Israel accepts to either release or indict people being held in prison without trial · Relatives of strikers will be allowed to visit them · Shin Bet says that prisoners have accepted “to absolutely stop terror activity from inside Israeli jails”
One day before the Nakba is commemorated, some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners agreed yesterday to put an end to an almost one-month long hunger strike. According to Palestine Information Center, the prisoner's representatives have signed a deal with the Israeli Prison Service. The agreement includes ending the solitary confinement of Palestinian prisoners and releasing the administrative detainees (i. e. detention without trial) by the end of the administrative custody or either indicting them. It is also foreseen that relatives of the prisoners be allowed to visit them.
On the other hand, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said that the prisoners had promised "to absolutely stop terror activity from inside Israeli jails", Israeli newspaper Ynet quoted as saying.
The 2,000 prisoners had started their hunger strike on April 17th. They were following the example of Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahleh and seven other prisoners, who had started the protest earlier. Thiab and Halahleh had been on hunger strike since February 29th. Palestinian agency Ma'an News said that those prisoners too have accepted to end their hunger strike in exchange for their release after their current administrative detention term expires (depending on each case, between June and August).
Halahleh and Thiab had been detained by the Israeli forces on charges of being active members of Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad. According to Israeli rights group B'Tselem, these are two examples of administrative detention, "intended to prevent a person from committing an act that could endanger public safety". The group considers the procedure as "patently illegal" since detainees "are not told the reason for their detention or the specific allegations against them". "Most of the material submitted by the prosecution", B'Tselem says, "is classified and not shown to the detainee or his attorney. Since the detainees do not know the evidence against them, they are unable to refute it." In principle, administrative detainees can be held no longer than six months, but in practice the term can be renewed indefinitely. Halahleh has been held for 22 months this way, and Thiab for 9 months.