Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of the leader of the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, on Monday in his office in Ramallah. The two discussed the hunger strike that started last week and Abbas expressed his support for the prisoners and their demands.
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Fatah declared a strike in the West Bank for Wednesday in support of the hunger strikers. Fatah also called for a “day of rage” on Friday.
The meeting was held amid reports of disagreements within Fatah and the Palestinian Authority over the hunger strike, how interested Abbas is an escalation in tensions over it and how much the PA supports the hunger strike.
Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List of Arab parties, also attended the meeting at the Muqata’a, along with colleague MK Aida Touma-Suliman and Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah central committee.
The official Palestinian news agency said Abbas was acting in the international arena on behalf of the prisoners and their rights in Israeli prisons.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society says some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israel are continuing with their hunger strike, which began on April 17, while Israel is increasing its pressure on the hunger strikers. The Society says Israel does not allow the hunger strikers to meet with their lawyers, and is preventing the prisoners from receiving information from the outside. Last week, Israel informed Barghouti’s lawyers they could meet with him.
Barghouti, who is serving five life terms plus 40 years in Israel for direct involvement in three terror attacks that killed five people, is a prominent Fatah leader and one of the leaders of the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners to demand better conditions.