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Palestinian prisoners held by Israel call off mass hunger strike

todaySeptember 2, 2022 4

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By Raffi Berg

BBC News

Palestinians protest in support of prisoners held by Israel (22/08/22)Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Prisoners held by Israel is an especially important issue for Palestinians

A mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israel set to begin on Thursday night has been called off, the official Palestinian news agency says.

About 1,000 inmates had been due to stage the action in protest at their conditions, officials said.

Wafa news agency said it was stopped after the prison service met detainees’ demands. Israeli officials have not commented.

Israel tightened restrictions in the wake of a dramatic jailbreak last year.

The escape by six Palestinians who tunnelled out of a high-security jail was a severe embarrassment for Israeli authorities.

The prisoners were recaptured over the course of nearly two weeks.

Media caption,

The BBC’s Tom Bateman reports on a Palestinian jailbreak that rocked Israel

The Palestinian Authority’s committee for current and former detainees said prisoners’ representatives had decided to suspend the hunger strike after it had “achieved its demands”, Wafa reported.

It said the suspension depended on the prison authorities fulfilling what they said they had committed to.

Palestinian prisoners have down the years periodically staged or threatened hunger strikes as a tactic to pressure Israeli authorities to improve their conditions.

The issue of Palestinians held by Israel is one which unites Palestinian society regardless of political differences. Palestinians consider the detainees as political prisoners. Many of them have been convicted by Israel of security crimes, including terrorism and murder.

There are some 4,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, according to Palestinian officials. They say about 700 of them are held without trial or charge under what is known as administrative detention.

Israel says the measure is necessary for its security, but civil liberty groups say the practice is a violation of human rights.

On Wednesday, a high-profile prisoner held in administrative detention since his arrest last December ended a six-month hunger strike.

Khalil Awawdeh, who is accused by Israel of belonging to the militant group Islamic Jihad, said Israel had agreed to release him on 2 October. There was no immediate confirmation by Israel.

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