Security prisoners call off hunger strike, defusing Ramadan tensions

A hunger strike by Palestinian security prisoners that was supposed to start on Thursday, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, was canceled at the eleventh hour.

The decision to call off the hunger strike will contribute to easing tensions between Israel and the Palestinians during Ramadan, Palestinian sources said.

The sources claimed the decision to cancel the hunger strike was taken after “intensive contacts” between senior Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials over the past few days.

A Palestinian official told The Jerusalem Post that there was “deep satisfaction” in Ramallah over the cancellation of the hunger strike. The official claimed that the US, Egypt and Jordan were also involved in the effort to prevent the hunger strike which, he added, “could have led to an explosion with Israel during Ramadan.”

Some 2,000 security prisoners were planning to go on hunger strike as part of a series of measures to protest new restrictions imposed on them by National Security Prisoner Itamar Ben-Gvir. More prisoners were expected to join at a later stage.

View of a drill for prison guards at the Israeli Prison Authorities, Gilboa Prison, near Israel Valley. December 5, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

The “punitive measures” include, among other things, the transfer of hundreds of inmates to various prisons, limiting the use of water for showering to a few minutes, and banning the prisoners from baking their own bread.

Prisoners announced rebellion

Last month, the prisoners announced a “rebellion” against the new restrictions, with some refusing to wear the uniforms provided to them by the Israel Prison Service (PIS). Others held sit-in strikes in the prison wards and refused to talk to PIS representatives.

It was not clear by Thursday afternoon what exactly prompted the prisoners to cancel the hunger strike.

The Higher Emergency Committee For Prisoners, which claims to represent all the security prisoners, said it will issue a detailed report about an “agreement” reached between the prisoners and the Israeli authorities.

They claimed in a statement Thursday morning that it “forced the occupation to end the measures it was planning to impose against the prisoners.”

According to the committee, the Israeli authorities were forced to backtrack “thanks to the unity of the prisoners and the support they received from their people.”

The committee described the alleged agreement that prevented the hunger strike as “a new victory.”

Addressing Israel, the committee said: “You must understand that the [security] prisoners are not alone; they are not easy prey.”

Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

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