A United Nations official on Wednesday expressed concern about the well-being of Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist detainees in Israeli prisons and in particular about the condition of hunger striker Samer Issawi, AFP reports.
A UN statement quoted in the report said that Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley met in Ramallah with the PA’s prisoner affairs minister, Issa Qaraqe.
During the meeting, Rawley "expressed the United Nations' continued concern about Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody," according to the statement.
"They discussed the situation of four Palestinian detainees currently on hunger strike and, in particular, the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for more than 200 days," it said, according to AFP.
Six terrorist prisoners held by Israel are currently on hunger strike, the report said, the longest serving being Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh who have been fasting for months in protest of their being kept in administrative detention.
Rawley called for an end to the practice of administrative detention, saying in the statement, “The Humanitarian Coordinator reiterated the position of the United Nations Secretary-General, namely that those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or released without delay.”
Hunger striking to bring about a release from Israeli prisons has become a common tactic among PA Arab terrorist prisoners in recent months.
In October, Israeli authorities released a hunger striker ended his strike after assurances they would be freed at the end of their current administrative detention term.
Last April, Israel released Hana Shalbi, a female terrorist, after a 43-day hunger strike.
Shalbi, a terrorist from the Islamic Jihad organization, was arrested for terrorist activity in 2010. She refused to cooperate with interrogators and was violent towards them. This violence included threatening their lives, trying to attack one of them, spitting at police officers, and even biting a policewoman.
Another famous case of a hunger striking terrorist being released is that of Khader Adnan, who had gone a on a hunger strike for 66 days to pressure the State to release him. The hunger strike resulted in Adnan being admitted to hospital.
The State later caved in to the pressure and agreed not to renew Adnan’s administrative detention order. He, in turn, agreed to end his hunger strike.
Last year, between 1,600 and 2,000 terror prisoners in Israel took part in a collective hunger strike which ended with an agreement with prison administrators on May 14.
On Tuesday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to intervene urgently in support of the hunger striking prisoners, warning that “things may get out of control” if it does not intervene.
On Wednesday, Egypt expressed "concern" for the well-being of the hunger strikers in Israeli prisons and warned that endangering their lives could inflame tensions in PA-assigned areas.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr "expressed his concern over reports about the deteriorating health of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails, especially Samer Assawi and Ayman Sharawneh," a ministry statement quoted by AFP said.
"Amr warned that endangering their lives could lead to an increase in prevailing tensions, with consequences in Palestinian lands," he added, demanding the international community intervene.