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PA: Israel refused extra food in jails for Ramadan

Aug. 3, 2011 12:19 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2011 3:09 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel's prison administration refused to allocate Palestinian prisoners extra provisions for the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinian Authority detainees' minister Issa Qaraqe said Wednesday.

The Ramallah-based ministry requested upping the food allocation from 300 shekels ($86) to 400 shekels ($115) per prisoner to purchase special foods consumed by Muslims to break the daily fast, Qaraqe said in a statement.

Israeli authorities declined, telling the ministry that they had offered their own special food package for Ramadan to detainees, who turned down the offer, the minister added.

Prisoners consider the Israeli offer "humiliation and disrespect," as at the same time the PA ministry is prohibited from sending Ramadan provisions, and the detainees' rights are not secured, he explained.

Qaraqe added that the Israeli prison administration had recently decreased quantities of food per prisoner.

In June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the prison service to toughen conditions for Palestinian detainees in an effort to pressure Hamas to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The measures were widely condemned by Palestinian officials and prompted hunger strikes by prisoners in protest against the changes.
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