1,200 Palestinian prisoners begin hunger strike
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Palestinians demonstrate in Gaza City on April 17, 2012 in solidarity with prisoners held in Israel. AFP PhotoSome 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike and another 2,300 are refusing food for one day, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) said on today.
"In the framework of [Palestinian] Prisoners' Day, around 2,300 security prisoners said they were refusing their daily meals, and around 1,200 prisoners said they were starting a hunger strike," IPS spokeswoman Sivan Weizman told AFP.
Another eight women inmates had also said they were refusing food as a show of solidarity with the Palestinian security prisoners, Weizman said.
"At IPS, we have coped with hunger strikes in the past and we are prepared to do so again now," she added.
Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza Strip were on Tuesday marking Prisoners' Day in solidarity with the 4,700 Palestinian inmates of Israeli jails.
Earlier this week, Palestinian prisoners minister Issa Qaraqaa told AFP that 1,600 inmates would begin an open-ended hunger strike on Tuesday to protest against the conditions of their imprisonment.
There are currently 10 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, four of whom have been transferred to prison hospitals because of the fragile state of their heath, the Palestinian Prisoners Club says.
Two of them, Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahla, 34, have been refusing food for 50 days, with medics expressing concern over their deteriorating health.
All 10 are being held without charge under administrative detention orders, which means they can be held for renewable periods of up to six months.
There are 4,699 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, of whom 319 are in administrative detention, the Palestinian Prisoners Club says.