Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike After PA Agrees to Pay for More Family Visits

Hundreds of Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli prisons ended their 40-day-long hunger strike on Saturday.

The 834 prisoners still participating in the strike, down from 1,100 when the strike began, resumed eating over the weekend after an agreement was reached over their demand for a second family visit each month.

The prisoners had been negotiating with the Israeli Prisons Service during their strike over a list of 19 demands, the main one being for the Prisons Service to allow and pay for a second family visit each month. Though the Prisons Service was open to the idea of a second visit, they were not prepared to finance it.

Other demands included granting access to a public phone, the installation of additional television stations, and allowing them to pursue academic studies.

A spokesperson for the Prisons Service said, “It was agreed that the Palestinian Authority would pay for the resumption of the second monthly visit by the families of the prisoners, with Israel and the Red Cross’‎s consent.”

The onset of Ramadan, which would have prevented them from drinking water during the daytime and increased the likelihood of individuals collapsing, is also thought to have influenced the decision to end the strike.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas personally intervened and agreed that the PA would fund the visits, out of concern that the collapse of prisoners during Ramadan was liable to set off violent reactions on the ground. Eighteen striking prisoners are currently receiving treatment in hospitals after collapsing during the course of the strike.

The hunger strike had been led by Marwan Barghouti, who made headlines when he was caught on camera eating a chocolate snack during his strike. Though the strike had a strong social media campaign supporting it, the widespread demonstrations its organizers had hoped to achieve on the whole failed to materialize.

(via BICOM )

[Photo: IBTimes UK / YouTube ]