Gaza Nativity Church deportees participate in Palestinian hunger strikes

Gaza Nativity Church deportees participate in Palestinian hunger strikes
2 min read
10 May, 2017
'We were also prisoners in Israeli jails and know well the suffering our heroic prisoners are facing'
Israeli tank outside the Nativity Church during 2002 siege [Getty]

A group of Palestinians who were deported to Gaza after the 2002 siege of the Nativity Church will go on hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian detainees who are on their 23rd day without food as a protest against prison conditions.

A representative of the exiled personnel Fahmi Kanaan said they plan to begin their strike on Wednesday 10 May, which also coincides with the 15th anniversary of their exile.

Families of the deportees who are still residing in Bethlehem are also going to participate in the hunger strike as a further symbol of solidarity.

"We were also prisoners in Israeli jails and know well the suffering our heroic prisoners are facing," Kanaan said.

"It is our national duty to stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers," he added.

Since the hunger strikes began on 17 April, scores of Palestinian groups and figures have come out in support of them and have chosen to continue their hunger strikes.

Read more: Palestinian organisations 'will sue' if Israel force-feeds hunger strikers

On Saturday, former Palestinian fighter Leila Khaled and Catholic patriarch Gregory III Lahham announced that they will undertake a hunger-strike in solidarity.

On Monday, new Hamas leader Ismail Haniya reiterated Hamas' support for the hunger strikers and expressed his own personal solidarity.

"Your freedom is a national duty and your dignity is our dignity," he told the hunger strikers.

Around 1,500 Palestinians in Israeli jails have been refusing food since 17 April.

The strikers have issued a list of demands including better medical services, family visits and more dignified detention conditions.

Some 850,000 Palestinians have been incarcerated since Israel's occupation of the territories 50 years ago, Palestinian leaders say.