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Abbas meets with families of Palestinian hunger strikers in Ramallah

April 28, 2017 8:47 P.M. (Updated: April 28, 2017 10:19 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with a delegation of Palestinian families of hunger-striking prisoners in the presidency headquarters in Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Friday, as clashes and protests erupted across the Palestinian territory marking the 12th day of the "Freedom and Dignity" mass hunger strike.

Abbas assured the families that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been making calls with different international authorities to exert pressure on the Israeli government to respond to the demands of the prisoners.
Abbas noted that the prisoners’ cause is a priority for the Palestinian leadership and called upon all people in Palestine and around the world to support the hunger strikers.

Abbas also encouraged the families to continue organizing popular demonstrations and efforts to save the lives of their imprisoned sons and relatives.

Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat, Fatah deputy head Mahmoud al-Aloul, General-Secretary of the presidency al-Taiyeb Abd al-Rahim, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe, member of the Fatah central committee Azzam al-Ahmad, and Head of the Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj all attended the meeting.
The meeting came amid clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians across the Palestinian territory on a “Day of Rage” announced by the Fatah movement, while solidarity sit-ins were held in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israel, and South America to show support for the hunger strikers.

On Thursday, a general strike was held in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in solidarity with the hunger strikers. While almost all shops had closed in support of the mass hunger strike, several Palestinians told Ma’an that shops had received direct orders from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to close.

Initially called for by Fatah-affiliated prisoners, the hunger strikers have denounced the torture, ill treatment, and medical neglect of Palestinian prisoners at the hands of Israeli authorities, as well as Israel’s widespread use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charges -- which is only permitted under international law in extremely limited circumstances.
Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to a joint statement released last week by Palestinian organizations.

According to prisoners' rights organization Addameer, some 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli custody as of March.
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