Some 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons will go on an open-ended hunger
strike starting April 17, the Palestinian Authority’s minister for prisoner
affairs, Issa Qaraqi, announced Saturday.
The prisoners are demanding an
end to administrative detentions and solitary confinement. They are also
demanding that Israel permit visits by families from the Gaza Strip and cancel
its decision to ban prisoners from engaging in academic studies and reading
“The situation inside Israeli prisons has become very
dangerous and serious,” Qaraqi told reporters in Ramallah after being informed
by the prisoners of their decision to embark on the hunger strike. “The Israeli
government is using the prisoners as a tool to retaliate against the Palestinian
people and their leadership.”
The prisoners who will take part are
affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
prisoners have yet to decide whether they want to join the hunger strike or not,
said Fares Kadoura, chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners Club in the West Bank.
Kadoura expressed concern over the fact that the prisoners had been unable to
reach a unanimous decision.
The Fatah prisoners suggested that the strike
start on May 10 in order to give more time to negotiations with the Prisons
Qaraqi urged the prisoners to unite, warning against divisions
among the inmates as a result of various political affiliations.
won’t accept a situation where the prisoners are dragged into political or
factional matters,” he said. “The prisoners must be united in their plans and
The hunger strike is set to begin on what Palestinians call
Qaraqi urged Palestinians to participate in the day’s
rallies and demonstrations in solidarity with the striking
There was no immediate comment on the planned hunger strike
from the Prisons Service.