Palestinians, IDF clash outside West Bank prison
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More than 100 Palestinians protesting outside a West Bank prison in support of hunger-striking inmates clashed with Israeli soldiers.
The rally Feb. 19 outside Ofer Prison took place as some 800 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails held a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with four long-term hunger strikers, including Samer Issawi, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days and is said to be near death, the Ma’an Palestinian news service reported.
Issawi was released in the 2011 prisoner swap to free captive soldier Gilad Shalit but was later rearrested.
The protest came a day after Palestinian rallies across the West Bank in support of the hunger strikers also resulted in clashes with Israeli soldiers. A rally of some 1,000 Palestinians also was held outside Ofer Prison on Feb. 15.
The European Union said Israel must improve conditions for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton expressed concern about those who have been on long-term hunger strikes.
The four prisoners reportedly lost their right to family visits when they embarked on the hunger strikes. They have been treated in Israeli hospitals as needed, according to reports.
The long-term hunger strikers are being held in administrative detention, under which a prisoner can be held without charges for up to four months. The administrative detention also can be renewed. — jta
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