Thursday, 23 May 2019
Media Release: 6 May 2012 Print
Tuesday, 08 May 2012



Media Release: 6 May 2012



Renowned British actor Miriam Margolyes, OBE, who is Jewish and currently touring New Zealand, joins the Palestine Human Rights Campaign and Global Peace and Justice Auckland in condemning the shocking Israeli response to the hunger strikers.

Prisoners have been placed in solitary confinement, held in shackles despite their weakened conditions and denied family visits. Miriam says, " If there were more than 1500 hunger strikers in any country in the world other than Palestine, the media in the West would be obsessed with the story."

Fifteen hundred to 2,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli gaols are on a hunger strike to demand better conditions and an end to detention without trial. Known as the "battle of the empty stomachs," the open-ended strike began on 17 April 2012, Palestinian Prisoners' Day, with an initial 1200 protesters, and has spread rapidly. With one out of five Palestinians spending time in Israel's prisons—700,000 people since 1967—the mass incarceration of their society is an issue that affects all Palestinians.

Miriam has been outspoken in her support for the burgeoning global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to bring pressure to bear upon Israel until it complies with international law, and endorse their insistence on the universality of human rights.

The official Israeli responses to recent Palestinian moves away from violence have been to embark upon a programme of feverish settlement expansion, extensive targeted killing, and intensifying oppressiveness. There has been a 50% increase in the number of Palestinians held under administrative detention during the last year, along with an officially mandated worsening of conditions throughout its prison system.

PHRC Spokesman, Billy Hania, calls on John Key, the NZ Government and the international community to "uphold its moral and legal obligations and bring an end to Israel's abhorrent subjugation of Palestinians. Most urgently, those on hunger strike, whose lives are in immediate danger".

GPJA spokesman, John Minto, says the group has written to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, asking New Zealand to join in condemnation of Israel’s campaign of brutal oppression of Palestinians, which includes mass detentions without trial. He says, We applaud the courage of the Palestinian prisoners to get their voices heard. New Zealand must not just listen but act.”


Billy Hania (Arabic and English) 09 215 4530 021 932 182

Janfrie Wakim 09 5200201 or 027 629 1004


John Minto 0220850161

Mike Treen 0295254744