Some 1,600 prisoners are participating, Palestinian Authority Prisoners’ Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe mentioned. Extra prisoners might be a part of the starvation strike, which was deliberate to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Qaraqe mentioned.

Qaraqe urged Palestinians to assist the strike and known as on human rights organizations to press Israel about situations in prisons.

The starvation strike is a means of “bringing prisoners nearer to their fundamental rights and calls for and stopping the occupation from harming the dignity of the Palestinian prisoners,” he mentioned in an announcement.

Marwan Barghouti, a high-profile prisoner who enjoys broad assist amongst Palestinians within the West Financial institution and Gaza, known as for the “Freedom and Dignity” strike. Many Palestinians see Barghouti as a possible future chief of the Palestinian Authority, regardless of his jail sentence.

Palestinian leaders, together with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Palestinian Liberation Group Govt Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi, have backed the strike.

Official: Largest Palestinian prisoner starvation strike ever

The starvation strikers’ lengthy record of calls for consists of an finish to solitary confinement and administrative detention, a coverage underneath which Israel holds prisoners with out cost or trial.

Some 740 Palestinians are held in administrative detention, Qaraqe mentioned. Prisoners are additionally demanding higher medical care and prolonged visits with household.

This starvation strike is the biggest Palestinian prisoners have ever launched, mentioned Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian politician and former vp of Birzeit College. Palestinians have usually resorted to starvation strikes, principally to focus on administrative detentions.

Protesters show their support for jailed Palestinians in a rally in Ramallah Monday. Protesters show their support for jailed Palestinians in a rally in Ramallah Monday.

In a letter penned by Barghouti and skim Saturday by his spouse, Fadwa, Barghouti accused Israel of detaining “hundreds of Palestinians yearly in a flagrant violation of worldwide treaties and conventions.”

He known as Israel’s army courts within the West Financial institution an “confederate within the occupation’s crimes by detentions, unjust courtroom sentences, and torture.”

A former chief of the Tanzim brigade — the militant wing of the Fatah political social gathering — Barghouti was convicted in 2004 of 5 counts of homicide, together with orchestrating assaults towards Israelis. He’s serving a number of life sentences.

Regardless of — or maybe due to — his jail sentence, Barghouti’s recognition has grown amongst Palestinians, and he is likely one of the few Palestinian leaders with assist from each Fatah, which governs the West Financial institution, and Hamas, which guidelines Gaza.

Protesters rally in Ramallah on Monday.Protesters rally in Ramallah on Monday.

In Fatah’s most up-to-date convention, held in November, Barghouti was elected to the Fatah Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council, pulling in additional votes than every other candidate. Given his jail sentence, each are symbolic gestures however are testomony to his recognition.

Regardless of recurrent infighting between Palestinian factions, prisoners from a number of teams, together with Hamas and the Palestinian Folks’s Get together, are additionally participating within the starvation strike.

Israeli official: We do not negotiate with prisoners

A spokesman for the Israel Jail Service, Assaf Librati, mentioned the jail service doesn’t, as a rule, negotiate with prisoners.

The jail service has begun separating starvation strikers into separate cell blocks. Prisoners have thus far declared strikes in eight Israeli prisons.

“Starvation strikers in jail endanger the well being and lifetime of the prisoners in custody of the state who’s answerable for their well-being — organized starvation strikers much more so,” Librati mentioned.

Librati estimated that 1,100 prisoners had been taking part within the strike, a quantity decrease than that reported by the Palestinian Authority.

Authorities will arrange a area hospital on the Ketziot jail in southern Israel to deal with starvation strikers if wanted, Librati mentioned.

The transfer would enable Israel to sidestep civilian hospitals, which have thus far refused to force-feed strikers, regardless of an Israeli legislation handed in July 2015 that legalizes the force-feeding of prisoners.

Responding to accusations of mistreatment in Israeli prisons, Israeli International Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon fired again.

“The Palestinian prisoners usually are not political prisoners,” he mentioned. “They’re convicted terrorists and murderers. They had been delivered to justice and are handled correctly underneath worldwide legislation.”