Prison (illustration)
Prison (illustration) iStock

The United Nations on Tuesday said it was following closely the hunger strike by more than 1,000 terrorists in Israeli prisons.

"We are obviously aware of the situation and following the developments closely," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, according to AFP.

The terrorist prisoners, led by archterrorist Marwan Barghouti, launched the hunger strike on Monday to press for demands such as better medical services and access to telephones.

Dujarric noted clashes that have taken place in Judea and Samaria in support of the hunger strikers, adding, "We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint."

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan vowed that authorities would not negotiate with the prisoners and said Barghouti had been placed in solitary confinement in another prison.

Dujarric said that "as a matter of principle, wherever it may be, we always call for prisoners to be treated in a humane way."

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman addressed the hunger strike, calling for Israel to adopt the approach of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Thatcher had taken a firm stance against hunger strikes and had not given in to the demands of hunger striking prisoners, even after some of them had died.

Jailed terrorists have often used hunger strikes as a pressure tactic aimed at forcing Israel to improve the conditions of their imprisonment or 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.

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