Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe’, stated that Israel has agreed to a large number of the legitimate demands of the hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoners, including ending its illegal solitary confinement policies within 72 hours, allowing visits to Gaza Strip detainees within a month, and handing over the remains of 100 Palestinians buried at the “Numbers Graveyard” — a graveyard that Israel repeatedly denied existed.During a press conference held on Monday evening at a protest tent installed in front of the Al-Biereh City Council, in Al-Biereh near the Central West Bank City of Ramallah, Qaraqe’ said that an agreement was reached between the detainees and the Israeli Prison Authority.
The agreement states that detainees, held under administrative detention, will have their so-called “secret files” (that even defense attorneys do not have access to) examined by legal committees, and that, if Israel fails to provide “security information’ against them, they will not receive an extension to their administrative detention.
The agreement also states that Israel will hand over the remains of 100 Palestinians buried at the “Numbers Graveyard”, a graveyard where bodies of fighters and certain political prisoners are buried. Israeli repeatedly denied the existence of thid graveyard.
Qaraqe’ further stated that the Israel Prison Authority will improve the living conditions of the detainees, adding that Israel also agreed to several other demands set by the hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoners.
In Gaza, Salah Al-Aroury, member of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, stated that Israel will be removing all detainees from solitary confinement within 72 hours.
Al-Aroury confirmed that Israel will reinstate visiting rights to Gaza Strip detainees, and will void the so-called “Shalit law” that was imposed in June 2006 after Corporal Gilad Shalit was captured in Gaza. Shalit was released under a prisoner-swap deal mediated by Egypt between the resistance and Israel last year. A total of 1027 Palestinian detainees was released in two stages.
There were celebratory cries outside in support of the hunger strikers in central Gaza City, as demonstrators absorbed the news that visits to Gazan prisoners would now be allowed. Meanwhile, in Ramallah, Palestinian Liberation Organisation executive member Hanan Ashrawi said it was a victory ‘for millions of Palestinians’. She added: ‘The hunger strikers’ courage is magnificently inspiring and their selflessness deeply humbling. They have truly demonstrated that non-violent resistance is an essential tool in our struggle for freedom.’