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Hundreds of prisoners held by Israel join hunger strike

April 9, 2019 at 9:24 am

Men play the role of jailed Palestinians and Israeli soldiers during a rally in support of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israeli jails, in Gaza City [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

After the failure of talks between Palestinian prisoners and the Israeli authorities on Monday, hundreds of prisoners joined a hunger strike, the Prisoners’ Affairs Office has reported. The Israeli occupation authorities apparently rejected the prisoners’ demands, which included installing a telephone in the main halls within prisons and ending the punitive isolation imposed on a number of prisoners recently.

The Head of the PLO’s Prisoners’ Committee, Qadri Abu Baker, told Anadolu that Israeli politicians have renounced all previous understandings reached between the Palestinian prisoners and the Prison Service. Abu Baker called for support for the hunger strike in order to mobilise support for prisoners’ demands. Most of the inmates decided on Sunday to delay their involvement in the strike over reports about progress in the talks between the prisoners’ leaders and the Israeli Prison Service.

Since the start of 2019, tension within Israeli prisons has been rising due to the installation of electronic jammers to prevent prisoners from making calls to their families on smuggled phones. The authorities try to restrict prisoners’ contacts with the outside world. The devices, claim the prisoners, could cause serious diseases, including cancer; they have been calling for them to be removed.

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