Hamas warns Israel against hunger strike deaths (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Elior Levy Published: 05.04.12, 23:19)
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Islamist group says death of any Palestinian prisoner held in Israel
will lead to ´unexpected response´; MK Zahalka warns of third
intifada if prisoner dies; prisoners turn to Turkey´s Erdogan for
A leader of the Islamist Hamas movement on Friday warned Israel there
would be consequences if any of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger
strike dies in jail.
“You must realize that the hunger strike isn’t a party, and we could
be surprised by the death of some of them,” Khalil al-Haya said at a
solidarity tent for the strikers in the center of Gaza City.
“If that happens, you can expect both the expected and the unexpected
from us,” he said.
Two Palestinians, Bilal Diab, 34, and 27-year-old Thaer Halahla, have
been on hunger strike for 66 days.
The two have been joined on hunger strike by at least 1,550
Palestinian prisoners, the bulk of whom began refusing food on April
“We are summoned to ready armies to free our prisoners... We have the
means to mobilize and for combat,” Haya said.
The radical Islamic Jihad movement has threatened to no longer
observe a truce with Israel if one of the hunger-strikers dies.
Rallies in solidarity with the prisoners were staged on Friday across
the Palestinian territories, with around 2,000 gathering in Ramallah
in the West Bank.
The hunger-strikers are calling for improved prison conditions,
including increased access to lawyers and family visits, an end to
solitary confinement and an end to administrative detention.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed his chief
negotiator Saeb Erekat to head the Palestinian Authority´s efforts to
resolve the crisis diplomatically.
Al-Haya called on Abbas to discuss the issue with international
elements in order to "expose Israel´s crimes."
He said: "Why is it that the international community remains silent
on issues related to the Palestinian people? Where is (UN Secretary-
General) Ban Ki-moon, who has never met any of the Palestinian
prisoners´ relatives but met Gilad Shalit´s father on a number of
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh also addressed the issue, saying
his government was encouraging Arab and international diplomats to
pressure Israel into releasing the prisoners and accepting
their "just demands."
Haniyeh said he had recently sent Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan a letter written by the leaders of the Palestinian prisoners.
The prisoners apparently asked for Turkey´s assistance in applying
pressure on Israel.
Meanwhile, the Arab League is expected to meet next week to discuss
the prisoners issue following a request by the Palestinian
representative to the regional organization. Haniyeh said he hoped
the Arab League´s decisions won´t amount to "just ink on paper."
Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian minister for prisoners´ affairs, said
Friday that a special committee set up by the Israel Prison Service
has agreed to improve the inmates´ conditions, but it has yet to
provide its answer regarding family visits from Gaza and the
prisoners´ demand to have the option to study while incarcerated.
As for the solitary confinement issue, Qaraqe said the committee
decided that another committee will convene once a month to discuss
the cases of four prisoners and consider the possibility of releasing
them from solitary confinement.
The minister said the prisoners´ leaders are reviewing the
Arab-Israeli Knesset members also warned of the strike´s possible
ramifications. "The prisoner strike will ignite a third intifada
(uprising)," MK Jamal Zahalka (National Democratic Assembly) said
during a rally in Kfar Kana on Friday.
"This is the calm before the storm, but if one of the prisoners dies,
it will trigger a revolt within Israel´s prisons and a third
intifada," he said. "Shalit returned, so all the rights the prisoners
had in the past must be reinstated." (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth
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