Palestinian Prisoner Demands: Getting Beyond The Spin

The issue of the palestinian prisoners has been all over the news, especially after imprisoned terrorist Marwan Barghouti was given a platform in the New York Times, was caught breaking his hunger strike, and the fallout from this.

Barghouti explained the hunger strike was to resist the “ill-treatment” of palestinian prisoners, and the policy of administrative detention. And most news reports refer to the protest as being over “poor conditions”, as well as administrative detention.

For example, this from Sky News yesterday:

More than 1,000 prisoners are refusing to eat in protest over poor conditions and the Israeli policy of detention without trial.

Naturally, the more biased media outlets make it sound even worse. Like Al Jazeera:

When nearly 1,500 Palestinian prisoners declared an open hunger strike on April 17, protesting about unfair and degrading conditions in Israel jails, much of the US mainstream media ignored them.

In this earlier post, I showed how palestinian prisoners are treated relatively well. But what I thought I would do now is look at the specific demands of the hunger striking prisoners and see whether they are basic rights or luxuries.

The prisoners’ demands seem to be set out here, while the basic rights of prisoners are mainly entrenched in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Here is my analysis based on a comparison of the two. Note that some of the demands were ambiguous, or more information is required.

[table id=1 /]

As you can see, almost all of the demands are for things beyond the basic necessities as laid out in the OHCHR’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. In other words, they are almost all “extras” and “luxuries.”

This is something to bear in mind when you read the plethora of news reports about the prisoners’ demands. As is the fact that so many of them are convicted terrorists.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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