After 26 days, a hunger strike
conducted by some 1,550 Palestinian prisoners may be drawing to an end.
An Egyptian official said Israel
has agreed to a proposal that would end the hunger strike in Israeli jails.
The official says the Egyptian-drafted proposal still needs to be approved by the prisoners.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Sunday that under the deal Israel will move prisoners currently in solitary confinement to regular cells.
Israel also will soften its "administrative detention" policy, under which prisoners deemed a security risk can be held without charges.
Earlier on Sunday, Kadura Fars, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club told Ynet that the Israel Prison Service
is likely to give its answer on the inmates' demands on Monday.
According to Fares, the IPS has already formed a response. He estimated that a proposal to end the strike will be raised during a formal meeting between representatives of the IPS and the prisoners likely to be held on Monday.
Fares said that if the prisoners see that their demands are being met, they will immediately freeze the strike. The strike will officially be stopped when the prisoners see that the agreements are being implemented.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's envoy to Egypt,
Azaam al-Ahmad is currently in Cairo discussing the matter with senior intelligence officials. He estimated that the IPS and the prisoners will sign an agreement "very soon" adding that the "final points" are now being finalized.
Protesters support Palestinian prisoners (Photo: AFP)
Among the strikers, 15 are hospitalized at the IPS medical center where they are getting treatment. Three security prisoners are hospitalized at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. The rest have been transferred to separate prison wings away from the other inmates. The hunger strikers are now being denied such privileges as access to a TV, the canteen, family visits and more.
Last week, a hearing was held following a petition demanding to hospitalize all hunger strikers currently held at the medical center in civilian hospitals. The court ruled that the IPS is responsible for the prisoners' health. The IPS is set to file its response to the petition on Tuesday.
The Palestinian prisoners are demanding to abolish solitary confinement, allow family visits from Gaza, allow studies in prison, abolish administrative detention, add TV channels and increase monthly allowance for the prison canteen.
Raanan Bem-Zur contributed to this report