Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike


JERUSALEM (JTA) — More than 200 Palestinians in Israeli prisons are participating in a hunger strike, the Israel Prison Service said.

Approximately 50 prisoners began the hunger strike on Sept. 27, and since have been joined by about 180 others, the service said in a statement. The prisoners are protesting the fact that some of the prisoners have been separated from the general population. They also are claiming that the prison service has infringed on aspects of their living conditions, according to the statement.

The prison service says the prisoner separations are according to court orders.

The striking prisoners are "under daily medical supervision and their situation is satisfactory," according to the prison service. The strikers are drinking water.

In addition to prison service supervision, "the prisoners receive visits by members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and meet with their attorneys, to the extent possible," the statement said.

Palestinian prisoners told the Ma’an Palestinian news service on Sunday that Israeli prison authorities had met some of the hunger strikers’ demands, including satellite television and allowing prisoners to have family visits without handcuffs, as well as allowing prisoners to visit each other. Prisoners also will be given whole chickens instead of chopped chicken at their request, according to Ma’an.

Harsher conditions were imposed three months ago on prisoners with ties to the terrorist organization Hamas, which has been holding Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit hostage for more than five years.

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