Protesters in Hevron
Protesters in Hevron Reuters

Thousands of Palestinian Authority Arabs marched in Hevron, Shechem and Gaza on Friday, in solidarity with terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails who have been holding a mass hunger strike.

According to a report on Kol Yisrael radio, PA security forces tried to prevent the protesters in Hevron from clashing with IDF soldiers.

Some 1,500 terrorist prisoners launched a mass hunger strike on April 17, in protest of their being in administrative detention. Two of the prisoners, both active members of the Islamic Jihad terror organization, have been fasting for more than 70 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.

In a tactic for United Nations sympathy, the PA has said that the prisoners' hunger strike is a humanitarian disaster.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged Israel to either charge or release Palestinian Authority Arab detainees “without delay.”

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

Abbas told international reporters the situation is “very dangerous” when the International Committee for the Red Crossurged 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 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.”

commander in the Islamic Jihad terror group has warned that the death of any hunger striker in prison will touch off a third intifada. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has also called for another Intifada in support of the hunger strikers.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)