Israel And Palestine Reach Agreement In Ending Hunger Strike
Israeli and Palestinian leaders came to an agreement on Monday with the help of Egypt to end a 77-day hunger strike led by Palestinian prisoners in protest for better conditions.
CNN reported that the agreement will involve the transfer of Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement to other cells, and though crowds celebrated the news in Gaza, not all of the 2,000 prisoners have agreed to stop their strike.
- Seven administrative detainees who started the protest 77 days ago -- well before the vast majority of participants, who began April 17 -- plan to keep it up until they are freed, a brother of one of the detainees told CNN on Monday night.
- "If they are not released immediately, they will continue their hunger strike," said Mahmoud Halahlah, whose brother Thaer is behind bars in Israel.
- The brother said lawyers and prisoner committee members were meeting Thaer Halahlah and the other holdout detainees Monday night to discuss the situation.
- Their resistance threatens to undermine the symbolic significance of the deal that had been pushed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. But it doesn't kill the agreement, which was cheered by key players on both sides, nor will it necessarily alter its effect on the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners.
- "I am glad it's over. I am glad nobody died," said Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told ABC News that the deal was agreed at the request of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
- "In response to request of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Israel has negotiated the end of the prisoner strike," he said.
- "It is our hope that this gesture will serve to build confidence between the parties, and further peace."
- In a separate but related development, Israel also agreed to hand over to the Palestinian Authority the remains of 100 militants killed while trying to carry out anti-Israeli attacks.
- "As a gesture to president Abbas, Israel will return to the Palestinian Authority bodies of 100 terrorists who were killed by perpetrating attacks," Ofir Gendelman, another Netanyahu spokesman, said on his official Twitter account.
The agreement will take effect within 72 hours of the deal being signed, and there is hope that such a contract is a positive sign toward more amicable Israeli and Palestinian relations.