Catholic leaders in the Holy Land urged Israel to concede to demands of Palestinian political prisoners on a hunger strike since 17 April.
The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land said the prisoners asked that their human rights and dignity be respected according to international law and the Geneva Convention. “We urge the Israeli authorities to hear the cry of the prisoners, to respect their human dignity, and to open a new door toward the making of peace,” the bishops said in a statement released on 29 April. “The aim of this desperate act is to shed light, both locally and internationally, on the inhuman conditions in which they are detained by the Israeli authorities.”
The bishops affirmed the need to apply international law to the conditions of incarceration of political prisoners and condemned “the use of detention without trial, all forms of collective punishment, as well as the use of duress and torture for whatever reason…Furthermore, we can never forget that every prisoner is a human being and his God-given dignity must be respected,” said the bishops.
Freeing prisoners will be a “sign of a new vision” which could mark a new beginning for Israelis and Palestinians, they said.