Israeli Cancels Family Visits to Palestinian Prisoners on Strike

Meanwhile, tensions have been exacerbated by the decision to allow the first new Israeli settlements in the West Bank for two decades. "He was given five consecutive life terms after being convicted in an Israeli criminal court of premeditated murder for his role in terrorist attacks that killed five people, along with other crimes".

Dujarric noted that clashes have taken place in the West Bank in support of the prisoners, adding: "We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint".

"It is to be emphasised that the (prison service) does not negotiate with prisoners".

"Through our hunger strike, we seek an end to these abuses ..."

Responding to worldwide interest in the hunger strike, Israel's foreign ministry insisted in a statement: "The Palestinian prisoners are not political prisoners".

Prisoners Day comes at the same time that Palestinian prisoners are declaring their intentions to start a hunger strike in protest of conditions in Israeli prisons. The Prisons Service did not initially comment on his status.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vowed not to negotiate with Palestinian hunger strikers, saying that Barghouti had been moved to another prison and placed in solitary confinement. "The strike is politically motivated and includes unreasonable demands", he said in a statement released on his behalf. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Building new settlements in the occupied territories is considered a violation of global law.

Hundreds of Palestinians who are being held captive in Israel have gone on hunger strike, as part of their newest effort to gain more freedom while in captivity.

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Unprecedented in scale, the protest action involves a reported number of 1,500 prisoners.

Israel has responded to the mass hunger strike by punishing its organizer, Marwan Barghouti, putting him in solitary confinement. The strikers' immediate demands included better conditions and more contact with relatives.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, in a statement carried by official news agency WAFA, "called on the global community to save the life of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails".

The hunger strike was launched as the approaching half-century mark of Israeli rule over Palestinians appeared to generate renewed interest in the long-running conflict, which in recent years was often overshadowed by war and turmoil elsewhere in the region.

Palestinians consider brethren held in Israeli jails as national heroes.

"Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have made a decision to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners' Day".

In the West Bank town of Ramallah, Barghouti's wife, Fadwa, joined about 1,500 marchers. He also ordered a field hospital set up outside the Ketziot Prison to keep convicts in need of medical attention out of civilian hospitals.

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