Youth convicted of Abu Khder murder begins hunger strike

Yair Ben David, convicted for murder of Mohammed Abu Khder, demands he receive the same prison conditions as Arab nationalist prisoners.

Shimon Cohen ,

Maximum security prison in Israel
Maximum security prison in Israel
Flash 90

Yair Ben David, who was convicted of the murder of Mohammed Abu Khder, started a hunger strike 11 days ago.

Arutz Sheva spoke with his lawyer, attorney Azriel Friedenberg, about the motives of the strike and the attempts to dissuade him from continuing it.

"Yair is asking for something of great value. He is not asking for any benefit, but rather a comparison between a, quote, Jewish terrorist, and an Arab terrorist who killed Israelis and Jews," Friedenberg explained, adding that "He sees, as every citizen does, that every Arab terrorist who murdered Jewish children in their beds or adults arrives at a prisoners’ summer camp between the walls of the prison and is released afterwards, while Israelis who got carried away and reached a situation of nationalist murder are languishing in prison. He is seeking equality in punishment and equality in release. "

According to Attorney Friedenberg, the reality is that there is discrimination against Jewish prisoners compared to Arabs. "The charge is ostensibly the same, but the result is different."

Friedenberg also mentioned that Ben David carried out the offense when he was a 16-year-old minor. "Aharon Barak's ruling, that a minor has no ideology that motivates him except his age, environmental circumstances and social pressure, is known. That’s what happened with Yair. He carried out the act after the murder of the three youths, and the very next day got carried away into the act. Without ideology.”

As for the conditions under which his client is being held, Friedenberg explains that "It is not the conditions that drove him to the hunger strike, however the conditions are unbearable. There are no open visits or open phone calls. Everything permitted for a prisoner convicted of a criminal murder is not granted to a person defined as a Jewish nationalist prisoner, even if he only imprisoned over graffiti. The reality is that a security prisoner is treated worse than a criminal prisoner convicted of murder, who is permitted open visits and conversations. "

According to Friedenberg, Ben David seems determined to continue the hunger strike until the prison changes its discriminatory policies. "He wants equality," says the lawyer, who adds that, while it is clear to Ben David that nobody is releasing him tomorrow, he demands that he, too, have a chance of being released, in contrast to his chances now due to his classification as a nationalist prisoner.

"The prison service is trying to persuade him to stop the hunger strike by bringing him social workers and the prison doctor, who explain that he is harming his physical condition and is approaching unconsciousness, after which things will be out of his control." Ben David, it appears, has no intention of paying heed to these calls.