Ramallah prisoner demonstration 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Palestinian Authority has declared
Wednesday as a day of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who
have been on hunger strike for the past two weeks.
PA Prisoners Affairs
Minister Issa Qaraqi urged Palestinians to hold rallies and marches in support
of the prisoners.
Qaraqi expressed fear for the lives of some of the
prisoners who have refused food.
He claimed that Ahmed Sa’- dat, the
secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is in
critical condition because of the hunger strike.
Sa’dat was convicted for
his role in the October 2001 assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in
A meeting between representatives of the prisoners and heads
of the Prisons Service on Tuesday ended without reaching an agreement on ending
the hunger strike, Qaraqi said.
On Tuesday, families of Palestinian
prisoners demonstrated in several places in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in
support of their sons.
The striking prisoners are protesting against a
series of new measures imposed by the Prisons Service, especially the decision
to place some of them in solitary confinement.
The decision to toughen
the conditions of the Palestinian inmates was taken by the government as a means
of pressure to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who
has been in the Gaza Strip since 2006.
Kadoura Fares, chairman of the
Palestinian Prisoners Club, a group that represents the security prisoners in
Israel, called for a two-hour commercial strike in the Palestinian territories
on Wednesday in solidarity with the striking inmates.
The PA Foreign
Ministry has also sent letters to many governments around the world asking them
to intervene with Israel to “stop the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners,”
At the request of the PA, Arab League foreign ministers are
scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the conditions of the prisoners and
ways of applying pressure on Israel to accept their demands.
meanwhile, called on armed Palestinian groups to kidnap more IDF soldiers so
that they could be traded for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
Bahar, deputy speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council,
told a rally in support of the striking prisoners outside the Red Cross offices
in Gaza City that the abduction of IDF soldiers was the only way to secure the
release of Palestinian prisoners.
“The Zionist entity understands only
the language of force,” Bahar said.