Israel wants deal with hunger strikers

2012-05-10 21:58

Jerusalem - Israel's prison service has offered to ease restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in a bid to end a mass hunger strike that has left several detainees close to death, sources told AFP on Thursday.

Just under 1 600 Palestinian prisoners are currently refusing food in a wide-ranging protest against solitary confinement, detention without charge and restrictions on family visits, education and various privileges.

The strike has drawn international attention, with the European Union and United Nations expressing concern. Two of those protesting, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla, marked their 72nd day without food on Thursday.

But an official with Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer told AFP on Thursday that negotiations between prisoners and the Israel Prison Service (IPS) appeared to be making progress.

"According to what we have learned from the prisoners, there was a meeting last night in Nafha prison [in southern Israel] between the IPS and leaders of the hunger strike," she said, suggesting an end to the hunger strike could be imminent.

"There might be a positive response in the next few days."

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the IPS appeared to have "agreed to allow visits for families from Gaza", and to revoke a range of restrictions on prisoners, including a ban on education and various privileges.

And she added that an agreement on moving prisoners out of solitary confinement was also on the table.

"On solitary confinement, in the meeting before this one the IPS offered to move all except for three out of 19 prisoners," she said.

"The leaders of the strike refused, and said it's all or nothing. After the meeting yesterday, we have indications that IPS might have agreed on it."

IPS spokesperson Sivan Weizman confirmed the Nafha meeting, saying it was part of an ongoing process of consultations between detainees and a committee examining prison conditions.

"There was a meeting at Nafha prison, but it's not the only one," she told AFP.

"We are holding meetings with the prisoners all the time, talking to them."

But she declined to comment on specific proposals or decisions, saying the discussions were ongoing.

"I won't comment on the decisions that were reached. On the subject of solitary confinement, what was decided was that a committee would be set up to examine each particular case on its merits."

No real negotiations

Israeli media reported signs of a deal, with public radio saying sources suggested the strike could be over "in a week to 10 days."

The Haaretz newspaper said the IPS had offered to remove some prisoners from solitary confinement, allow prisoners to take classes and remove a ban on books.

It said that no agreement had been reached on allowing relatives in Gaza to visit prisoners, and that disagreements remained about moving three prisoners out of solitary confinement.

But Qaddura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, which tracks the well-being of Palestinians in Israeli jails, poured cold water on talk of a deal.

The discussions "are only exploratory rounds by the IPS, there are no real negotiations," he told AFP.

The hunger strike has widespread support among Palestinians, and demonstrations have been held in solidarity with the prisoners across the West Bank and Gaza.

On Thursday, around 50 protesters gathered outside the Red Cross headquarters to call on the organisation to support the prisoners, while another 50 protested outside the offices of the European Union in east Jerusalem.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also raised the fate of the prisoners during discussions with the UN's Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry, a statement from the UN official's office said.

"President Abbas and Mr Serry both agreed on the urgency of resolving this issue immediately," the statement said.

  • lenzi.marques - 2012-05-11 00:28

    Israel holds many of these prisoners under administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold suspects indefinitely for renewable periods of up to six months without trial.. Democratic maybe but only for their own..

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 01:11

      None of this would be happening if the Palestinians decided not to want to destroy Israel and chose peace instead.

      lenzi.marques - 2012-05-11 02:43

      Fred firstly, to date far more Palestinians have been killed by Israelis than Israelis by Palestinians, secondly Israel is holding Palestine under occupation not the other way round.. thirdly Israel has a law which allows her to hold Palestinian suspects indefinitely for renewable periods of up to six months without trial. Lets not forget that Israel has been eating into Palestinian territory for over 50 years not the other way around.. I find your arguments claiming Israel as the victim to be very very weak.

      lenzi.marques - 2012-05-11 06:33

      haha they're not better shots Koos. they are unfairly matched. f16 jets vs stones and home made rockets. Again we can see another example of Israeli aggression on a faaaar weaker foe kicking them while they are already down.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 06:36

      Firstly, provide your source when quoting statistics. Secondly, Israel was invaded twice, full military invasions (in the 1960's). She managed to survive and push the invaders back, into their territories. Per the rules of war, she got to keep the territory gained by repelling the invaders. Moral of the story: don't invade your neighbor. Thirdly, as mentioned above, many Palestinians have the stated objective of destroying Israel. It is no wonder some are removed from society, where they would continue their attacks. Palestinian children are taught in Kindergarten to attack Israel. Kindergarten. Think about this. If the Palestinians changed this objective, chose peace instead, the picture would be altogether different. Their picture would be altogether different. They are harming themselves. Fourthly, as also mentioned above, Israel is not "eating into Palestinian territory". This territory was lost by the Palestinians when, together with their unelected dictator backers, they invaded Israel, twice. Lastly, Israel is not a victim. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are playing the victim, and the martyr, to win sympathy from people who don't have the good sense to see what is really happening.

