Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Prisons End Hunger Strike

Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Prisons End Hunger Strike

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said Friday it was ending a collective hunger strike that began more than a week ago inside Israeli prisons. The hunger strike was stopped after they claimed their demands were met.

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"The prisoners decided to postpone the hunger strike after they scored a victory against the administration of the occupying prison authorities," said Islamic Jihad official Tareq Ezaddin, quoted in Al Monitor, Sunday (24/10).

Israel currently holds more than 4,600 Palestinians, more than 500 of whom are facing life sentences.

Following the escape of six Palestinian inmates from Gilboa Prison in northern Israel last month, prison officials have temporarily suspended family visits, separated groups of Islamic Jihad detainees and transferred others to solitary confinement in a bid to prevent another prison break.

The Associated Press quoted the Islamic Jihad group as saying that the Israel Prison Service had agreed to cancel the financial penalties and relocation of Palestinian prisoners. However, an unnamed Israeli prison official denied that an agreement had been reached.

A security official also told The Times of Israel that no negotiations had taken place. He said, if anything will change in the future, it has nothing to do with this.

Meanwhile, there are differences of opinion regarding the number of detainees involved in the nine-day hunger strike. The Islamic Jihad group put the number at 250, while Israeli officials said no more than 40 prisoners took part in the march.

In addition, six Palestinian inmates also launched a hunger strike to protest their administrative detention, a practice in which Israel holds detainees without charge.

A spokesman for the advocacy group Palestinian Prisoners Club said on Thursday that 24-year-old Miqdad al-Qawasmi was in very dangerous condition after more than three months on a hunger strike.

Al-Qawasmi was reportedly transferred to intensive care at an Israeli hospital earlier this week. However, it is reported that she continues to refuse to eat.

In a statement Thursday, UN human rights expert Michael Lynk condemned Israel's administrative detention of some 500 Palestinians, including six children, and called for their immediate release or trial.