Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launch mass hunger strike

Israeli authorities have canceled family visits to the approximately 1,500 Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike in protest of their prison conditions in Israel jails since yesterday.

Barghouti, a terror leader, was arrested in 2002 and convicted on multiple counts of murder.

The Prisoners' Club said a main demand was for Israel to halt detention without trial for some 500 Palestinians now being held and for an end to solitary confinement.

In a letter penned by Barghouti and read by his wife Fadwa on Saturday, Barghouti accused Israel of detaining "thousands of Palestinians every year in a flagrant violation of global treaties and conventions".

The Arab League called on Sunday for global protection for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, Anadolu has reported.

"The prisons service has started taking disciplinary measures against the strikers and in addition a number of prisoners have been transferred to separate wings", he said.

"We will not surrender to it", he wrote. The hunger strike was orchestrated by Marwan Barghouti, who is also the head leader of this movement.

In the West Bank and Gaza, thousands staged solidarity marches to mark Prisoners' Day in the Palestinian areas.

It was unclear whether the strike could be sustained to the point of forcing concessions from the Israeli authorities, but experts said it nonetheless had the potential to stir passions among Palestinians. Polls suggest that Palestinians are not deterred by Barghouti's terrorist record, and is the most popular choice among them to succeed the 82-year-old Abbas.

A prominent leader in the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti, had called for the strike.

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said on Tuesday that he believes the strike is politically motivated, and that he sees no legitimacy for the prisoners' action.

Prisoners' demands include improved visitation rights from family members and easier access to telephones.

Israeli and Palestinian media reports said Barghouti had been moved from the prison where he was being held in central Israel to another in the north and was isolated from other prisoners.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Michael Oren (Kulanu) compared Barghouti to Dylann Roof, an American mass murderer and white supremacist convicted of killing nine people in the June 2015 Charleston church shooting.

Some 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

Ratney is now part of a small team working under the Trump administration to promote new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

  • Leroy Wright