1,600 Palestinian prisoners to go on hunger strike (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 04/15/12)
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Some 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons will go on an open-ended
hunger strike starting April 17, the Palestinian Authority’s minister
for prisoner affairs, Issa Qaraqi, announced Saturday.
The prisoners are demanding an end to administrative detentions and
solitary confinement. They are also demanding that Israel permit
visits by families from the Gaza Strip and cancel its decision to ban
prisoners from engaging in academic studies and reading newspapers.
“The situation inside Israeli prisons has become very dangerous and
serious,” Qaraqi told reporters in Ramallah after being informed by
the prisoners of their decision to embark on the hunger strike. “The
Israeli government is using the prisoners as a tool to retaliate
against the Palestinian people and their leadership.”
The prisoners who will take part are affiliated with Hamas, Islamic
Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Fatah prisoners have yet to decide whether they want to join the
hunger strike or not, said Fares Kadoura, chairman of the Palestinian
Prisoners Club in the West Bank. Kadoura expressed concern over the
fact that the prisoners had been unable to reach a unanimous decision.
The Fatah prisoners suggested that the strike start on May 10 in
order to give more time to negotiations with the Prisons Service.
Qaraqi urged the prisoners to unite, warning against divisions among
the inmates as a result of various political affiliations.
“We won’t accept a situation where the prisoners are dragged into
political or factional matters,” he said. “The prisoners must be
united in their plans and struggle.”
The hunger strike is set to begin on what Palestinians call Prisoners
Qaraqi urged Palestinians to participate in the day’s rallies and
demonstrations in solidarity with the striking prisoners.
There was no immediate comment on the planned hunger strike from the
Prisons Service. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/15/12)
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