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Palestinian prisoners suspend 40-day mass hunger strike after reaching deal

By Zann H. - May 27, 2017
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Hunger Strike] [Human rights]

Just shortly before the commencement of Ramadan in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 27, the mass hunger strike held by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails was finally suspended.

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike on April 17 in demand for more rights and better conditions in jails.

Initiated by Marwan Barghouti, a high profile Fatah leader who was sentenced to five life terms in 2004 for the killing of Israelis during the second intifada, the hunger strike is one of the longest and with the most participants.
The hunger strike is also a statement/protest against the illegal practice of administrative detention without trial which thousands of prisoners have been subjected to since the 1980s and the practice of solitary confinement.
Based on a report by Addameer, a Jerusalem-based prisoner rights group, there are currently about 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners and more than 500 administrative detainees held by Israel. 
The 40-day hunger strike also sparked off a series of demonstrations, strikes and protests held in solidarity with the prisoners as well as violent clashes with the Israeli defense forces in the occupied West Bank, resulting in a few deaths and many casualties.
The persistence of the hunger strikers in their struggle for 'freedom and dignity’ finally bore fruit. According to Haaretz, two of the primary demands of prisoners for more family visitation rights and to be able to converse with their families on public phones, under supervision, were granted. 

The hunger strike also highlights how the Palestinian prisoners had no other recourse than to resort to such extreme physical measures in order for their rights and demands to be met by the Israeli authorities.  

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