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Minister: Issawi close to finalizing deal with Israel

April 21, 2013 8:49 P.M. (Updated: April 23, 2013 9:58 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Long term hunger striker Samer Issawi is close to agreeing a deal with Israel to end his hunger strike, a Palestinian Authority minister said Sunday.

Minister for prisoners Issa Qaraqe told Ma'an that "Issawi accepted an offer presented by Israel, on the condition that a written agreement is signed in the presence of lawyers and red cross representatives."

The deal would entail serving six months in prison in exchange for ending his hunger strike, Qaraqe said, without providing further details.

The offer was one of dozens made to Issawi by Israeli officials, the minister said.

Earlier, Israel's Ofer military court said it would hold an "urgent" hearing for Samer Issawi on Monday after he decided to stop taking vitamin supplements to protest dissatisfaction with ongoing negotiations with Israel about his release.

Israeli negotiators have been visiting Issawi at Kaplan Medical Center and pressuring him to accept proposals to end his hunger strike, Palestinian Prisoner Society lawyer Jawad Boulos said last week.

Issawi has been on hunger strike for over 265 days and has so far refused all offers by Israel to be exiled, insisting on being released to his home in Jerusalem.

Issawi, 33, was first arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for military activities on behalf of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
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