Monday, 14 May 2012

Hunger-striking detainees sign deal with prison authority

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Detainees on Monday signed a deal with the Israeli prison authority to end their mass hunger strike, officials told Ma'an.

Prisoner representatives from each of the factions agreed to the deal in Ashkelon jail, prisoners society chief Qaddura Fares said in a statement.

Israel's internal security service Shin Bet confirmed the deal, the Israeli news site Ynet reported.


Senior Hamas official Saleh Arouri, who was a member of the negotiations team, said Israel agreed to provide a list of accusations to administrative detainees, or release them at the end of their term.

In comments to the Hamas-affiliated new site Palestine Information Center, he said that under the Egypt-brokered deal Israel agreed to release all detainees from solitary confinement over the next 72 hours.

Israel will also lift a ban on family visits for detainees from the Gaza Strip, and revoke the "Shalit law," according to the official.

The "Shalit law" restricted prisoners' access to families and to educational materials as punishment for the five-year captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Shalit was freed in October in a prisoner swap agreement. more

Israel allows Gaza to export a shipment of clothes for first time in five years

GAZA May 14 (Reuters) - Israel allowed on Monday the export of Palestinian-made clothes from the Gaza Strip for the first time in at least five years, a Palestinian official said.

Raed Fattouh, who coordinates supplies into Gaza, said a truck carrying 2,000 pieces of mainly woollen garments were exported through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing towards an Israeli seaport en route to Britain.

Home to 1.7 million people, Gaza has been under tight embargo by both Israel and Egypt since the Islamist group Hamas took control of the coastal enclave in 2007.

Under international pressure, Israel eased import curbs in 2010, but for the most part businesses cannot export.

There was no indication of when the next shipment of clothing would be let out of Gaza and Fattouh said merchants were still awaiting an Israeli agreement to let them begin exporting furniture. more

Hunger strike leadership statement: To Live in Dignity or Die Freely

Statement issued by the Central Committee of the Leadership of the Strike, Statement No. 7

We have only two options: to achieve all of our demands, or to die

Free Palestinian people, masses of our nation, free people of the world....

We have entered a stage of legendary and draining human struggle, where we face real danger which threatens our lives. We are now very close to martyrdom, which is more precious and one of the best options for us.

We are now at the state of a great test of wills and we reject completely the attempts of the Prison Service management to force us to accept partial settlements in order to bring an end to this epic humanitarian struggle for justice. Here, we emphasize the following points:

We have only two options to achieve all of the following.

First, we swear not to go back without achieving our demands. We are waiting for martyrdom for the sake of our dignity, and we have prepared ourselves to confront our only two options – the victory of our humanity and our dignity, or our martyrdom without it.

Second, we strongly and firmly swear that we will continue with our battle of the empty stomachs, whatever the costs may be, until we achieve the minimum of our demands, particularly the immediate end to the horror of solitary confinement and isolation, and to allow prisoners from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank who have been denied family visits to receive them, and to return prison conditions to their pre-2000 state.

Third, we greatly appreciate the role of our great sister Egypt with regard to compelling "Israel" to implement the second part of an agreement and fulfilling its commitments, and we are confident that Egypt is an Arab leader that will not leave us to face this battle alone. We also affirm categorically that we will not end our strike without promptly achieving our demands. We are confident of the depth of support in our nation, and particularly in Egypt.

Finally, we are ready for martyrdom. We are not amateurs in hunger. Death is easier than disrespect for our dignity, so we swear we will live with dignity or die.

The Central Committee of the Leadership of the Strike

May 13, 2012 more