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Sick prisoners in Israeli jails threaten to start hunger strike

Dec. 28, 2013 11:15 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2013 8:30 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Sick Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have threatened to start a hunger strike protesting their dire health conditions in custody, the Palestinian Authority's prisoners' society said.

In a letter smuggled out of Israel's Eshel prison, prisoners wrote on behalf of all sick Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, appealing to the Palestinian people and leaders for support.

If both Palestinian officials and average citizens are unable to improve the situation for such prisoners, the letter said, the prisoners will start a hunger strike in attempt to take the situation into their own hands.

The letter held Palestinian citizens and officials, in addition to the Israeli prison service, responsible for the conditions in Israeli jails.

"If this letter doesn't touch your hearts and minds and provoke actions, we will have to ... obtain our freedom by force. At that point, lots of us will fall martyrs and we will hold both the prison service and you responsible."

Over 5,200 Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails according to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs.

Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel, representing 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.

Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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