Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike in Return for Improved Rights

AP hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. AP
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31 May, 2017

"This is an important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners under global law, " the Free Marwan Barghouti campaign said in a released statement.

In particular, the prisoners demanded ending solitary confinement and detention without trial and the right for more family visits.

According to Prison service spokeswoman Nicole Englander, a compromise was reached, including a provision allowing for a second family visit per month, the Independent reported. Barghouti's wife Fadwa hailed a "victory for resistance and dignity" after the end of the 41-day hunger strike.

"It is also an indication of the reality of the Israeli occupation which has left no option to Palestinian prisoners but to starve themselves to achieve basic rights they are entitled to under worldwide law", the statement read.

The strike began in mid-April, with an op-ed in the New York Times penned by Barghouti, who protested "ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners".

It is not yet clear whether other demands by prisoners were addressed under the agreement.

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Speaking in an interview with BBC Arabic, Mordechai said that the decision came after the Palestinian Authority's announcement that it would not continue to pay the bill.

United Nations envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, 'all have obligations for the welfare of Gaza's residents'. More than 1600 prisoners participated in the hunger strike at the beginning of the strike. Around 550 Palestinian prisoners have not even been put through the charade of a court appearance.

Israeli officials had dismissed the strike as a political move orchestrated by Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who has always been seen as a potential successor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The last mass hunger strike occurred in 2014, when hundreds of prisoners protested the use of administrative detention. In the second week of May, a Palestinian was killed in the West Bank during a rally in support of the striking prisoners.

'How long do you think they can survive if this is further reduced to two hours of electricity per day?' Mladenov told the council, speaking via video uplink from Jerusalem.


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