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Abbas: Death of Hunger Striking Prisoners Will Launch 'Disaster'

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warns of a “disaster” if any of the Arab prisoners dies while carrying out a hunger strike in an Israeli prison.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 5/9/2012, 12:12 PM

Prison - illustrative
Prison - illustrative
Flash 90

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is warning of a “disaster” if any of the Arab prisoners dies while carrying out a hunger strike in an Israeli prison.

Hundreds of Palestinian Authority Arab prisoners began a hunger strike more than a week ago in solidarity with six inmates who have been starving themselves for more than 45 days.

Two prisoners – both active members of the Islamic Jihad terror organization -- have been fasting for 71 days. One received medical care in a hospital and was returned to prison. The Supreme Court this week rejected an appeal by both to be set free.

A commander in the Islamic Jihad terror group warned Sunday that the death of any hunger striker in prison will touch off a third intifada.

Abbas told international reporters the situation is “very dangerous” when the International Committee for the Red Cross urged Israel to immediately transfer six of the hunger strikers to hospital. At least two were reported to be close to death.

"If anyone dies today or tomorrow or in a week, it will be a disaster and no one will be able to control the situation,” Abbas warned a Reuters reporter in an interview at his office in the PA capital of Ramallah.

"I told the Israelis and the Americans that if they do not find a solution for this hunger strike immediately, they will be committing a crime.”

Female Islamic Jihad terrorist Hana Shalbi, who fasted for 43 days, was released last month by Israeli Prison Authorities and deported to Gaza. On April 17, an estimated 1,600 PA Arab prisoners joined two prisoners who had begun a hunger strike weeks earlier.

The massive solidarity hunger strike is really being held for different reasons, however – largely to protest conditions in Israeli jails, to demand the right to receive education, more family visits, an end to solitary confinement, “repression” and night searches.