Israeli hardliners taunt Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike

Hundreds of Palestinian inmates began a hunger strike on Monday to mark their protest against poor conditions in Israeli prisons.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Israeli right-wing activists hold a barbecue outside the Israeli-run Ofer military prison, north of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank, on April 20, 2017.

A group of hardline Israelis on Thursday arranged a barbecue outside a prison in illegally occupied West Bank to taunt Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike.

The prisoners are protesting against poor conditions at Israeli-run prisons.

The ongoing strike also points at an Israeli policy of detention without trial that has been applied against thousands of Palestinians since the 1980s.

Several dozen Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces Thursday outside the Ofer prison north of Jerusalem.

Israel said the protest by prisoners was politically motivated.

The protest was led by Marwan Barghouti, 58, a leader of the mainstream Fatah Movement of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, serving five life terms after being convicted of killing Israelis during 2000 to 2005.

The strike, if sustained, could present a challenge to Israel and raise tensions between the two sides as the 50th anniversary of Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip approaches in June.

TRT World spoke to Nasim Ahmed, a political analyst from the UK-based Middle East Monitor.

Palestinians want Red Cross to intervene

The Palestinian envoy to the UN on Thursday called for the International Committee of the Red Cross to intervene to help resolve the crisis over the hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

Ambassador Riyad Mansour to the UN Security Council said that the ICRC can play a "facilitating role" to avert "the dangerous consequences of a deterioration of this situation."

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, but rarely on such a scale.

TRTWorld and agencies