      Ask - 2012-05-11 08:44

      @Fred - None of this would be happening and everyone in the ME would be alive today if Israel was not 'created'... Fred, you are like a stuck record... you have to be paid for these posts...

      Koos - 2012-05-11 08:52

      Israel were there more than 2012 years ago.

      Ask - 2012-05-11 09:02

      @Koos - so what happened in the year 2013BC?

      Bradley - 2012-05-11 10:06

      I agree 100% with you Fred....Its like a child who tries to steal another kids sweets and gets beat for it, then the kid runs off to mommy saying he got hit but not why he got hit...

      Tommy - 2012-05-11 10:23

      Lenzi, "they are unfairly matched. f16 jets vs stones and home made rockets. Again we can see another example of Israeli aggression on a faaaar weaker foe kicking them while they are already down". So picked the enemy, deal with the fact if they are better equipped. You can not convince a stronger enemy to lay down arms and fight with fists, just because you can't afford rifles - your argument is really stupid.

      Boom - 2012-05-11 11:00

      AkJoe: the biggest problem to a solution in the Middle East is your mentality, unfortunately shared by so many in the arab state. Whether or not you feel that Israel was created legitimately or has the right to exist, is irrelevant. The fact is that it does exist, and the Jewish people will fight for their right to exist and to have a state of their own, just like all other people. The sooner that people like you accept that, the sooner there can be a solution. I mean hamas, iran, syria and so on won't even say the word "Israel". They won't even recognize that Israel exists. How can you actually be serious with people who are so pig-headed that they will not even accept the right of Israel to exist?

      Boom - 2012-05-11 11:09

      Lenzi: Your statements are completely untrue. Firstly weapons are missiles, rockets, anti-tank missiles, heavy artillery and of course bombs, which are supplied to hamas by iran. They are not "home made" rockets and stones. Secondly, you are either ignorant or deliberately deceiptful about the "land grabs". Israel withdrew from the gaza strip completely several years ago. All they have received in return is suicide bombs and attacks on their civilians. The founder of hamas a few months ago publicly stated that gaza was not occupied. Even if Israel went back exactly to the much talked about 1967 borders, we are talking about 3% more of the palestinians land that Israel would give up. 3%. The real fight here is about Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. Finally, the prisoners we are talking about in this article are terrorists who are responsible for the deaths of hundreds and hundreds of Israeli civilians. They are not people who are imprisoned because they are walking in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 11:28

      Um, Joe, Israel is there. Has been for more thn sixty years. Who's the stuck record then? Plus, Israelis are living lagely on land they've lived on for thousands of years. This is recorded fact.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 12:10

      Israel is a tiny, tiny slither of land that Israelis have lived on for thousands of years. Look at it in comparison to the vast so-called Arab land. This is the level of racism, envy and meanness we're dealing with here, financed and perpetuated by unelected, self-serving dictators of the region, who don't really have the wellbeing of the Palestinians at heart. A tiny sllither of land, compared to vast, vast land almost a whole continent big.

      Jaba - 2012-05-11 13:11

      Since the founding of the state, Jews have yearned to live in peace with their Arab neighbours. In 1947, the UN partitioned the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted it, and the Arabs rejected it. Still, Israel pursued peace. Israel wants peace – while Arab political leaders want a "holy" war. When the Palestinians choose peace there will be peace - until then there will be a ‘war like’ existence of detentions and heavily guarded borders. If the tables were turned and the Arabs held the supremacy; all the Jews would have been killed decades ago… the reality that there are Palestinians is testament to the fact that Israel wants peace. I do hope the Palestinians realise that only peace will end their suffering – their violence will only lead to more violence - and religious fundamentalism will Never lead to a Palestinian state.

