Anger over deal on Palestinian hunger strike

By Nathan Jeffay, May 17, 2012

Though it was widely welcomed, some Israelis are furious about the agreement that ended the Palestinian hunger strike.

On Monday, around 1,500 protesting Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails agreed to eat, after securing concessions from the authorities, and after several deaths. Most had been refusing food since April 17 and some from before that date.

The deal included a commitment to end solitary confinement, to allow family visits to prisoners from Gaza, and the setting-up of an Israeli panel to examine ways to improve conditions. Prisoners who are currently held without charge or sentencing will be freed after six months unless fresh information is brought before a military judge.

“It’s a victory for terrorists and every victory for terrorists is a loss for a free society,” said Meir Indor, chairman of the Almagor organisation, which represents families of terror victims, arguing that any deal opens the floodgates to high-security prisoners’ demands.

He is also concerned about Israel’s “goodwill” gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (which is not part of the prisoner deal) to transfer the bodies of 100 terrorists killed in the course of their attacks to Ramallah. “Their graves will become a monument to martyrdom,” said Mr Indor.

An Israeli official emphasised that Israel has received a guarantee from prisoners to not engage in any terrorism-related activities in prison. If they do, the improved conditions will be revoked.

Last updated: 10:06am, May 18 2012