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Hamas threatens Israel if hunger striker dies (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST COM STAFF 05/05/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=268736 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
A Hamas leader warned Friday that Israel would face "unexpected" consequences if any of the approximately 1,550 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails currently on hunger strike were to die.

“You must realize that the hunger strike isn’t a party, and we could be surprised by the death of some of them,” AFP quoted Khalil al-Haya as saying at a solidarity tent for the strikers in Gaza City. “If that happens, you can expect both the expected and the unexpected from us,” he added.

Two Palestinian prisoners, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, have been on a hunger strike for 66 days. On April 17 they were joined in the strike by more than 1,500 other prisoners in protest of the Israeli practice of holding Palestinians in administrative detention without trial or having formal charges leveled against them. Palestinians have held rallies in Gaza and the West Bank in support of the prisoners.

On Thursday, Diab lost consciousness as Supreme Court Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Yoram Danziger and Noam Sohlberg heard a petition against the prisoners’ administrative detention. Diab was moved to the gastroenterology department of the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin, where his lawyer told reporters he was in “stable condition.” The court is expected to make a decision on the petition at a later date.

“We are summoned to ready armies to free our prisoners... We have the means to mobilize and for combat,” Haya was quoted as saying by Hamas on Friday. Rival Gaza Islamist movement, Islamic Jihad, has threatened to break an informal truce with Israel if one of the hunger strikers dies.

In addition to calling for an end to the practice of administrative detention, prisoners are also calling for an end to solitary confinement, visitation by family members from the Gaza Strip and the reversal of Israel´s decision to ban prisoners from engaging in academic studies and reading newspapers.

Palestinian news agency Ma´an reported Friday that Israel had agreed to meet some of the prisoners´ demands, including a greater spending stipend and the right to make phone calls. According to the report, the leaders of the hunger strike were currently considering the offer.

Ma´an also quoted Palestinian Authority official Nimmer Hammed as saying the PA was in communication with several countries, including the US, about the hunger strike.

The strike has already led human rights groups and UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk to condemn Israel´s treatment of Palestinian prisoners. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/05/12)

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