Palestinians mark Prisoners’ Day with hunger strikes, protests


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands of Palestinians marked Prisoners’ Day with protests and hunger strikes.

Some 3,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails refused their food on Wednesdays. Nine of the prisoners reportedly announced that they will begin longer-term hunger strikes until Samer Issawi, who has been on a hunger strike for more than eight months, is released.

Issawi is hospitalized at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot in a state of deterioration. He was imprisoned in Israel in 2002 and sentenced to 26 years in jail for terrorist activities. 

One of the more than 1,000 prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit swap, Issawi was rearrested more than a year later and shortly after started his hunger strike.

Palestinian protesters demonstrated in front of the Ofer Prison near Ramallah, cutting through the fence around the prison before being dispersed by Israeli soldiers, according to reports.

Prisoners’ Day is an annual Palestinian event that honors Palestinians held in Israeli jails. There are up to 4,800 Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons, including more than 150 in administrative detention without charges. 

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