Israel: Mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners ends

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners ended their 40-day fast on Saturday after reaching a compromise with Israel for additional family visits, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.


Israel prison service spokeswoman Nicole Englander said the inmates declared an end to the strike Saturday morning. She said it came after Israel reached a deal with the Palestinian Authority and the Red Cross for prisoners to receive a second family visit each per month.

Hundreds of prisoners observed the strike they said was aimed at improving prison conditions.

The hunger strike had evolved into one of the longest such protests with this many participants since Israel’s 1967 capture of territories Palestinian seek for their state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Englander said 1,578 prisoners participated in the hunger strike overall and 834 ended their fast Saturday. She said 18 were being treated in hospitals.

Many Israelis view the prisoners as terrorists and have little sympathy for their demands. More than 6,000 Palestinians are currently in prison for offences linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for charges ranging from stone-throwing to weapons possession and attacks that killed or wounded Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Palestinians rallied behind the hunger strikers as national heroes, relishing a rare break from deep divisions between…

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