The number of Palestinians held by Israel under administrative detention has risen to 309, according to a United Nations Human rights expert.
Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the majority of those in detention were prisoners of conscience who are not linked to any violent activities. He also said the detainees were subjected to harsh treatment during arrest, interrogation and detention.
In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, Mr Falk said Palestinians were increasingly embracing nonviolent tactics such as hunger strikes as a means to achieving positive progress towards the realization of their rights.
Mr. Falk noted the recent hunger strike by over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel was part of this broader shift in tactics. He said the rejection of armed resistance was in realization that it led to an intensification of hardships and sufferings associated with life under Israeli occupation.
«It should be appreciated that to embark upon a hunger strike of long duration is an extreme form of nonviolent protest. These hunger strikes, and other expressions of Palestinian nonviolent resistance, received no high profile attention within Western media coverage. This contributes to a false understanding of Palestinian tactics of opposition and sends the unfortunate signal that only violent protests will be noticed internationally. Israel continues to meet any provocation from Gaza with disproportionate responses. As Gaza continues to be subject to a blockade and its population to the ordeal of confinement that has now entered its sixth year, it is essential that normalcy be established as a matter of urgency.»