Fifty Palestinians held by Israel launched an open-ended hunger strike Thursday to protest recent moves by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) to reduce monthly stipends paid out to prisoners and their families.
“Fifty inmates in Israeli prisons have launched a hunger strike in solidarity with former detainees in Ramallah who are now protesting the stipend cuts,” Mansour Shamasneh, a spokesperson for detained and formerly detained Palestinians, said at a press conference.
For the last 46 days, dozens of former Palestinian prisoners have been holding a sit-in in the West Bank city of Ramallah — the PA’s administrative capital — to protest the recent stipend reductions.
— Henny A.J. Kreeft (@KhamakarPress) August 3, 2017
“The PA continues to cut stipends [for prisoners] and public-sector salaries, depriving us and our families of our most basic needs,” Shamasneh said.
According to Shamasneh, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with a Hamas delegation last week in Ramallah to discuss the issue.
“The meeting was positive,” Shamasneh told Anadolu Agency. “Abbas promised to quickly resolve the issue.”
“Until that happens, however, we will continue our sit-in in Ramallah,” he added.
Shamasneh also said that a delegation of ex-detainees had met Thursday with officials from the Palestinian Preventive Security (PPS) apparatus and Palestinian military intelligence, with whom they “exchanged views” on the stipend issue.
In May, the PA reduced monthly stipends handed out to roughly 300 Palestinians who were released by Israel in a 2011 prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)