Israel, Palestinian prisoners ink deal to end strike (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, YAAKOV LAPPIN, , YAAKOV KATZ 05/15/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Israel and Palestinian security prisoners on Monday signed an
Egyptian-mediated deal to end a 28-day hunger strike by inmates.
According to the terms of the agreement, Palestinian prisoners
committed to refrain from involvement in “activities against
security” within prison walls. In exchange, previously suspended
benefits will be reinstated by the Prisons Service, including the
renewal of familial visits and allowing inmates held in separate
cells to return to the general prison population.
The agreement was made possible after leaders of the striking
prisoners signed a commitment to completely halt terror activities
from inside Israeli prisons, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)
said in a rare statement.
Inmate leaders – who are outside prison – instructed the prisoners to
stop such terror activities, the statement said.
Palestinians hailed the prisoner agreement as a triumph, with both
Hamas and the Palestinian Authority taking credit for
In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians took to the streets to celebrate
the “victory” of the prisoners.
A small group of Palestinians in east Jerusalem also took to the
streets to celebrate the agreement. Some of them chanted slogans
calling for the abduction of IDF soldiers, to secure the release of
Various Palestinian political groups in the Gaza Strip praised the
striking inmates for their “legendary” endurance during the hunger
strike. The groups also praised Egypt for playing a major role in
mediating between the parties.
The Hamas government said that it had made tremendous efforts to end
the plight of the prisoners.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh thanked the Egyptians for their
role in helping to broker the agreement, official Egyptian newspaper
Al-Ahram’s website reported.
Speaking in Gaza, Haniyeh also congratulated the prisoners
who “successfully achieved their demands,” and praised
the “steadfastness of the prisoners,” according to the report.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials traveled to Cairo this week for
talks with the Egyptian government and PA representatives regarding
ways to end the hunger strike.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said that
Israel negotiated the strike-ending deal in response to a request
from PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
“It is our hope that this gesture by Israel will serve to build
confidence between the parties and advance peace,” he said.
The prisoner strike issue was discussed Saturday night when
Netanyahu’s envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, delivered a letter from the prime
minister to Abbas.
The Israeli Right slammed the deal.
Likud MK Danny Danon said the agreement was “a serious mistake.
Instead of worsening the [imprisonment] conditions of terrorists,
they are given presents. Prisoners’ conditions should be clear – no
family visits, no benefits in buying products and no release from
isolation for security prisoners.”
Danon said he would ask for an urgent discussion in the Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee on the agreement and would try to
prevent its implementation.
Some 1,600 prisoners, a third of the 4,800 Palestinians in Israeli
jails, began refusing food on April 17 in a protest that also
included demands for more family visits and an end to solitary
The peaceful campaign has focused attention on so-
called “administrative detention,” a practice that has drawn
international criticism, and raised fears of a violent Palestinian
backlash if any of the protesters die.
Israel had set a goal to end the hunger strike before “Nakba Day” on
Tuesday, amid fears that the strike would lead to greater violence by
Meanwhile, the families of prisoners Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahle,
who have been on hunger strike for more than two months, announced
that their sons were not part of the deal.
The families said that their sons have decided to continue their
hunger strike until they are released from prison.
Leaders of the inmates signed the agreement on behalf of all security
prisoners – belonging to all groups – being held in Israeli prisons.
The agreement is binding for prisoners who are rearrested in the
Before reaching the agreement, an Israeli committee made up of
representatives from the Prisons Service, Justice Ministry, Foreign
Ministry and Health Ministry, as well as the Shin Bet and National
Security Council, examined the prisoners’ request, and passed on
recommendations to Israeli decision-makers.
Prisoners who were on hunger strike will remain under medical
supervision to ensure that a return to eating will not result in
medical complications, Israeli authorities said.
The authorities added that the prisoners received their full legal
rights throughout the hunger strike.
Herb Keinon and JPS contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 05/15/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY