Israel Vows Not to Negotiate with Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

Israeli occupation forces attacked protesters using rubber bullets and teargas to suppress demonstrations in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The Israel Prison Service said on Monday that it is undertaking "significant measures" against hunger strikers including moving some of them into solitary confinement.

Activists said more than 1,500 of about 6,500 Palestinian security prisoners joined the open-ended protest.

There were about 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails at the end of past year, according to Palestinian prisoners' groups.

Opinion polls indicate that Barghouti enjoys widespread support in his quest to replace Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Graffiti showing the iconic image of his cuffed hands raised above his head flashing a peace sign while being led away by Israeli authorities can be seen in the West Bank.

For its part, the administration of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) said that the article was unlawful, because Barghouthi was not given permission to write it.

The Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement: "The Palestinian prisoners are not political prisoners".

"It is to be emphasised that the IPS does not negotiate with prisoners".

Qadoura Fares, an advocate for prisoners' rights, said 6,500 Palestinians are now held by Israel.

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Hunger-striking Palestinians being held under administrative detention and Israeli authorities have negotiated deals in the past.

Erdan says the prisoners receive all privileges required by worldwide law. "Israel knew about this imminent strike and prepared itself so it would have what it calls "maximum stamina", Zalzberg said.

Barghouti is one of the best-known among thousands of Palestinians jailed for charges ranging from stone-throwing and membership in terror groups, to attacks that wounded or killed Israelis.

The strikers also want better medical treatment and that disabled inmates or those suffering chronic illness be freed, access to more television channels and more phone contact with relatives and more family visits.

It quoted Erdan as saying that the demands regarding prisoners' conditions were unreasonable.

Despite - or perhaps because of - his prison sentence, Barghouti's popularity has grown among Palestinians, and he is one of the few Palestinian leaders with support from both Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Abbas made no mention of Barghouti in his statement on WAFA. If successful, the strike would be the largest in recent years.

He has not publicly designated a successor.

This includes 300 minors and more than 500 administrative detainees.

Thirteen Palestinian lawmakers are also among the detainees. Those talks began more than a year and a half ago.

Other reports by VgToday

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