PIJ prisoners end hunger strike, claim most demands were met by Israel

Despite PIJ claiming that 250 prisoners participated in the hunger strike, sources said that “less than 50 prisoners participated."

Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants take part in the funeral of their comrade in the southern Gaza Strip November 14, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants take part in the funeral of their comrade in the southern Gaza Strip November 14, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organization said on Friday that its prisoners have suspended their hunger strike after most of their demands were met by Israel.

Israeli security sources, however, denied the claim.

The sources said that contrary to PIJ claims, “less than 50 prisoners participated in the hunger strike”; PIJ claimed that 250 prisoners took part.

“The prisoners decided to suspend the hunger strike after they scored victory against the administration of the occupation prison authorities,” said PIJ official Tareq Ezaddin.  “The victory is a turning point in the confrontation with the [Israeli] jailer,” he added.

 A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS) A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

A group called The Leading Body of the Prisoners of Islamic Jihad said that the hunger strike, which lasted nine days, was launched in protest against punitive measures imposed on its members after six inmates escaped from Gilboa Prison last month. Five of the escapees belong to PIJ, while the sixth, Zakariya Zubeidi, is a member of the ruling Fatah faction.

The group claimed that the decision to end the hunger strike came after “difficult negotiations” between the prisoners and the Israeli authorities.

It claimed that the two sides reached a deal that includes “the immediate cessation of the frenzied attack against the sons of Islamic Jihad and the lifting of all punitive measures.”

The purported deal calls for ending the solitary confinement of PIJ prisoners, improving the conditions of female prisoners and canceling fines imposed on inmates, according to the group.

“This victory is a victory for all our Palestinian people and the free people of the world,” it said. Ahmed al-Mudallal, a senior PIJ official in the Gaza Strip, said that the “victory of the prisoners in the occupation prisons is an inevitable result of the solid and strong will they possessed and with which they faced this brutality and violence by the prison administration in retaliation for the heroic Gilboa Prison operation.”

Sheikh Khader Adnan, a senior PIJ official in the West Bank, “congratulated” the families of the prisoners of PIJ for ending the hunger strike.

On Thursday, PIJ threatened to expand the hunger strike to include all 400 of its prisoners if the demands of the inmates are not met.