Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launch mass hunger strike

Over 6000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons: NGOs

Some said as many as 1,500 political prisoners in six jails across Israel were participating in the open-ended strike, commemorating Palestinian Prisoners' Day and coming ahead of June's 50-year anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, when the occupation began.

Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee, stated that the detainees are protesting the escalating Israeli violations, including medical neglect, arbitrary Administrative Detention, denying the family visits and solitary confinement.

From 700 to 2,000 or more inmates of Israeli prisons reportedly declared a hunger strike on Monday.

Some 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel are expected to participate in a mass hunger strike on Monday to press for basic rights and shed light on the hard humanitarian conditions inside Israeli prisons.

He also called for PA institutions to support the hunger strike, as well as to mobilise popular support for it.

Qadoura Fares, an advocate for prisoners' rights, said 6,500 Palestinians are now held by Israel.

Nearly 6,500 Palestinians are being held in 22 Israeli prisons, said Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club that advocates on behalf of the inmates.

There are fears the protest could fuel tensions across the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli government will be responsible for any and all of the consequences of this hunger strike - if a prisoner dies, or becomes extremely ill - they are the ones that will have to handle the outcome.

Syrian deal to evacuate tens of thousands of people begins
All 16,000 residents of Fuaa and Kafraya are expected to leave, heading to Aleppo, the coastal province of Latakia, or Damascus. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, according to the Associated Press.

Barghouti has remained politically active from behind bars, and is often touted as one of a few likely successors to the 82-year-old Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a statement from Hamas the group said: "We warn the Israel Prison Service against bringing any harm to the hunger strikers".

"The prisoners agree to have their calls monitored by the Prison Service, so that the alleged security reasons given by the Prison Service and the Shin Bet against installing telephones are void", he said, according to Ha'aretz.

About 5,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons, a number which has grown in the past 18 months after a wave of violence.

Those on hunger strike have issued a list of demands, including access to phones, extended visiting rights and better medical service.

He added that the number is expected to increase in the following days, according to the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA).

Palestinians consider brethren held in Israeli jails as national heroes.

This hunger strike forms an integral part of the Palestinian strategy of nonviolent resistance.

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