Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike after demands met

Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike as Israel concedes to demands
2 min read
West Bank
22 October, 2021
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have ended their hunger strike after Israel's prisons authority conceded to their demands.
Palestinian prisoners had been protesting Israeli abuses since early September before going on hunger strike [Getty]

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have ended their collective hunger strike after reaching an agreement with the Israeli jails authority, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement confirmed on Friday.

Tarek Ezzedine, a spokesperson for the PIJ in Jenin, told The New Arab that the Israeli jails authority has agreed on revoking all punitive actions taken against prisoners since the Gilboa prison break in September.

Ezzedine affirmed that the more than 400 PIJ prisoners, who had been scattered across Israeli jails following the Gilboa prison break, are being rehoused together in the prisons they were in before 6 September.

Solitary confinement will also end for all those who were placed in it immediately”, said Ezzedine, adding that “the Israelí jails authority agreed on lifting visit bans and all the fees imposed after the Gilboa prison break, as well as improving the detention conditions of female prisoners”.

A month-and-a-half-long confrontation

The Israeli jails authority had imposed punitive measures on the PIJ- affiliated Palestinian prisoners after six Palestinians, five of whom belong to the PIJ, escaped from the high-security Israeli Gilboa prison in early September. These measures included violent searches, solitary confinement, and the separation of PIJ prisoners across Israeli jails.

PIJ prisoners began a series of protests, including disobeying morning head counts, refusing to leave their cells and even setting them on fire. On 13 October, 250 of them began an open hunger strike, which prisoners from other Palestinian factions threatened to join.

Palestinian prisoners have started hunger strikes on several occasions in recent years. In 2014, some 220 administrative detainees performed a 63-day-long hunger strike against their detention without trial. The strike ended with a stalemate agreement with Israeli authorities, ending punitive actions against them and renegotiating their detentions.

In April 2017, more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners of all affiliations, led by Palestinian prisoner leader Marwan Barghouti, started a hunger strike that lasted 40 days, ending with an agreement in which Israeli authorities conceded to all their demands concerning conditions in prison. In 2019, more than 400 Palestinian prisoners refused food for nine days following a setback on their detention conditions, especially for female prisoners. It ended with Israel conceding to all their demands.