Palestinians in Israeli jails hold mass hunger strike

Protester shows solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah

The number of prisoners going on hunger strike was expected to expand to 2,000 of the Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails. Led by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, the strike will see Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum participate from within six prisons inside Israel.

"Instead of unlawfully transferring prisoners outside the occupied territories, Israel must ensure all Palestinians arrested there are held in prisons and detention centres in the Occupied Palestinian Territories".

The Times makes no mention of Barghouti's history, referring to him at the bottom of the op-ed as "a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian". Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences for murder for his role in the deadly uprising of the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s.

In reality, Barghouti's imprisonment was not "political", unless directing terror attacks now qualifies as a legitimate form of political expression. He is now serving multiple life sentences.

"The prisoners need local and regional support to achieve a series of humanitarian demands", Qaraqe said, calling upon the people of Palestine and national and official institutions to participate in activities supporting the Palestinian prisoners.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) reiterated its support for the issue of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails, hailing their determination to stage hunger strike in order to convey their message, voice, and suffering to the world in the face of arbitrary Israeli measures, inhuman treatment, and denial of basic rights.

In the West Bank town of Ramallah, Barghouti's wife, Fadwa, joined about 1,500 marchers.


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.

Authorities will set up a field hospital at the Ketziot prison in southern Israel to treat hunger strikers if needed, Librati said.

In an opinion piece in The New York Times on Monday, Barghouti said a strike was the only way to gain concessions after other options had failed.

Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed three years ago.

The inmates seek better access to medical care, increased visit duration from 45 to 90 minutes, removal of glass barriers to allow mothers to hold their children, free entry of books, clothing, food and other gifts from family members into prisons and installation of phones to enable prisoners to stay in touch with their families.

Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers have launched a mass hunger strike starting 17 April 2017.

Barghouti has remained politically active from behind bars, and is often touted as one of a few likely successors to the 82-year-old Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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