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article imagePalestinians urge Israel to talk as prisoner hunger strike grows

By Layne Weiss     Apr 26, 2012 in World
Jerusalem - CNN reports that a group representing the 1,650 Palestinians who are on a hunger strike to protest the conditions of their detention have urged Israel to open dialogue on the way prisoners are treated.
The Palestinian Prisoner Association club said Thursday that Israel should begin talks with representatives of prisoners, CNN reports. It also called on the European Union and The United Nations to get involved.
BBC News reports that there are an estimated 5000 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli jails.
150 prisoners joined the hunger strike Wednesday and 100 more are expected to join next week, CNN reports.
The Guardian reports that Israel is responding to the strikes with repercussions such as solitary confinement, the confiscation of personal belongings, and the denial of family visits.
Reuters reports that securing family visits has been a longstanding issue for Palestinian prisoners.
Seven prisoners have been transferred to a prison medical center, and there is great concern, notably from a prisoner's rights group called Addameer that those on hunger strikes are not getting proper medical attention. Adameer charges that "independent doctors are being denied visits" to those on hunger strikes.
According to BBC News, while the prisoners are refusing food, they are receiving water and salts.
The Israel prison service says the majority of the prisoners are affiliated with Hamas, the Popular Resistance, and Islamic Jihad.
The prisoners are protesting Israel's controversial "administrative detention" policy, which allows authorities to detain people indefinitely, CNN reports. Authorities are also not required to officially charge the prisoners.
The prisoners are also accusing Israel of mistreating them by putting them in solitary confinement, denying them visits with their families, assaulting them, and preventing them from having access to education.
According to BBC News, Israel denies these allegations and says they not mistreating the prisoners.
The strike began 8 days ago when when a prisoner, Khader Adnan, was released. Adnan had refused food for 66 days, Reuters reports. Adnan, a member of Islamic Jihad, agreed to a deal and was freed from jail.
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