Prisoners reject Israeli intelligence offer of modified isolation

NEGEV, (PIC)— Palestinian prisoners refused to end their hunger strike in return for an Israeli intelligence offer to end the isolation of about 20 Palestinian prisoners by grouping them in one ward.

Fuad Al-Khafsh, the director of Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies and human rights, said on Sunday that the offer, tabled by an intelligence director in one of the prisons, also stipulated that those prisoners should not have any contact with activities outside the prison walls and should refrain from making statements.

He added that the prisoners told the intelligence director that the offer was not accepted since isolation of prisoners was in violation of the international law and that they would not accept compromises but rather want all their demands met and that isolated prisoners should return to ordinary wards without any condition attached.

Khafsh noted that 50 new prisoners joined the hunger strike in Megiddo jail on Sunday while 120 others joined the strike in Ofer jail.

He said that the number of hunger strikers in all jails has now reached more than 3000 and the number is expected to increase within the few coming days.

For his part, Riyadh Al-Ashqar, a researcher specialized in prisoners’ affairs, said that the Israeli occupation and the Israeli prison service were afraid that all prisoners would eventually join the strike especially when Fatah prisoners, who have not so far joined the strike, announced that they would join it on 1st May.

He said that the IPS fears that it would no longer be able to control the prisons and that it would in the end accept the prisoners’ demands.

Ashqar noted that the health condition of many prisoners deteriorated after 13 days of hunger strike and were carried to hospitals, adding that the prisoners were adamant on carrying on with the strike despite the IPS quelling measures against them. He called for greater solidarity with the prisoners and not to let them alone in face of the IPS cruel measures.