Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Middle East: UN envoy welcomes deal to end hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israel

deal to end hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israel
UN - The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, has welcomed the agreement reached to end the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody.

Mr. Serry “urges all involved to implement the agreement in good faith and promptly,” according to a statement issued today in Jerusalem.

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners had begun an open-ended hunger strike on 17 April – Palestinian Prisoners Day – to protest against unjust arrest procedures, arbitrary detention and bad prison conditions.

For weeks now, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior UN officials have been stressing the importance of averting any further deterioration in the condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, urging everyone concerned to reach a solution to their plight without delay.

Under the agreement, which was signed on Monday following mediation by Egypt and Jordan, Israel will reportedly end solitary confinement for all prisoners and allow around 400 prisoners from Gaza to receive family visits. It also agreed to discuss improvements in prison conditions, such as access to televisions and telephone calls.

In return, according to media reports, Palestinian prisoners’ leaders have signed a commitment to “completely halt terrorist activity inside Israeli prisons,” including recruitment, practical support, funding and co-ordination of operations.