Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike after agreement reached

Deal struck after further visitation rights granted


A 40 day hunger strike conducted by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has ended, after an agreement was reached allowing more time for family visits.

Negotiations between the Israeli Prison Service, the Palestinian Authority, and the International Red Cross were concluded on Saturday. No prisoners died during the course of the strike, although 18 are being treated in hospital.

The strike was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary since the Six Day War, in which Israel routed the Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians, capturing the Sinai, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The Israeli Prison Service confirmed that the new deal would allow Palestinian prisoners to receive a second family visit each month.

Xavier Abu Eid, a PLO spokesman, claimed the hunger strike had “prevailed”. However, the end timing has coincided with the beginning of Ramadan, meaning that those prisoners observing the religious period have another month of fasting ahead of them – although they are allowed to eat at night.

The strike was organised by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader convicted of murder in 2004 over the killing of Israelis in the Second Intifada. He was sentenced to five life terms in prison.

Mr Barghouti’s attempts to get prisoners to deny themselves of food prompted widespread derision after he was filmed eating snacks inside his cell on two separate occasions. Mr Barghouti has denied the authenticity of the video footage. 

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