Palestinian prisoners have officially suspended their hunger strike in Israeli jails after negotiations between strike leaders and the Israel Prison Service, according to a report by The Electronic Intifada.
This agreement has been hailed as a “victory for the Palestinian people,” by the committee that helped negotiate the agreement, noting that Israel was forced to negotiate upon a realization that the prisoners “were ready to continue until victory or martyrdom and that the use of oppression, violence and other violations failed to weaken them, but rather strengthened their resolve.”
The release of this news coincided with the beginning of the month of Ramadan, a month revered as holy by practicing Muslims, in which they fast and pray consistently each day from sunrise to sunset. Before this agreement was reached, some of the prisoners had recently announced their intentions to participate in Ramadan by refusing even to drink salt water to support their immune system.
The statement released by the strike leaders vaguely stated that Israeli authorities were willing to accept some of the prisoner’s demands, but did not go into specifics.
This agreement however will likely still leave much to be desired, as the Israel Prison Service has gone on record to state that the only demand they intend to fulfill will be to grant prisoners a second family visit each month, according to a report by the Ma’an News Agency.
According to Ma’an, the move “effectively reinstated the number of family visits that were traditionally provided to Palestinian prisoners, before the ICRC reduced the number of visits they facilitated last year from two to one visit a month, sparking protests across the Palestinian territory,”
Read the official list of demands here.
On April 17th, upwards of 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners declared a hunger strike in an attempt to demand live-able conditions within Israeli military prison and an end to the harassment and abuse of Palestinian inmates that has become commonplace, among other demands.
Israel was quick to resort to brutal punitive measures in an attempt to break the will of the hunger strikers, to no avail. Authorities began to target leaders of the strike, confiscating personal belongings and clothes, banning television, forcibly relocating strikers to different sections of prisons and placing dozens in solitary confinement.
Authorities consistently attempted to obstruct negotiations with the hunger strikers by trying to cut off communication between the strikers and the outside world.
By Friday, day 40 of the dignity strike, 834 prisoners remained participating in the strike before the deal was reached according to Haaretz, while at least 18 prisoners remain hospitalized.
According to a report from the human rights group Addameer, well over 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested since the beginning of the occupation. Around 6,500 Palestinian prisoners remain in Israeli jail in violation of international law.
Over 10,000 women have been imprisoned since 1967, as well as at least 8,000 children since the year 2000. Over 300 Palestinian children have been detained by occupational forces since the beginning of 2017 alone.