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Palestinian prisoner enters 5th month of hunger strike

June 28, 2014 9:14 P.M. (Updated: June 29, 2014 10:04 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Ayman Itbeish on Saturday entered his fifth month of hunger strike in protest against being held in Israeli jails without charge or trial, the Palestinian Prisoner's Center for Studies said.

The Center warned that the Itbeish's health condition was worsening -- he has low blood pressure, kidney problems, and is unable to stand.

Rafat Hamdunah, the director of the prisoners' rights group, said that Itbeish had been offered a deal that if he ended his strike, he would be released in January 2015, but that he had rejected the deal.

"It makes us more responsible to save his life and to exert more efforts internationally and ... hold Israel responsible for his life," Hamdunah said.

Itbeish went on strike on Feb. 28 against his administrative detention. As his health deteriorated, he was transferred to a hospital in Israel.

Ibteish has been detained by Israeli forces several times and has gone on hunger strikes three times in the past -- twice in protest against his detention without trial -- including for 105 days last year, according to the Palestinian Prisoner's Society

He ended last year's strike in September when Israeli authorities agreed to end his administrative detention and promised to reach a final decision on his case.

But Ibteish was rearrested soon after he was released from prison.

Around 125 Palestinian prisoners were on hunger strike for more than 60 days in protest against their indefinite detention without charge or trial by Israeli authorities until Tuesday, when 63 agreed to end their strike as part of a deal. The details of the deal remain unclear.

The original group was joined by hundreds of other prisoners, who went on hunger strike in solidarity in the weeks since.

Around 5,700 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, with nearly 300 in administrative detention.

Over 800,000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967, with 5,224 currently being held in Israeli prisons, according to the PLO.
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