Some 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel launched a mass hunger strike on Monday to press for basic rights and shed light on the difficult humanitarian conditions inside Israeli prisons, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies.
The open-ended hunger strike, one of the largest in recent years, coincides with Palestinian Prisoners Day, annually commemorated on April 17. Led by jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, the strike will see Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum participate from within six prisons inside Israel.
“They have central demands and will continue to fast until they achieve them. The prisoners see hunger striking as the only door they can knock on to attain their rights,” Amina al-Taweel, the centre’s spokesperson, told Al Jazeera.
“Even though it is one of the most dangerous and difficult decisions, they are only making this choice because conditions [inside the prisons] have reached a new low,” said al-Taweel.
Rallies are expected to take place across major Palestinian cities in the occupied territories including Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, in solidarity with the plight of prisoners.