A record number of Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 16.
More than 1500 prisoners are taking part in the largest mass hunger strike in recent years. Marwan Barghouti, sentenced by Israel to five life sentences, is leading a renewed campaign to draw attention to the conditions Palestinian prisoners face.
It also aims to highlight the oppressive nature of Israel’s colonial occupation that makes arrests of Palestinian people all but inevitable.
What makes this hunger strike different is the broad support from prisoners from a wide range of political backgrounds, including Fatah and Hamas.
Barghouti, a member of Fatah, is the spokesperson of a new movement calling for “freedom and dignity”. There is the real possibility of securing broad support from outside Palestine for the prisoners’ immediate demands and the bigger questions of why there are so many Palestinian political prisoners at all.