Day war begets 50 years of conflict for Israel
- Author: Leroy Wright May 29, 2017,
May 29, 2017, 21:37
The strike, which began in March, was initiated by Palestinian arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti and involved more than 1,100 Palestinian security prisoners in the Gilboa, Meggido, Nafha, Ketziot, Shikma, Ramon, Hadarim and Nitzan prisons. The hunger striking prisoners were taking only a mixture of water and salt for sustenance.
"It is a big change from a humanitarian standpoint", the head of PLO's Prisoners' Affairs Committee Issa Karaki said.
The deal announced Saturday morning will apparently see just one of the prisoners' demands met: that their monthly visits from family members be brought back from one to two per month.
Barghouti, who was jailed by Israel in 2002 at the height of a campaign of Palestinian suicide bombings and shooting attacks in Israeli cities, is seen by some as a potential peacemaker because of grassroots appeal among Palestinians and his support for negotiations with Israel.
The Palestinians also demanded improved medical services, more access to educational materials and degrees, 20 television channels, sports shoes and several other oddities, but failed to win approval.
A spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service confirmed the agreement, but denied the strike had forced the authorities to negotiate over conditions in the jails with the prisoner representatives.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Ramallah, Majed Bamya, who oversees the prisoner files for the Palestinian foreign ministry, said the outcome of the hunger strike was a success. The hunger strikers explain that they achieved their goal, and they can thereby, halt the strike.
"There is a narrative being drawn up that this is a victory, so it is a victory", said Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian political analyst based in Jordan. Barghouti is serving five life sentences for murders committed during the second Palestinian intifada.
Palestinians throw stones at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, May 26, 2017.
"Today, we declare the victory of the prisoners and the Palestinian people".
President Trump's special envoy to the region, Jason Greenblatt, discussed the issue with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas last week.
Nevertheless, Israel worked hard to undermine Barghouti during the strike, including planting a candy bar in his cell and releasing a film of him eating it.
Earlier this month, Israel released footage it said shows Barghouti breaking his fast.