Israeli Cancels Family Visits to Palestinian Prisoners on Strike

Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoner affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said that "around 1,300 Palestinian prisoners" were on hunger strike and the number could rise.

In a punitive measure, Israel's prison service transferred Barghouti to solitary confinement in a different prison.

The Palestinian detainees, led by jailed terrorist Marwan Barghouti, launched the hunger strike on Monday to press for demands such as better medical services and access to telephones.

In support of the hunger strike, the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, issued a statement containing the list of demands by the hunger strikers.

Calling for Arab and worldwide human rights groups to expose Israeli violations against the Palestinian prisoners, the Arab League also called for an global mission to investigate the conditions in which they are held in Israel's prisons.

Others are detained under so-called Administrative Detention, which allows suspects to be held without charge for six-month intervals. Unsurprisingly, Barghouti makes no reference to his role in organizing the second intifada, in which Palestinian militants killed nearly 1,000 Israeli citizens despite the generous peace deal offered to Yasser Arafat.

Israeli officials said some 1,100 prisoners joined the strike on Monday. "He was given five consecutive life terms after being convicted in an Israeli criminal court of premeditated murder for his role in terrorist attacks that killed five people, along with other crimes".

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In anticipation of the hunger strike, Amnesty International last week called Israel's treatment of Palestinian prisoners "unlawful and cruel".

"When a despicable murderer like Barghouti protests in prison for improved conditions, while the relatives of those he murdered are still in pain, there is only one solution - death penalty for terrorists", Katz wrote.

The strike prompted a large rally in Gaza and a protest broke out near the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem where Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli forces.

"Two days ago, I read an article in the New York Times, which depicts the multi-terrorist Barghouti as a 'parliamentary leader, '" Netanyahu said during Mimouna celebrations in Dimona.

Authorities will set up a field hospital at the Ketziot prison in southern Israel to treat hunger strikers if needed, Librati said.

Ismail Radwan, a Hamas official who participated in the march, reiterated Hamas' demand for a prisoner swap with Israel.

Israeli politicians and diplomats swiftly protested the misleading biographical blurb, leading the NYT to append a note to the article online: "This article explained the writer's prison sentence, but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted".

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