according to a statement released by a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), According to the Palestinian media.

Two imprisoned brothers Mohamed and Mahmoud Balboul, from Bethlehem, are persisting in their hunger strike in protest against their administrative detention.

The lawyer reported that the two brothers, held in Israel’s Ofer prison, have experienced health issues as a result of their strikes. Muhammad, 26-year-old, has suffered from muscular spasms and his brother Mahmoud, 22-year-old, has lost 12 kilograms and has also suffered from spasms. Both have been on hunger strike for 16 days.

Following their hunger strike, the two prisoners were transferred to two different solitary confinement cells. The two brothers were arrested last June and held in administrative detention, while their sister Nuran, 14, was recently released after suspension for three months in Israeli jails.

Meanwhile, ten Palestinian prisoners affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) continued their hunger strike for the third consecutive day in solidarity with the hunger striker Bilal al-Kayed who has been on hunger strike for 34 days. The ten hunger strikers were transferred to solitary confinement amid very difficult detention conditions. Prisoner al-Kayed is going on hunger strike in protest at holding him in administrative detention immediately after he had finished his 15-year sentence in Israeli jails.

The al-Balboul brothers told PPS that they would continue their strike until they were released or Israel set an exact date for their release.

Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were detained on June 9 from Bethlehem, just two months after their 14-year-old sister, Nuran, was detained after attempting to cross Israel’s 300-checkpoint between northern Bethlehem and Jerusalem for allegedly possessing a knife, an accusation that locals denied.

Muhammad, a dentist, was sentenced to six months of administrative detention, while Mahmoud, a Master’s student at al-Quds University, was sentenced to five months.

Nuran was released from prison last week after serving three months in prison.

The three are children of Ahmad al-Balboul, a prominent leader in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was shot dead along with three other Palestinians by undercover Israeli forces in March 2008.

The two brothers have joined several other Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in an attempt to hold Israel accountable for its arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinians.

Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations.” As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

According to Palestinians, Israel uses the policy of administrative detention — internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence — to detain family members of Palestinian political leaders, in an extension of several policies that rights groups have deemed “collective punishment” aimed at disrupting family life for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held by Israel as of May, 715 of which were held in administrative detention.