Israel, Palestinian prisoners on verge of deal to end hunger strike (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Jack Khoury 05/14/12)
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A member of the Fatah Central Committee revealed Sunday that Israel
was on the verge of signing an agreement with the Palestinian
Prisoner´s Association to end a months-long hunger strike.
Azam al-Ahmad indicated in an interview with Palestinian media outlet
Ma’an that he arrived in Cairo under orders from Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas in order to reach an agreement over the issue
of the prisoners. Included in the reported deal was the demand to
cancel the policy of solitary confinement as well as granting
visiting permits to the families of imprisoned Palestinians from Gaza.
Sources in the Palestinian Prisoner Association told Haaretz that
the agreement formed by the Israel Prison Services will be presented
to the group on Monday.
The sources also stated that the agreement will include three main
clauses relating to administrative detention, solitary confinement
and granting visiting permits to families from Gaza.
Al-Ahmad also that he had met several Egyptian officials in Cairo,
who are mediating the case on behalf several Palestinians on hunger
strikes in Israeli prisons, including senior intelligence official
Raafat Shehata, and General Nader al-Assad.
The two were heavily involved in talks to release Gilad Shalit, and
Shehata himself was the one to bring Shalit from Hamas to Israel at
Gaza’s Rafah crossing.
Over the weekend, Haaretz reported progress regarding talks between
prisoners and the Israel Prison service, including the lifting of
sanctions, in place since before the Gilad Shalit deal, that
prohibited academic studies in prison, as well as books and other
writing materials. The main points of discussion that remain are
visits for prisoners from family members residing in Gaza, and
extended solitary confinement.
Representatives of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club reported that
hunger-striking prisoners are receiving an outpouring of support from
among the Palestinian public in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel, as
well as from human rights organizations and left-wing activists.
On Friday and Saturday, processions were held in Umm al-Fahm, Kfar
Kana, and Haifa, during which some youths declared the start of a
three day hunger strike of their own, a display of solidarity with
the prisoners. Political organizations from both sides of the Green
Line issued a public statement of support for the prisoners,
especially for prisoners held in administrative detention.
The public manifesto was signed by political parties Hadash, Balad,
National Union, The Palestinian People’s party, Democratic Front for
the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine, among others. “The immediate demand to the Israeli
government is the release of all administrative detainees, and all
prisoners, those on hunger-strikes and those who aren’t,” read the
“Also, we are calling for the end of the policy of administrative
detention, as a method for arrest without trial, based on secret
information not shared with prisoners or layers. This policy is not
in line with basic standards of justice,” continued the statement.
The statement also accused the Israel Prison Service of ignoring the
demands of long-time prisoners to end extended solitary confinement,
and permit visits from family members residing in Gaza. The statement
also noted that the hunger strike is not being carried out only as a
struggle for prisoners, but as part of the national struggle to end
the occupation of Palestine as well. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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