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Gandhian Hunger Strike is the Way for Palestine

By Niyati Agrawal

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is dated back to the 20th Century. Palestinians have been fighting for a long time to attain independence. The struggle has been long and has used many means which have been both violent and non-violent. The recent being hunger strikes.

Many revolutionary hunger strikes trace their inspiration to the Indian freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi. Hunger strike for the longest time known is a non-violent way of protest, which will compel the authorities to succumb to your demands. After all which establishment wants their reputation to suffer? To add on to the seriousness of it, the World Medical Association has termed force-feeding as a degrading and inhumane practice during a hunger strike. While the hunger strikes of Palestinian prisoners may not be directly be instigated by Gandhi, the agenda and the driving force remains the same. Freedom.

The hunger strikes for the first time in Israel prison were recorded in the year 1998, when the protest was simultaneously carried out in nine different prisons of Israel. The month long strike was backed by a mass protest in areas of Palestine, where 7 Palestinians were killed, 1000 wounded and around 60 Israelis were also injured. The strike ended after the Israeli authorities agreed to review the complaints of the prisoners. In April 2012, a prisoner Khader Adnan was released from the Israeli prison after fasting for sixty six days.

February 2012 saw a huge mass hunger strike when approximately 1800 prisoners went on fast to protest against the “administrative detention”. Israel has been carrying out the atrocity of “administrative detention” for quite some time now. In this practice Palestinians are captured and detained without trial on the grounds of threat to security. The prisoner can also be sent into solitary confinement and restrictions can be put on family visits.

This fast was however ended in May 2012, when it was reported that the prisoners have reached a deal with the Israeli prison authorities. According to the deal, the detention can extend only up to tenure of six months. After which if evidence and crime not proven, the prisoner needs to be set free. Also the conditions of the inmates of the prisoners were to be improved.

The most recent example of the positive outcome of these non violent protests is when two prisoners called off their hunger strike on 27th February 2013. They were a part of a group four prisoners who were on strike. The other two prisoners are now admitted in medical care as their health was deteriorating. The hunger strike of these two prisoners had also given rise to a violent protest resulting in the death of six Palestinians. The Israeli authorities have promised to release these them by the 21st May 2013.

This brings us down to the observation that need freedom, need change – hunger strike is the way. But should that be the case? Is barring oneself from the human right to food the only path to attaining other human right of freedom from torture and the right to free trial? Or will there be a sustainable solution?





The conflict between Israel and Palestine is an age old conflict which still continues claiming their authority over one single land and not allowing each other to follow their own rules or to gain authority over one’s own population. Due to this there have been arguments between the main officials of the two countries as well as several attacks taking away several innocent live. The main reason behind such a conflict is the inbuilt enemity and hate that exists between the two nationalities which even the UN couldn’t bring a mutual understanding of maintaining peace and order between the two.



The ‘If Americans Knew’ website mentioned that right ‘from the year 1967, Israel conquered these areas (the final 22 percent of mandatory Palestine), Palestinians continue to live under Israeli military occupation.’

Getting to know the fact that Israelis have captured authority over Palestinian land, the international law on another hand clearly proclaims that an occupying force is responsible for the protection of the civilian population living under its control.  By analysis of the above role to be played by the Israelis, it needs to support Palestinians in all its basic needs to survive. But through different news sources and continuous reading related to this issue, there’s a blind eye turned towards this. To be saved from taking the responsibility of protection, Israel only allows a Palestinian to manage on such municipal functions as education, health care, infrastructure and policing and only have an autonomous entity in this vicious circle of authority.

But in other circles of authority, Israel’s approach towards Palestinians is different in the following ways:

  1. Israeli forces regularly confiscate private land.
  2. They even imprison individuals without process  which including children.
  3. They physically abuse them under incarceration
  4. They demolish family homes
  5. Bulldoze orchards and crops of Palestinians
  6. Place entire towns under curfew
  7. Destroy shops and businesses; shoot, maim, and kill civilians.
  8. Palestinians are without power to stop any of it.

The ‘Americans knew’ WEBSITE also stated a true incident that ‘When a child is arrested, for example ,often by a group of armed soldiers in the middle of the night, parents can do nothing. Knowing that their son is most likely being beaten by soldiers on the way to the station, stripped and humiliated in prison, quite likely physically abused in multiple additional ways, and destined to be held ,perhaps in isolation for days, week, or months (all before a trial has even taken place), parents are without the ability to protect their child. Quite often, in fact, they cannot even visit him.

Finally, when the military trial under which their son is to be sentenced, often to years (sometimes decades) in prison – all they can do is hire a lawyer whose efforts, at best, will reduce the ultimate sentence by a few months. Rarely, if ever, can even the most skilled lawyer do more than afford the child a friendly face in court and be an outside witness to the injustice of the proceedings. Meanwhile, the presence of such a lawyer provides Israel cover for its “judicial system.”

The main reason behind the helplessness of Palestinians might be that they have no nation, no citizenship, and no ultimate power over their own lives.

Lately, Israelis also Palestinian appeal to the United Nations on Thursday to become a non-member state will make peace less likely. The reason behind such a denial from the Israelis might be the following:

  1. Palestinian President Abbas failed to gain full state recognition in 2011
  2. Israelis are concerned that Palestinians are trying to get statehood without compromise
  3. Among issues to be decided is the status of Jerusalem
  4. Abbas said according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an. “The whole world realizes that the Palestinian Authority, with all its political and security services, and administrative bodies, has been ready to upgrade its status for six years.”
  5. Khalil Ebed Allah said, “”There could be American sanctions, too,”
  6. David Weinberg( the Director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, a think-tank in Israel) Said “ “trying to grab statehood without having to compromise with Israel,”

Even the USA today WEBSITE reported this under the Headline ‘ISRAEL WARNS AGAINST u.n,BID’ dated NOVEMBER 29TH, 2012 THE Different comments of the Leaders Israel as well as Palestine:

  1. Abbas said according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an. “The whole world realizes that the Palestinian Authority, with all its political and security services, and administrative bodies, has been ready to upgrade its status for six years.”
  2. Khalil Ebed Allah said, “”There could be American sanctions, too,”
  3. David Weinberg( the Director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, a think-tank in Israel) Said “ “trying to grab statehood without having to compromise with Israel,”

It also highlighted that many U.N. countries are likely to agree to the Palestinian request, including France, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway, according to Israeli news outlet Ynet News. The United States sees it as the wrong move, according to the State Department.

If there’s a mutual understanding and agreement by more countries over such an appeal, there can be a possibility that Palestine improve its status, they will get a better bargaining power against Israel, which according to the past history has been stalling on negotiations while expanding settlements on land Palestinians want for a state.

The interference of the UN as well as other countries in this matter should be there and this in turn will help Enemity and Hate to disappear soon between these two nationalities

I reffered to the below links :