300 Palestinians end hunger strike on President Trump’s plea

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Families of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails demonstrate outside the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on April 28, 2017. Palestinian officials say some 1,500 prisoners are participating in the hunger strike that began on April 17, with detainees ingesting only water and salt. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

Jerusalem

An Israeli minister said Sunday that 300 Palestinians have agreed to end an almost two-week-old hunger strike launched in protest at the conditions of their detention. They ended their hunger spell on the appeal of US Preident Donald J. Trump. He had made the appeal on humanitaian grounds.
Three hundred hunger strikers have “agreed to take food without having obtained” any of their demands, Israel’s internal security minister, Gilad Erdan, told army radio.
“Negotiations are out of the question,” he said, adding that 920 Palestinian prisoners remained on hunger strike.
But the head of the Palestinian NGO, Qadura Fares, said the prison service is trying to negotiate with some of the prisoners and had moved a number of hunger strikers to a jail in northern Israel for that purpose.
“The Israeli prison service is trying to launch negotiations with groups of prisoners who are on hunger strike about their demands, except for (Palestinian leader) Marwan Barghouti,” said Fares.
The hunger strike began on April 17, with those taking part ingesting only water and salt. They have issued demands ranging from better medical care to phone access.
Barghouti, who is very popular among Palestinians, is serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.
Fares said Barghouti was placed in solitary confinement, a claim confirmed by Issa Qaraqe, head of detainees’ affairs for the Palestinian Authority, according to Palestinian media.
Erdan also said the prison service planned to set up 400 medical centres inside jails “to avoid as much as possible the transfer of hunger striking detainees to civilian hospitals”.—Agencies

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