Israeli security officials confirmed Sunday evening that they were working on an
arrangement to end a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli
jails. The official stressed, however, that the deal had not yet been completed
by Sunday night.
“We are expecting at any moment that an agreement with
the Israeli side will be signed in which the prisoners’ demands will be
implemented, in particular the end of solitary confinement and improving the
situation of the prisoners and allowing family visits,” senior Fatah official
Azzam al- Ahmad was quoted by the Palestinian news agency Ma’an as
“The agreement is in its last stages,” he added.
possible ending to the hunger strike comes on the eve of “Nakba Day,” which will
be held on Tuesday. The day of Palestinian mourning for the creation of the
Jewish state is often marked by protests within the Palestinian
territories. Already in the last few weeks, Palestinians have staged
almost daily protests in support of the prisoners, and their families have set
up protests tents in Ramallah.
Some 1,600 prisoners in Israeli jails
began a hunger strike on April 17, to protest the conditions under which they
are held, which were harshened during the time that soldier Gilad Schalit was
held in captivity in Gaza.
Additionally, eight Palestinians held under
administrative detention have been on a more prolonged hunger strike, on which
two – Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahleh, 34 – have reached their 76th
On Sunday evening, the PLO Executive Committee voiced support for PA
President Mahmoud Abbas’s demand to solve the issue of the Palestinian prisoners
in Israel who have been on hunger strikes for the past few weeks.
executive committee calls on the Quartet members to effectively intervene to
correct the path of the peace process and remove the hurdles blocking its way,”
the committee said in a statement. “We call on concerned international parties
to absorb this clear Israeli message aimed at foiling efforts to resume the
The PLO leaders also called for a day of fasting Monday
in solidarity with the striking Palestinian prisoners.
On Saturday, PA
Prisoners Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe told the Palestinian news agency that
Abbas, PA officials and Egyptian and international mediators had been working
hard to find a solution that secures the demands of the hunger
Both Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank have repeatedly
warned Israel that it would face “consequences” if any of the fasting prisoners
died of starvation.
Fatah prisoners held in Hamas jails in the Gaza Strip
began a separate hunger strike to protest against their incarceration,
Palestinian sources reported Sunday. The hunger strike is also in solidarity
with hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have been refusing
food for the past few weeks, the sources said.
The Fatah-affiliated Palestine Press News Agency
published a letter from the striking prisoners in Gaza in which they hold Hamas
responsible for their continued imprisonment, and appeal to Palestinians to
exert pressure on Hamas to stop arresting Fatah supporters.
prisoners in the shameful and despicable prisons belonging to the Hamas
government declare our support for the heroic prisoners languishing behind
Israeli bars,” the inmates wrote in their letter.
“We have decided to go
on hunger strike in solidarity with our brothers and call upon international
institutions to put pressure on Hamas and the Israeli government to release all
Hamas has denied arresting Palestinians because of their
political affiliations. A Hamas spokesman said that all the prisoners are being
held for their involvement in criminal activities and collaborating with
Fatah officials say that Hamas is holding at least 20 of their
men without trial.
Some Hamas prisoners held in PA prisons in the West
Bank had also gone on hunger strikes to protest against harsh conditions. Hamas
says that the PA is holding dozens of its supporters in West Bank prisons.