Palestinians in Israeli prisons begin hunger strike

More than 1 000 Palestinian prisoners begin hunger strike

An Israeli minister said Tuesday that Israel will not negotiate with hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who launched Monday a hunger strike, demanding improved incarceration conditions. The initial description of him at the end of the op-ed reads, "Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian". Many are held under the Administrative Detention provision, which allows suspects to be held without charge for six months, BBC reported.

Marwan Barghouti, 58, was jailed by Israel for life for murders of Israelis during the 2000 to 2005 uprising. The nation's officials have also refuted Barghouti's claims that prisoners held in the country are regularly subjected to medical neglect and torture, as well as inhumane treatment.

Barghouti, who has been named as a possible successor to Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, called the strike "the most peaceful form of resistance available".

Ofer Zalzberg, a security analyst with the International Crisis Group - a transnational NGO, told Anadolu Agency that Israel was now trying to avoid being forced into making any concessions as a result of the hunger strike.

"Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel's illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners", he wrote.

According to Palestinian media reports, Zomlot spoke with Michael Ratney, the diplomat now in charge of the Israeli-Palestinian file at the State Department, about the reasons for the hunger strike and the demands raised by the prisoner leaders.

"We will not surrender to it", he wrote.

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

Responding to Barghouti's hunger strike, Yisrael Katz, Israeli intelligence minister, described the Palestinian leader as a "despicable murderer" and called for the "death penalty for terrorists".

The hunger-striking prisoners were calling for better conditions including access to phones, better medical services and extended visiting rights for their families.

Israeli prisons hold around 6,500 Palestinians, including 300 minors.

Later Monday, there were unconfirmed reports in both Israeli and Palestinian media that Barghouti had been moved from his usual prison, Hadarim, near Haifa, and had been placed in solitary confinement at another prison.

Top Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi called on the global community to bring an end to the "inhumane" treatment of Palestinian prisoners, which she said was in violation of the Geneva Convention. Polls suggest that the 58-year-old Barghouti is the most popular choice among Palestinians to succeed the 82-year-old Abbas.

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