63 Palestinian Arab prisoners have suspended the hunger strike which they have observed in Israeli jails since late April, one of their lawyers said Tuesday, according to AFP.
"The strikers, who have reached an agreement with the Israeli prison authorities, have decided to suspend their action with the approach of (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan," lawyer Abu Snena said.
Exact details of the agreement between the prisoners and the Israel Prisons Service have not been made public, and Palestinian Authority (PA) media said the details will be published once the prisoners are released from the hospitals in which they are currently being treated.
A statement on behalf of the hunger strikers quoted by the Hebrew-language Walla! news website said that the agreement was reached following talks with Israeli authorities and “given the aggression against the Palestinian people.”
Arab terrorist prisoners have turned hunger striking into a pressure tactic aimed at forcing Israel to release them out of fear for their lives. Israel has several times in the past caved to the pressure and released some hunger strikers.
Some 1,550 Palestinian Arabs imprisoned in Israel ended a hunger strike in May 2012, in exchange for a package of measures which would allow visits from relatives in Gaza and the transfer of detainees out of solitary confinement.
In April, hundreds of terrorist prisoners declared a hunger strike in "solidarity" with a Hamas prisoner's solitary confinement. After a media brouhaha, the terrorists ended the hunger strike just hours after it began.
The announcement came as MKs reached a compromise regarding a bill that would allow the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners.
The Knesset approved the bill allowing forced-feedings in its first reading on June 9 and had planned to rush it through its second and third readings, but the bill caused outrage among leftist and Arab lawmakers.
One of those opposed to the bill was MK Yifat Kariv of Yesh Atid, who said the bill in its current form raises serious issues regarding medical ethics and torture. On Sunday night, representatives of Yesh Atid made clear to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the party would vote against the bill in its current form, causing a coalition crisis.
Under the compromise reached on Tuesday, only in dire circumstances when a person is in mortal danger will force-feeding will be allowed and not when his health is in danger, as the law in its present format states.
In addition, a prisoner will be able to express his opinion to the judge and present the reason for his hunger strike. The Knesset’s Legal Advisor will examine each case and submit his opinions to the court.
The law will also stipulated that a doctor will not be required to force feed a hunger striker should he not wish to do so.