Israel rules out talks with Palestinian hunger striking inmates
20 April, 2017, 13:55 | Author: Leticia Walters
Barghouti's call for the strike has given it added credibility, with the 57-year-old serving five life sentences over his role in the violent second Palestinianintifada. On Monday, he was moved to solitary confinement.
There are fears that the hunger strike - observed by 1187 detainees, according to Israel's prison service - could fuel tensions across the Palestinian areas.
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Israeli troops and settlers pulled out of the Gaza Strip, now run by Hamas Islamists, in 2005, but peace talks on the creation of a Palestinian state collapsed with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2014.
In his opinion piece in the Times, Barghouti said a strike was the only way to gain concessions after other options had failed. However, Palestinians from the West Bank need an entry permit to enter Israel and the Israeli authorities often deny such permits.
These include more contact with relatives and loved ones, better living conditions and ultimately an end to the right of Israel's government to detain individuals without first giving them a fair trial.
Earlier on Monday, around 1,300 prisoners went on ahunger strike on the Palestinian Prisoners Day.
Some 6,500 Palestinians are now detained by Israel for a range of offenses and alleged crimes. Several hundred are being detained without charges.
In his op-ed published on Monday, Barghouti described hunger striking as "the most peaceful form of resistance available".
Liz Spayd wrote Tuesday that "Barghouti is an unusually popular political figure among Palestinians, especially for a man behind bars".
The protest has unsettled Israeli officials who also reacted furiously to an article penned by Barghouti justifying the strike in the New York Times. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court's jurisdiction and legitimacy. "When they ask for the basic rights like public telephone and regular visits by their families, these are legitimate rights", said Omar Yaghmour, the brother of a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike.
Barghouti is the former leader of the Tanzim armed wing of Fatah and the founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Fatah terror group.
He said Israel has established field hospitals outside the prisons to respond to any immediate medical needs.
"They are terrorists and incarcerated murderers who are getting what they deserve and we have no reason to negotiate with them", Mr Erdan told army radio. "My policy is that you can't negotiate with prisoners such as these".
"Guinness had developed complicated conditions for us but the views of the independent arbitrators, who were chosen by Guinness to monitor our work, were confirming that we have followed the conditions they set", he said.
In a punitive measure, Israel's prison service transferred Barghouti to solitary confinement in a different prison.
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