West Bank and Gaza shutdown in support of Palestinian prisoners

Palestinians held a general strike in solidarity with hundreds of prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike for 11 days, with some officials calling it the largest in years.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Demonstrators in East Jerusalem hold pictures of jailed relatives during a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

Schools and businesses across the occupied West Bank were closed on Thursday in a show of support for the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on a hunger strike for almost two weeks now.

Over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners started the hunger strike on April 16 in response to a call by prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti.

Palestinians have 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 Palestinian officials termed the strike, also being observed in Gaza, the biggest in years.

"This general strike is unprecedented in years," said Khalil Rizeq of the Union of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce.

But Israel said the move by the prisoners, many of whom were allegedly convicted of attacks or planning attacks against Israel, was politically motivated.

Almost 6,500 Palestinians are being held in 22 Israeli prisons, says Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club that advocates on behalf of the inmates.

TRT World spoke to journalist Muhannad Alami for the latest on the strike.

TRTWorld and agencies