Palestinians celebrate as Israel capitulates to hunger strikers’ key demands

By The Morning Star

Palestinians celebrated today after the Israeli government caved in to imprisoned hunger strikers’ key demands.

The Palestinians won key concessions on Tel Aviv’s notorious “administrative detention” policy and family visits in a deal mediated by Egyptian officials.

Israel agreed to allow some 400 prisoners from Gaza to receive family visits for the first time since 2006 and about 20 prisoners were released from solitary confinement, including one militant who had endured solitary since 2003.

Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe said the 300 Palestinian detainees currently held without charge under administrative detention would have their files reviewed after six months.

The detentions could only be extended if Israel presents concrete evidence against them to a military court.

Two men began the strike in February, refusing food for 77 days, becoming the longest ever Palestinian hunger strikers.

Around 2,000 other Palestinian prisoners, more than a third of the prison population, joined the strike in April, going without food for a month.

They remain under medical supervision to ensure there will be no complications when they begin to eat again.

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said the prisoners pledged to stop helping to plan and conduct attacks from inside Israeli jails.

It also said the militant group’s commanders outside the jails made a commitment “to prevent terror activity” and warned that violence or resumed prisoner strikes would “annul the Israeli commitment.”

In the occupied West Bank and Israel, Palestinians cried for joy upon hearing news of the deal.

Thousands of people celebrated in Gaza by waving the Palestinian tricolour and distributing sweets.

From The Morning Star: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/119036

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