Hunger-striking terrorist Mohammed Allaan may have caused an uproar against Israel from the Arab world – but despite the headlines, there has been a marked decline in the number of hunger strikers over the past several years, according to a report released Sunday.
Just 30 prisoners went on hunger strike between January and June 2015, Walla! News reports, after obtaining the information from police officials using the Freedom of Information Act. Those figures do not include the 180 Palestinian Arab prisoners who reportedly went on hunger strike in July – but most of them only went on strike for a short time.
By contrast, 724 prisoners went on a hunger strike in 2014 – and a whopping 2,551 in 2013.
The Israel Prison Service explained the decline in the number of hunger strikers between 2013 and 2014 by noting that Palestinian Arab opinions have changed dramatically over the past year.
"These are mass hunger strikes which are organized in part outside the prison for the Palestinian cause," a senior officer stated, noting the strikes were being used as leverage to protest what prisoners claim are unfair prison conditions – and damage Israel in the protest.
Since then, he said, Operation Brothers' Keeper and Operation Protective Edge – IDF offenses in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza – have occupied far more Palestinian public attention. As such, hunger strikes became less and less "useful."
Arab terrorist prisoners have turned hunger striking into a pressure tactic aimed at forcing Israel to release them out of fear for their lives. Israel has several times in the past caved to the pressure and released some hunger strikers.