The demands of hunger-striking Palestinians in Israeli detention were discussed at a meeting in the Hadarim Prison between senior detained political leaders and the Head of the Israeli Administration, Aharon Franco, it has been revealed in a report issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees.Marwan Bargouthi, Thabit Mardawi, Abdul-Nasser Issa, Kareem Younis and Nasser Abu Srour were the detainees who met Franco.
Franco called the meeting, and stated that the special committee tasked with discussing the detainees’ demands had concluded its work and will respond within 10 days.
Bargouthi and the other detained political leaders stated that their main demands included: ending solitary confinement policies, allowing visits to Gaza Strip detainees, reinstating education for detainees, providing adequate health care for detainees, and abolishing the “Shalit Law” that Israel imposed on detainees while captured soldier Gilad Shalit was in the hands of the resistance in Gaza.
The detainees also demanded that Israel stop its illegal naked body searches of members of their families before they visit their detained loved ones.
The detainees also stated that should the Prison Administration reject their demands they will widen their strike until it becomes as influential as the Irish hunger strike of 1981.
Israeli officials of the Prison Administration had held several meetings with detainees in different Israeli prisons, and said that they will discuss their demands and will respond to them in May.
There are more than 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel according to the latest figures published on Palestinian Prisoners Day, 17 April, by the Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support Association.
The vast majority are from the West Bank, while about 475 are from the Gaza Strip and 360 are from Occupied East Jerusalem and the 1948 territories.
Israel is still holding captive 6 women and 183 children.
It is also holding 27 Palestinian members of the Legislative Council democratically elected in January 2006, including Marwan Bargouthi who was sentenced to more than five life-terms, Jamal Terawi who was sentenced to 30 years, and Ahmad Sa’adat who was sentenced to 30 years.
In addition, 24 elected Legislators are currently being held under Administrative Detention orders without being charged at all.
120 Palestinians have been in prison since before the first Oslo peace agreement was signed in 1993 between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization; 23 of them have been in prison for more than 25 years.