Hundreds of Palestinians jailed in Israel go on hunger strike

21 April, 2017, 20:53 | Author: Valerie Burke

There are now 6,300 Palestinian political prisoners, 500 of them in administrative detention, according to the Palestinian prisoners' rights group, Addameer.

Mr Fares said hundreds of prisoners launched a 28-day strike in 2012.

Palestinian families seeking to visit their imprisoned relatives require permits to enter into Israel, which are usually given selectively and declined during Israeli army border closings.

Protests in support of the prisoners were held in the occupied West Bank on the first day of the strike on Monday, with youths clashing with Israeli security forces in Bethlehem.

Palestinians termed the open-ended strike a protest against poor conditions and an Israeli policy of detention without trial that has been applied against thousands since the 1980s.

Strikers have also said they want access to more television channels and compassionate release for disabled prisoners or those sufferings from chronic illnesses.

Furthermore, the Palestinian Detainees' Committee and the Palestinian Prisoner Society have reported that the prison authority in Galboa' Israeli prison has prevented the lawyers from visiting with hunger striking detainees.

Similar protests were held throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Over the years, polls have indicated that Barghouti is the most popular choice among Palestinians to succeed current PA head Mahmoud Abbas.

In an interview on Monday with the Times's editorial board, Mansour also said he had spoken by telephone with Barghouti's wife and quoted her as saying that "we hope this hunger strike will be short" and that the Israelis would grant the strikers' demands.

Barghouti began to call for a strike after talks between prisoners' representatives and the Israel Prisons Service - on improving prison conditions - reached an impasse.

Responding to Barghouti's hunger strike, Yisrael Katz, Israeli intelligence minister, described the Palestinian leader as a "despicable murderer" and called for the "death penalty for terrorists".

Convicted Fatah terrorist Marwan Barghouti (center) is escorted by Israeli police into the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court to testify as part of a U.S. civil lawsuit against the Palestinian leadership, in January 2012.

In an op-ed published in The New York Times, Barghouti wrote Israeli prisons have become the "cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination". Their plight raised tensions between the Palestinian public and Israeli authorities.

Barghouti, the strike leader, is prominent in the Fatah movement of Western-backed Palestinian President Abbas.

According to figures from the PNA, about 6,500 Palestinians are in 22 Israeli prisons and in detention centres, including 300 minors, 12 lawmakers and 28 journalists.

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