The number of Palestinians held by Israel under administrative detention has risen
to 309, according to the United Nations the Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights in the Palestinian territories. Richard Falk made his statement, as part
of a 16-page report on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians that he delivered to the
UN Human Rights Council, which is holding its 20th session in Geneva through July
6. He said the majority of those in detention were prisoners of conscience who are
not linked to any violent activities. In his report, 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.
"It should be appreciated
that to embark upon a hunger strike of long duration is an extreme form of nonviolent
protest,” he said.
“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."