June 27, 2017

Palestinians hold local elections in West Bank but not Gaza

14 May 2017, 01:11 | Alberta Rodriguez

West Bank votes in polls underlining Palestinian split

Palestinian President Abbas attends opening of Center via teleconference with Bethlehem before meeting with Russian President Putin at Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi

Groups of Chileans gathered to support the Palestine prisoners' hunger strike, which has been ongoing for nearly a month, across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The ICRC had been allowed access to other prisoners on hunger strike, but Israel had been restricting access to Barghouti.

Hunger strikers have issued a list of demands including better medical services, family visits and more dignified conditions in detention.

The radio estimated that almost 1,800 prisoners are now participating in the strike.

According to committee spokesmen, friends and relatives of the hunger strikers - along with activists and Palestinian officials - took part in the rally.

Earlier this week, Israel produced footage it said showed Barghouti secretly breaking his fast in his cell. During decades of conflict, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have spent time in Israeli prisons for offenses ranging from stone throwing to participating in deadly attacks.

According to Palestinian figures, Israel is now holding more than 6,500 Palestinians - including scores of women and children - at 24 detention centers across the country.

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Barghouti, 58, a key leader in the Fatah party who rose to prominence during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, is a more popular figure among Palestinians than his nominal superior, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who recently met with US President Donald Trump.

But for Israel, Barghouti is a terrorist. Despite that, Barghouti remained politically active behind the bars. Palestinians have alleged the video is a fabrication.

Israel says it now has 6,177 Palestinian prisoners held on terrorism-related charges in its jails.

"I hope in the near future [Odeh] will go on hunger strike between the walls of prison, for supporting and inciting terrorism", Ilatov added.

"We are an entire nation held captive and the Palestinian prisoners are the most dramatic reflection of this long and horrific captivity", she wrote.

Israel maintains that they are treated properly, in compliance with global standards, and has refused to enter negotiations over the demands.

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