Palestinians rally to free hunger strikers 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
Two Palestinian security prisoners whose hunger strike stoked violence in the
West Bank have ended their protest after Israel agreed to release them in May,
the Prisons Service said on Thursday.
The men were among four prisoners
held without formal charge who have refused to eat for between three and six
Their worsening state, coupled with the death of a Palestinian
rock-thrower in Megiddo Prison on Saturday, fueled the violence in which at
least six Palestinians were shot and badly wounded.
“Jaafar Izzedine and
Tarek Qaadan have paused their hunger strike,” said Qadura Fares, head of an
advocacy group for Palestinian prisoners.
He confirmed that Israel had
agreed to release them on May 21 and said an Israeli court was expected to
ratify the deal early next month.
Israel holds 178 Palestinians as
administrative detainees – jailed without trial as suspected terrorists for
renewable three- to sixmonth terms based on classified evidence.
official with the Prisons Authority confirmed that Izzedine and Qaadan had
stopped their fast but did not comment on whether a deal was reached to free
Palestinian and Israeli officials are still seeking a deal for the
other two prisoners, Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawne.
They are being
treated in Israeli hospitals after months of intermittent hunger strikes against
their rearrests after having been freed in the 2011 prisoner swap for IDF
soldier Gilad Schalit, and then violating the terms of his release.
Israeli side has begun dialogue today to find a solution to this issue, but so
far they have not presented an acceptable offer,” the Palestinian Authority
minister of prisoners, Issa Qaraqa, told reporters, adding that Issawi and
Sharawne had refused an offer to be freed and deported.
At least six
Palestinians were wounded this week in clashes with Israeli troops after Arafat
Jaradat died in Megiddo Prison on Saturday.
A United Nations rights envoy
called on Wednesday for an independent inquiry into Jaradat’s death. UN
Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon appealed for calm and said Israel should either
put the Palestinians in its custody on trial, or release them.