JVP-Health Advisory Council Statement of Concern About Conditions for Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

The following is a statement from the JVP Health Advisory Council, a network of JVP members who work in health, including physicians, nurses, mental health workers, social workers, public health workers, allied health professionals, complementary health practitioners, as well as others interested in human health.

Guided by the ethical standards of our professions in the health fields, the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council  (JVP-HAC) declares our support of the over 1600 Palestinian Prisoners engaged in the current mass hunger strike. As health workers our support for this act of civil disobedience is rooted in our concerns about the health conditions in Israeli prisons where over 6300 Palestinians, including 300 children, are being held as political prisoners.  Hunger striking is an act of last resort—using one’s life and body to protest conditions that are beyond deplorable.

Health workers are human rights defenders as defined by the United Nations.  As such we want to underscore the important message of Marwan Barghouti in his NYT editorial as it spells out clearly the violations of international human rights law by Israel in the treatment of Palestinian prisoners.  This is a system of injustice that should be of concern to all global citizens, and especially to Americans,  whose government provides more aid to Israel than to any other country.

Violations of human rights of Palestinians in Israeli prisons include the use of torture techniques such as physical and psychological abuse; sleep deprivation; threats of sexual abuse; solitary confinement; unfair trials where the conviction rate of Palestinians nears 99%; failure to provide adequate medical care for prisoners; detention in locations where family members are prohibited from visiting; administrative detention (being held without charges or trial); and violations of the specific rights guaranteed to children who are held in detention.

Through our support of the hunger strikers, we urge our government representatives to require that Israel:
1. Address the demands of the political prisoners,
2.  End the occupation, which is the root cause for Palestinian political prisoners.

We demand full justice for the Palestinian people.

The JVP-Health Advisory Council



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