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Egypt tries to end Palestinian hunger strike
May 12, 2012 14:52
PA prisoners minister: Cairo is involved in talks with Palestinians, Israel; solidarity rallies to be held in three Israeli cities.
Palestinians in Ramallah hold prisoners' pictures

Palestinians in Ramallah hold pictures of prisoners 370 (R). (photo credit:REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

Egypt is mediating negotiations between Israel and Palestinian officials in a prospective deal to end a mass hunger strike by Palestinians in Israeli prisons, PA Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe said on Saturday.

A comprehensive deal to end the hunger strike, which some 1,600 prisoners are participating in, is being discussed by the parties, Qaraqe told Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

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Among the issues being discussed are an end to the practice of imprisoning Palestinians under administrative detention, restoring privileges for families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip and moving prisoners out of solitary confinement, according to the report.

Although the government is conducting the negotiations, representatives of the prisoners themselves would need to agree to a deal before the hunger strike is ended, the PA minister said, according to the report.

Rallies were held throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories Saturday in a show of solidarity with the hunger-striking prisoners.

On Friday, hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli prisons said they would escalate their hunger strike, shunning vitamin supplements and prison clinics.

“We swear we will not retreat. We are potential martyrs. Either we live in dignity or die,” prisoner organizers said in a letter announcing the move. The letter was read out by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in the Gaza Strip during a demonstration.

Reuters contributed to this report
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