JERUSALEM – Hundreds of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel completed on Wednesday their first month of hunger strike, calling for an improvement in conditions and an increase in family visits.
The strike was called by Marwan Barghouti, the imprisoned leader of the Fatah political movement, on April 17.
Hana Herbst, spokeswoman for the Israel prison service, told EFE that about 850 prisoners, from the nearly 6,000 in Israeli jails, are continuing the protest, called the “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike.
However, Palestinian authorities claim more than 1,300 prisoners are on strike.
Herbst added that the Israel prison service is not negotiating with the prisoners and cannot discuss the health situation of those on hunger strike.
Palestinian prisoners’ affairs minister Issa Qaraqe told EFE that Barghouti informed his lawyer on Tuesday that he would stop drinking water if Israel continues to refuse to negotiate with the strikers.
Barghouti is seen by many as a possible successor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, despite serving a five life sentences for involvement in the murders of five Israelis during the Second Intifada between 2000-2005.
Prisoners are calling on Israel to put an end to solitary confinement, torture, medical malpractice and administrative detention, as well as demanding access to education, medical care and extended family visits.