Hawzah News Agency - The hunger strike was called for in connection with Palestinian Prisoners Day, observed annually, but also ahead of commemorations this summer marking 50 years since the 1967 Six Day
War and the start of Israeli occupation.
Hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners occur regularly, but rarely on such a large scale. A series of protests were also being held in Palestinian cities in connection with Prisoners day.
Barghouti’s call for the strike has given it added credibility, with the 57-year-old serving five life sentences over his role in the second Palestinian intifada.
“Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their
bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation,” Barghouti wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
“In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.”
Issa Qaraqe, head of prisoners affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said that “around 1,300 Palestinian prisoners” were participating in the hunger strike and the number could rise.
The Palestinian Prisoners Club NGO put the number at 1,500.