Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt to talk to Israel about the demands of hunger-striking Palestinians in Israeli prisons. “We asked the American side to intervene in guaranteeing [our] prisoners’ rights and achieving their humane demands,” Abbas told the Fatah Central Committee on Thursday, according to official PA media. Abbas and Greenblatt met on Thursday morning for the second time this week and discussed the issue of the hunger strike in depth, PA media reported.
Since April 17, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, mainly affiliated with Fatah, have been carrying out a hunger-strike.The hunger-strikers are demanding that the Israel Prison Service end solitary confinement and detention without trial, increase visitation rights, and improve amenities. The IPS says that its treatment of prisoners meets international standards. Abbas added that he hopes to hear back from Greenbelt in the near future with answers from Israel.At a press conference with Trump on Tuesday, Abbas raised the issue of the hunger-strikers’ demands. “I call on the Israeli government to respond affirmatively to these humane and legitimate demands,” Abbas said.In the past week, Palestinian officials including General Intelligence Chief Majid Faraj, Preventative Security Chief Ziad Hab al-Rih, and Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh and Israeli officials have been negotiating a possible deal to end the hunger-strike.Sheikh told official PA radio on Monday that Israel had responded affirmatively to some of the hunger-strikers’ demands, without going into details. Meanwhile, Hamas urged Palestinians to take to the streets on Friday in a day of rage to support the hunger-strikers.“Hamas calls on our people to spark clashes with the Israeli occupation in a day or rage,” Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday night.
Palestinians hold rallies as hundreds of prisoners in Israeli jails begin a hunger strike (credit: REUTERS)