Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jail begin hunger strike

Palestinian prisoners walk at the yard of the Israeli prison of Megiddo

Hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli jails are beginning a mass hunger strike in protest against their conditions.

Palestinians started to mark Palestinian Prisoners' Day in April 1974, when Israel released Mahmoud Hijazi in the first prisoner swap between the Palestinian resistance and the occupation state. The Palestinian Prisoners Club put the number at 1,500.

Inspired by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, up to 2,000 Palestinian prisoners have reportedly gone on a hunger strike, demanding improved prison conditions, including visits, medical treatment, and education. "There will be an update later."Barghouti is now serving five life sentences for his role in murderous terror attacks during the Second Intifada in the early 2000s".

"It's being led by Marwan Barghouti, a key Palestinian political figure found guilty of directing deadly attacks on Israelis", Daniel adds.

About 700 prisoners joined the protest, which was announced overnight between Sunday and Monday, to coincide with the Palestinian Prisoners' Day.

He further accused Israel of establishing "a form of judicial apartheid" that lets Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians off easy, while "criminalizing Palestinian presence and resistance".

"Decades of experience have proved that Israel's inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong".

The hunger strikers' long list of demands includes an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, a policy where Israel holds prisoners without charge or trial.

"The prisoners agree to have their calls monitored by the Prison Service, so that the alleged security reasons given by the Prison Service and the Shin Bet against installing telephones are void", he said, according to Ha'aretz.

The 57-year-old Barghouti says that he has been in and out of prison since the age of 15.

Barghouti wrote in an op-ed published in The New York Times on Monday that Israeli prison authorities are violating prisoners' rights. They have only recently subsided after the 2014 Gaza war and a wave of Palestinian attacks that has declined only in recent months. 21 prisoners have cancer, 34 suffer from various psychological and physical disorders while 19 stay at Ramla prison hospital permanently due to their serious injuries and diseases.

A report issued by Amnesty last week, containing interviews with prisoners' family members highlighted the difficulties many complain of in seeing imprisoned relatives, with some saying they have been prevented from seeing relatives for many years.

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