Jailed Palestinians Join Hunger Strike Led By Marwan Barghouti

More than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails have gone on hunger strike to demand better conditions in one of the largest protests in recent years.

Calling for Arab and worldwide human rights groups to expose Israeli violations against the Palestinian prisoners, the Arab League also called for an global mission to investigate the conditions in which they are held in Israel's prisons.

Some 1,100 prisoners are taking part in the hunger strike and Channel 2 said dozens of other high-profile prisoners had also been moved to different jails or prison wings in a move to disrupt the strike.

Israeli prison service spokesperson Assaf Librati said that 700 prisoners had announced on Sunday their intention to begin a hunger strike.

The Arab League called on Sunday for worldwide protection for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, Anadolu has reported.

Some 740 Palestinians are held in administrative detention, according to Qaraqe.

Later Monday, Barghouti, who was incarcerated in Hadarim Prison in central Israel, was moved to Kishon Prison in the north of the country, Hebrew language media reported.

In addition, the prisoners are demanding end of the isolation and the administrative detention policies, providing a public phone for prisoners to communicate with their families as well as other demands related to medical treatment and family visits. In 2011, Israel swapped more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier who had been held by Hamas for five years.

The Times' decision to give space to Barghouti and to whitewash his terrorism conviction was criticized by several Israeli political figures.


The op-ed, titled "Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel's Prisons", was penned by Marwan Barghouti and appeared both online and in the print edition of the International New York Times.

The 57-year-old Barghouti says that he has been in and out of prison since the age of 15.

About 6,500 Palestinians are now detained by Israel on a wide range of offenses and alleged crimes.

Barghouti wrote that Israeli prisons have become the "cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination".

Hana Herbst, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prison Service, said in a statement that striking prisoners were being transfered to separate cell blocks.

The last large-scale hunger strike was in February 2013, when 3,000 Palestinians refused to eat for one day to protest against the death of a fellow detainee.

Of the some 6,500 Palestinian detainees held by Israel, 62 are women and 300 are minors.

While many Palestinians view Barghouti as a hero, Israelis point to the bloody suicide attacks of the second intifada and his role in the uprising.


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