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Visting Actor Deplores Israeli Responses to Hunger Strike

Palestine Human Rights Campaign

Media Release May 6th 2012

Visiting Jewish Actor Miriam Margolyes
Deplores Israeli Responses
To Palestinian Hunger Strikers

1,500 to 2,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are on a hunger strike to demand better conditions and an end to detention without trial.

Known as the "battle of the empty stomachs," the open-ended strike began on April 17, 2012, Palestinian Prisoners' Day, with an initial 1,200 protestors but which has spread rapidly.

With one out of five Palestinians spending time in Israel's prisons—700,000 people since 1967—the mass incarceration of their society is an issue that effects all classes of Palestinians.

Renowned British actor Miriam Margolyes OBE who is Jewish and is currently touring New Zealand joins the Palestine Human Rights Campaign and Global Peace and Justice Auckland in condemning the shocking Israeli response to the hunger strikers.

Prisoners have been placed in solitary confinement, held in shackles despite their weakened conditions, denied family visits. Miriam says " if there were more than 1500 hunger strikers in any country in the world other than Palestine, the media in the West would be obsessed with the story."

Miriam has been outspoken in her support the burgeoning global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to bring pressure to bear upon Israel until it complies with international law, and endorse their insistence on the universality of human rights.

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The official Israeli responses to recent Palestinian moves away from violence have been to embark upon a programme of feverish settlement expansion, extensive targeted killing, and intensifying oppressiveness. There has been 50% increase in the number of Palestinians held under administrative detention during the last year, along with an officially mandated worsening of conditions throughout its prison system.

PHRC Spokesperson Billy Hania calls on John Key, the NZ government and the international community to "uphold its moral and legal obligations and bring an end to Israel's abhorrent subjugation of Palestinians most urgently, those on hunger strike whose lives are in immediate danger".

GPJA spokesperson John Minto says the group has written to Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully asking New Zealand to join condemnation of Israeli’s campaign of brutal oppression of Palestinians which includes mass detentions without trial.

“We applaud the courage of the Palestinian prisoners to get their voices heard. New Zealand must not just listen but act.”


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