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Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike

Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike

More than a thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons launched a hunger strike Monday, demanding better living and medical conditions for approximately 6,500 prisoners.

No injuries or damage were immediately reported as a result of the demonstrations.

The open-ended hunger strike, one of the largest in recent years, coincides with Palestinian Prisoners Day, annually commemorated on April 17. The Palestinian Prisoners Club put the number at 1,500. The Israeli security establishment is also preparing for the possibility that the strike will precipitate protests and parades in support of the prisoners outside of the prisons.

The Israel Prison Service said on Monday that it is undertaking "significant measures" against hunger strikers including moving some of them into solitary confinement.

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The prisoners, led by Barghouti, are calling on Israel to respond affirmatively to a list of demands, some of which include: Increased family visitation rights, improved medical services, ending administrative detention and greater access to educational materials. Palestinians marked Tuesday as Prisoners' Day.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a movement that could mark a serious challenge to Israeli authorities if sustained.

The Israeli prison service claims that nearly a fifth of the 6,200 Palestinian inmates are taking part in the strike. However, Palestinians from the West Bank need an entry permit into Israel and Israeli authorities often deny such permits.

He called his own sentencing a result of "a political show trial".

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"Shame on NYT for printing libelous op-ed by convicted killer Barghouti, the Palestinian Dylann Roof", wrote former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren. The global community, it insisted, should bear its "legal and ethical responsibilities" to oblige Israel to respect worldwide law by dealing with the Palestinians it is holding as prisoners of war.

"The strike is a decision of the prisoners". Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have also extend their support to its rival political group Fatah.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's office called on Israel to respond to the prisoners' demands for "freedom and dignity".

"It is to be emphasised that the (prison service) does not negotiate with prisoners".

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"One of the most significant concerns is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention", Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told Al Jazeera.

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