Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails begin hunger strike

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails begin hunger strike

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails begin hunger strike

There are now 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, including more than 500 administrative detainees, according to Jerusalem-based prisoner rights group Addameer.

Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoner affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said on Monday that around 1,300 prisoners were on hunger strike and the number could rise.

The agitation is being led by Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving several life terms for five murders, the news agency said.

Palestinian protesters run for cover from tear gas canisters fired by Israeli troops during clashes following a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem April 17, 2017.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails began a hunger strike, the Israel Prison Service announced.

Some 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge, prompting prisoners to launch repeated hunger strikes over the years - but rarely on such a large scale.

Israeli security forces have detained around one million Palestinians in the nearly 69 years since the Jewish state was established in 1948, Palestinian prisoner rights groups have said.

Barghouti has been touted as a possible future successor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Missing from the op-ed and the Times byline was that Barghouti is in prison after being convicted of overseeing three terrorist attacks that killed five people, including a police officer and a Greek Orthodox priest.

"The prisons service has started taking disciplinary measures against the strikers and in addition a number of prisoners have been transferred to separate wings", he said.

"When a despicable murderer like Barghouti protests in prison for improved conditions, while the relatives of those he murdered are still in pain, there is only one solution - death penalty for terrorists", Katz wrote.

Barghouti was arrested in 2002 during the violent Palestinian uprising and convicted on multiple counts of murder.

The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, which oversees relations between the Israeli army and the Palestinians, also slammed the newspaper for omitting Barghouti's history. The Islamic militant group Hamas, which seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007, has called for an Islamic state in historic Palestine, including in what is now Israel.

Israel has moved quickly to combat a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners demanding better conditions.

While hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners are not uncommon, the scale of this movement is unusual.

Earlier on Monday, around 1,300 prisoners went on ahunger strike on the Palestinian Prisoners Day.

There are fears the protest could fuel tensions across the occupied West Bank.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the June 1967 Mideast war.

A source from the ICRC told Ma'an the global organization had been notified that visits for Palestinian prisoners would be forbidden until further notice in response to the hunger strike, which official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Tuesday was being carried out by some 1,500 prisoners.

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