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Palestinian prisoner ends 50-day hunger strike

Jan. 12, 2016 9:21 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2016 3:44 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian hunger striker ended his 50-day strike on Tuesday after Israeli authorities reportedly agreed to some of the prisoner's demands, a lawyer with the Palestinian Prisoners' Society said.

The lawyer said Kifah Hattab, who is also being held in Afula hospital for treatment, ended his hunger strike after meeting with a lawyer who had arranged several of Hattab's demands be met by Israel's Prison Service.

The details of the agreement are unknown.

Hattab's most recent hunger strike marks his third such strike during the past three years. One of Hattab's main demands is to be considered a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention.

Hattab was detained in 2004 and is serving two life sentences.

Earlier on Tuesday, the head of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners' Affairs warned that Israel was preparing to force-feed Palestinian hunger striker Muhammad al-Qiq, who has been on hunger strike since the end of November.

If Israeli forces go ahead with the alleged threat, it would be the first use of the controversial practice since it was approved by Israeli lawmakers last year.

Al-Qiq is also being treated at Afula hospital, where he was transferred after losing 22 kilograms (48 lbs), and was reportedly unable to move without a wheelchair due to fatigue and exhaustion.

Like Hattab, he had previously been held in solitary confinement in al-Ramla prison hospital.

Jordanian national Abdullah Abu Jaber, also on hunger strike, is being held at al-Ramla prison hospital. Abu Jaber was transferred to Afula hospital last month where he initially ended his strike after several demands were allegedly met, but reinstated his strike after being returned to al-Ramla prison hospital, which was against the reported agreement.

After the transfer he was reportedly informed that none of his demands would be met.

Abu Jaber is a Jordanian citizen, who's main demand is to be deported to Jordanian custody to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

All three men are in critical condition due to their hunger strikes and at risk of falling into a health category that would allow Israeli authorities to forcefully feed them.

The Israeli Knesset approved a law allowing prisoners on hunger strike to be force-fed if their condition becomes life-threatening in July last year.

The move sparked outcry from rights groups and medical experts, who said the practice was tantamount to torture.

The Israeli Medical Association called the law "damaging and unnecessary," stressing that its doctors would "continue to act according to medical ethics, which prohibit doctors from participating in torturing prisoners."

The UN said "the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right" that the new Israeli law violated.

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