Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails end hunger strike after deal


A spokeswoman for Israel's prison service says a mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners has ended after 40 days.

Led by Marwan Barghouti, a militant from the ruling Fatah party and a political rival to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the strike included almost 1,600 prisoners during the last month, making it the largest such prisoner demonstration in recent memory.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas had urged United States counterpart Donald Trump to raise the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to the region earlier this week. According to the Israel Prison Service, the parties agreed only to the demand of an additional visit every month.

About 1500 prisoners began their hunger strike on April 27 to demand improvements in conditions and an end to solitary confinement, heavy restrictions on family visits and administrative detention - prolonged imprisonment without charge.

With the exception of the UN High Commissioner and the International Red Cross Committee, the international community is oblivious to the tragedy of Palestinians in Israel, be it in jails or outside, in the bigger prison.

Israel has more than 6,000 Palestinians now in prison; more than 500 haven't had a trial.

After 40 days, today (Saturday), the Palestinian security prisoners announced the end of the hunger-strike.

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Noting that the deteriorating conditions in Gaza and the West Bank only fuel anger and instability, Mr. Mladenov urged all sides to forge a genuine reconciliation. The strike's end coincided with the start of Ramadan, a monthlong Muslim holiday.

Barghouti is serving five life terms after being convicted by an Israeli court of directing two shooting attacks and a bombing that killed five people.

Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, which works on behalf of inmates, said some points of the agreement would be discussed further. They have been surviving on water and salt.

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

President Donald Trump pushed for peace between Israel and the Palestinians when he visited the region this week but gave no details on how to achieve that.

Last week, Palestinians observed a second general strike in solidarity with the hunger striking detainees.