Palestinians hunger strike under UN watch

Ramalla

The United Nations says it is keeping a close eye on the situation of more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners, who have gone on hunger strike honoring a call by a fellow inmate.
Unprecedented in scale, the protest action involves a reported number of 1,500 prisoners. It started on Monday to force Israeli prison authorities to provide more humane conditions for the inmates.
“We are obviously aware of the situation and following the developments closely,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday. He said “as a matter of principle, wherever it may be, we always call for prisoners to be treated in a humane way.”
The protest leader, Marwan Barghouti, who has been given four life terms for allegedly masterminding anti-Israeli attacks, was placed in solitary confinement following the initiation of the strike.
The Israel Prisons Service spokesman Assaf Librati said Barghouti had been transferred from Hadarim Prison to the Kishon Prison, near Haifa.
The move came after he published an opinion piece in The New York Times on the hunger strike. Israeli authorities have ruled out negotiating with the striking Palestinian prisoners.—Agencies