Palestinian prisoners just launched a mass hunger strike

The strike has been called for by prominent Palestinian prisoner and leader Marwan Barghouti, who is now serving a life sentence over his role in the second Palestinian intifada - or uprising.

He confirmed that Barghouti was transferred to another jail and was placed in solitary confinement.

Ramallah, Tel Aviv - On the second day of hunger strikes in Israeli prisons, officials attacked strike leader Marwan Barghouti, saying that Israel should have executed the head of the central Fatah committee a long time ago.

It is also gaining traction since Barghouti, who is serving multiple life terms in prison after Israel found him guilty of involvement in the deaths of four Israelis and a Greek monk, is widely expected to run for president once Mahmoud Abbas is out of the picture.

Similar protests were held throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The open-ended strike of Palestinians is in response to the poor conditions and the Israeli policy of detention, in which they are being jailed since the 1980s without any trial.

Various organizations are estimating the number of prisoners involved in the strike between 1,100-1,500.

The protest also comes before the 50th anniversary of the Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, giving added significance. Several hundred are being detained without charges.

The newspaper was slammed by Israeli leaders and U.S. Jewish groups for its failure to mention Barghouti's terrorist activities and conviction for murder. Because Barghouti highlights two of Israel's most pernicious lies: that there is no one to talk to on the Palestine side (when in fact it is the Palestinians who are still seeking a partner for peace), and that the resistance to Israel's occupation is violent.

"Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court's jurisdiction and legitimacy", the editors note read.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the strike is politically motivated and prisoners are treated well. He said he organized the hunger strike to fight back, after exhausting all other options.

Al Jazeera gives detail to a statement issued by Netanyahu himself, in which he referred to the hunger strike's leader as an "arch-terrorist", blasting The New York Times for calling the man a "parliamentarian and leader".

Palestinian "security" prisoners are not even allowed to make phone calls to their families.

Israeli authorities look to quell mass hunger strike through solitary confinement and punitive measures.

"It is to be emphasised that the [prison service] does not negotiate with prisoners", he said.

The International Red Cross said that it informed the families of Israel's decision to cancel all visits until further notice, in addition to the confiscation of their clothes and belongings, and isolating them in their rooms.

Authorities will set up a field hospital at the Ketziot prison in southern Israel to treat hunger strikers if needed, Librati said. They are convicted terrorists and murderers.

  • Leroy Wright