      Ask - 2012-05-11 13:52

      @Boom - there you go smokin again... I think you need to change your brand... try some from Durbs... There is nothing wrong with my mentality - it is your mentality that is questionable... you sound like a Nazi.. when you say... 'Whether or not you feel that Israel was created legitimately or has the right to exist, is irrelevant.' It is precisely this attitude that has Eastern European Nazism written all over it. I don't care what the other Arab state are doing; they are a bunch of idiots... The issue is not whether the 'Israelites' have a right to exist in a land that was chosen by Moses;(btw you should still be searching for this promised land) the issue is the way Gestapo techniques were used to acquire this land and displacing millions of people in the process... now go smoke some more Boom and let us know what you think...

      Boom - 2012-05-11 14:28

      AskJoe. Your response says a lot about you. Your insults just mean I have hit a nerve. You have only confirmed my statement. You cannot even accept that Israel exists. You just can't move beyond that point. But Israel is not going to go away, no matter what you think about how it was formed. And tht's my point. Until people like you accept that, there is no solution. I would also like to point out that, when Israel was formed, legally and by the United Nations, as far as I know about 600,000- 800,000 Jews were forcibly expelled from arab lands, as well as all the surrounding arab states declaring war on Israel and attacking it. At this time, approximately 600,000 arabs left Israel as a result of the war caused by the arab states, some completely freely, some fleeing from the Israelis who had by then turned the tables and were pursuing their attackers. So your statement that "millions" were displaced and that the acquisition of the land was by "Gestapo" techniques is simply not true. Historical fact proves otherwise.

      Ask - 2012-05-11 17:15

      @BOOM - I think you should finish your boom... Read my post slowly... there are no insults only facts... You did not hit any nerve, on the contrary, I think I hit one of your Nazi nerves... You politely say that " I would also like to point out that, when Israel was formed, legally and by the United Nations" how arrogant can you be... you consulted everyone to legalise Israel but the Palestinians... and you call this legal... it was a bloody invasion... and you just came out of a holocaust... and you behave just like your oppressors... Can you blame the Arabs for expelling the Jewish communities. Your historical facts is your 'POV'... if you had the courtesy of reading my entire post, you would have realised that I'm against the way the land was acquired ... and the displacement of INNOCENT Palestinians ... you were no better than the Apartheid government... and the Nazi's...

  • Ask - 2012-05-11 13:54

    @Fred - you will never learn... freddie dear... "Plus, Israelis are living lagely on land they've lived on for thousands of years. This is recorded fact." Prove and state your source...

      Boom - 2012-05-11 14:36

      There is no need to be nasty and childish ASkJoe.

      Ask - 2012-05-11 17:22

      @BOOM - don't be stupid... where was I being nasty... Fred and I have a special relationship... he knows why I asked him to prove his source... don't be jealous...

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 17:56

      Joe, do you have a source for your statistic or not?

      Ask - 2012-05-11 18:33

      @Fred - When do you intend answering my question... Prove and state your source... Which statistic are you referring to?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-11 18:41

      The one you're avoiding answering; the larger number of Palestinian deaths to Israelis.

      Ask - 2012-05-12 03:04

      @Fred - Freddie dear... you must be smoking the same ZC that BOOM is smoking and ALL the people that gave you + vote... Go and read all the posts... and see who made what comment... Your comments are ALL so full of ZC... that is why now, you don't know if you are Mary or Freddy.... or Avi or Vavi.. As usual... you NEVER answer my question/s - you only have rhetoric that is atypical of a racist with tunnel vision. Now answer the question...

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-12 08:49

      It's clear that you go on and on about nothing, avoiding and evading. YOU haven't provided the source to your statistic. Are you going to?

      Ask - 2012-05-12 11:15

      @Fred - you sound like you are having a rhetorical conversation (with yourself, describing yourself) you don't have to... shame, it's so sad... Freddie dear, I find it strange that you can make statements without quoting sources and you demand quotes and sources from other people. When you are questioned about it; you try and change the topic... you personify idiotism... I suggest you read all the posts again, (take your finger out of your ass) and use it as a pointer whilst reading... and show me exactly what statistic you are ranting like girl about?

  • Bradley - 2012-05-11 14:11

    "you can keep knocking but not knock me love lost no love try to run me into the ground but what goes around COMES AROUND"

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