Palestinians termed the open-ended strike a protest against poor conditions and an Israeli policy of detention without trial that has been applied against thousands since the 1980s.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of alleged offences and crimes.
Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of alleged offences and crimes.

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike on Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti.

The hunger strike was called in connection with Palestinian Prisoners Day, observed annually, but also ahead of commemorations this summer marking 50 years since the 1967 Six Day War and the start of Israel's occupation.

"Decades of experience have proved that Israel's inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation," Barghouti wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

"In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it."

Barghouti's call for the strike has given it added credibility, with the 57-year-old serving five life sentences over his role in the violent second Palestinian intifada. He is a popular figure among Palestinians, with polls suggesting he could win the Palestinian presidency.

Some 6,300 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes. This number does not include the 300 minors and 56 women who are also in detention. Some of those detained are being held without charge or trial.

TRT World's Oliver Whitfield-Miocic has more in this report.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies