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Palestinian prisoners on 10th day of hunger strike

Over 100 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails began their tenth day of hunger strike on May 3, and three have been taken to a medical center for treatment, a prisoners' rights group said. The Palestinian Prisoner's Society said in a statement that the number of prisoners on hunger strike against their detention without a trial has reached 120. Striking prisoners have been placed in solitary confinement, the PPS statement said. Three prisoners—Dawood Hamdan, Tariq Deis, and Muhammad al-Natsha—have been taken to Assaf Harofeh medical center for treatment. The statement said 51 strikers were being held in the Negev desert prison, 37 in Ofer detention center, and the rest in Megiddo prison. Elderly and sick prisoners are not on hunger strike due to health reasons, the statement said. If there is no change in Israel's policy regarding "administrative detention"—Israel's phrase for holding prisoners without charge or trial—another group of prisoners will begin a hunger strike, it added.

Sivan Weizman, a spokeswoman for the Israeli prison service, told Ma'an News Agency that the hunger strikers had been separated from the other prisoners, but that they were not being held in solitary confinement. She confirmed that prisoners had been taken to a medical center, adding that the patients would be brought to the hospital if necessary.

Palestinian prisoners began a mass, open-ended hunger strike in a number of Israeli jails on April 24 in protest of Israel's policy of administrative detention. Other administrative detainees have been on hunger strike for a longer period of time. Ayman Tbeish has been on hunger strike 64 days and is being held in Assaf Harofeh medical center where doctors say his life is at risk, the PPS statement said. Another prisoner, Adnan Shanayta from Bethlehem, has been on hunger strike for 39 days. He is currently hospitalized at Tel Hashomer medical center, according to the statement.

Administrative detainees are often held for months and without access to the evidence leading to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances. As of April 1, there were 186 Palestinians being held in administrative detention in Israeli jails, including nine Palestinian Legislative Council members, according to the prisoners' rights group Addameer.

Over 800,000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967, with 5,224 currently being held in Israeli prisons, according to the PLO.

From Ma'an News Agency, May 3

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