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Palestinian hunger strikers force Israel to climb down

Issue No. 2303

A hunger strike by more than 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails came to an end on Tuesday of this week.

The prisoners had been refusing food in protest at their treatment since 17 April.

Two of the strikers, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, refused food for 77 days. Israel has promised to release Thaer on 5 June and Bilal on 11 August.

The deal to end the hunger strike was negotiated by the Palestinian Authority.

Press reports suggest Israel has promised to improve prison conditions, end solitary confinement and let prisoners from Gaza receive family visits.

The deal also involved concessions over the issue of detention without trial. The strikers had been demanding an end to this practice.

The “war of empty stomachs” became a rallying point across Palestine and beyond. Protests took place across the Occupied Territories in solidarity with the striking prisoners.

These protests threatened the occupying powers in Palestine. Tony Blair warned of “serious implications for stability and security conditions on the ground”.

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Tue 15 May 2012, 16:57 BST
Issue No. 2303
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