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2 Palestinian prisoners end hunger strikes after reaching deal with Israeli authorities

Oct. 11, 2016 12:51 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 19, 2016 6:42 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners from the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem ended their hunger strikes on Monday after the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) answered their demands, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs said in a statement.

According to the committee, prisoner Jawad Jawarish ended a two-week hunger strike, which he started in late September to protest IPS authorities’ use of torture and tactical transfer of prisoners from one detention facility to another.

The committee had reported on Monday that 40-year-old Jawarish had been moved from solitary confinement in Ashkelon prison to the Nafha detention facility.

Jawarish, who is serving a life sentence, was among 120 Fatah-affiliated prisoners who were recently transferred by IPS from Eshel prison to the Nafha detention facility. Shortly after arriving in Nafha, IPS moved Jawarish again, this time to the Ramon prison, where he was placed in a smaller cell.

Since beginning his strike, Jawarish had been moved to the Ramla prison, then to Ashkelon, and finally back to Nafha.

Meanwhile, the Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said that Maher Ibayyat had ended an 18-day hunger strike he started on Sept. 23 to protest being held in solitary confinement in Ayalon prison.

The committee confirmed that Ibayyat, a 38-year-old prisoner who has been serving a 25-year sentence since 2004, was removed from solitary confinement at Ayala and would be moved to ordinary cells in Ramon prison.

IPS authorities have regularly imposed raids, confiscation of personal belongings, and forcible prison transfers to quash dissent from Palestinian prisoners, most notably this summer when a large-scale movement formed in Israeli prisons in support of a number of high-profile, hunger-striking prisoners.

IPS officials also routinely place Palestinian hunger strikers in solitary confinement in an effort to exert pressure on the detainees to end their strikes.

Ibayyat and Jawarish launched their hunger strikes soon after Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul and Malik al-Qadi ended their hunger strikes after Israeli authorities vowed not to renew their administrative detentions. Al-Qadi has since returned to his home in Bethlehem, while Mohammed and Mahmoud are expected to be released on Dec. 8.

Muhammad Balboul, 26, had refused food for 77 days since July 7, while his 23-year-old brother Mahmoud had been on hunger strike 79 days since July 5, and 25-year-old Malik al-Qadi declared his hunger strike on July 16, spending 68 days without food.
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