Abbas warns over Palestinian prisoner hunger strike

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Tuesday called on the international community to intervene urgently in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

"Things may get out of control if the lives of the hunger strikers are not saved," Abbas said on Palestinian television.

"We ask the international community to respond effectively to ease the situation, otherwise it will be impossible to control and it will deteriorate across the Palestinian territories.

"These prisoners are on hunger strike in response to the policy of administrative detention and ill-treatment by the occupying authorities," he added in reference to Israel.

Abbas singled out four detainees in need of special attention -- Samer Assawi, Jaafar Ezzedine, Ayman Sharawneh, and Tareq Qaadan.

The Palestinian leader also sent an urgent letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the health and living conditions for the hunger strikers, as well as to demand their release.

Last year, between 1,600 and 2,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel took part in a collective hunger strike which ended with an agreement with prison administrators on May 14.

One of their main demands was the release of prisoners being held in "administrative detention" under which suspects can be imprisoned without trial for six months, which is renewable indefinitely.

Most Popular in Middle East