A Palestinian Authority lawmaker says a deal has been reached with Israel to end a hunger strike by Arab prison inmates. The announcement confirmed a statement made earlier in the day by the Hamas terrorist organization that an agreement was in the process of being formulated.
Hundreds of prisoners agreed Monday to end their strike after concessions were agreed to by the two sides, according to PA Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe, who spoke with reporters.
The agreement, brokered by Egyptian mediators, was reached at a prison in Ashkelon, with representatives of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and PA terrorist groups.
Some of the inmates had fasted for up to 77 days, the longest hunger strike by PA Arab prisoners in Israel. But allegedly both sides were hoping to wrap up the strike before Tuesday, when PA Arabs mark “Nakba Day.” The word “nakba” in Arabic means “disaster” or “catastrophe,” and is used to refer to the rebirth of the State of Israel 64 years ago.
PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas had warned a "disaster" would occur if any of the fasting prisoners died due to medical complications resulting from the hunger strike. The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization and several others likewise threatened a "third intifada" would be launched in response to the deaths of any of the striking prisoners as well.
Among the concessions made by Israel was an agreement to stop placing prisoners in solitary confinement. In addition, Israel agreed to allow prisoners to call relatives, to pursue academic studies, and to allow prisoners from Gaza as well as from Judea and Samaria to receive visits from family members. Issues regarding administrative detention without charges were not clarified in the announcement.
Hamas-allied terrorists blocked kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit from receiving any visitors whatsoever – including even a representative from the International Committee of the Red Cross in order to determine his health status – while holding him hostage for more than five years in Gaza. Shalit was finally freed this past October in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 PA Arab terrorist prisoners being held in Israeli jails.