THE ISRAELI PRISON service says hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have launched a hunger strike to mark an annual commemoration of those detained by Israel. Prison Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman says 3,500 prisoners refused meals on “Prisoners’ Day” that fell today, and 1,200 of them said they would continue with an open-ended hunger strike. Palestinians have frequently turned to hunger strikes to protest what they believe are unfair conditions. Later today, Israel is to release a prisoner who refused food for 66 days, the longest hunger strike in Palestinian history.
Virtually every Palestinian has a neighbuor or relative who has spent time in an Israeli jail, and the prisoners are widely seen as freedom fighters.