Palestinian Security Prisoners End Hunger Strike After Israel Meets Their Demands

The prisoners, mostly affiliated with Fatah, demanded an end to night searches, provision of medical services, and lifting of economic sanctions

A security prisoner in Ramon Prison, January 24, 2019.
Israel Prison Service

Forty-six security prisoners in Ashkelon Prison ended a hunger strike on Sunday in protest of their living conditions after the prison service agreed to meet most their terms.

The strike began earlier on Sunday, lasting less than a day. According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, the Israeli Prison Service agreed to several of the prisoners' demands - including an end to night searches, establishing a kitchen in the ward, provision of medical services and the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on some of the prisoners. 

The prisoners, most of whom are members of Fatah, also asked for hot showers, air conditioning, longer breaks in the prison yard and the ability to buy fruit and vegetables. In addition, they want permission to take pictures with visiting relatives. It is unclear whether these demands were met. 

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On Saturday, Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Haaretz that talks with the prison administration had gotten nowhere. “The prison administration took advantage of the talks to threaten the prisoners, not to hear their demands, which are mainly humanitarian," he said.

"If the Prison Service were interested in moving ahead in negotiations, they would reach agreements.” Fares added that female security prisoners at Damun Prison are also planning a hunger strike, set for the first of July, to protest their living conditions.

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources told Haaretz on Wednesday that Hamas prisoners in Israel are threatening a hunger strike as well after dozens of them were moved to a wing in the Ramon Prison where cellphone disrupters had been installed. At the beginning of last week, 80 prisoners were moved to the wing.

According to the sources, Israel did not meet their commitments from April to install public phones in the wing before the prisoners were transferred. The Israel Prison Service was preparing to install the phones next month, but technical difficulties might delay the work by several months.

The Prison Service responded: “Conduct at the prison is as usual. We do not respond to foreign reports.”