Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners moved to hospital

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two hunger-striking Palestinians in Israeli jails have been moved to an Israeli hospital in poor condition, their lawyer said.

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Bilal Diab, 27, from Jenin, and Thaer Halahla, 33, from Hebron are at risk of death, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. Both have marked their 63rd day without food. Eight other prisoners also have been hospitalized.

Israel’s Supreme Court is set to hear an appeal against their detention without charge on Thursday, according to Ma’an.

A prisoner can be held in administrative detention, without charges being brought, for up to four months; it can also be renewed.

Some 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are on an open-ended hunger strike launched two weeks ago The mass hunger strike is calling for an end to solitary confinement and isolation; for allowing families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip to visit their loved ones; and allowing prisoners to have newspapers, learning materials and specific television channels. It is also protesting administrative detention.

Israeli prisons commissioner Aharon Franco on Monday told Palestinian hunger strikers that he had named a panel to address the prisoners’ demands, according to Arab news sources.

There currently are more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, with some 320 held in administrative detention.

Two high-profile hunger strikers were released after cutting deals with Israeli authorities.

Khader Adnan ended his 66-day hunger strike in mid-February when Israeli prosecutors agreed that his administrative detention would not be renewed. Hana Shalabi, a member of Islamic Jihad, agreed March 29 to end her 43-day hunger strike and be freed in exchange for spending the next three years in Gaza.

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