Palestinians slam Israel for refusing talks with hunger strikers

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Adding to the tension, an op-ed penned by Barghouti was published by the New York Times on Sunday.

Obviously, the Israeli government and its supporters have a political interest in denying Barghouti credibility to write for the New York Times, as evinced by some of the responses to the op-ed: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describes Barghouti, in a Facebook status posted on Tuesday, as an "arch terrorist" who is no more a "political leader" than Bashar al-Assad is a "pediatrician".

PA (Palestinian Authority) representative in Washington, DC Husam Zomlot met with senior State Department officials earlier this week as the PA continues efforts to increase pressure on Israel.

This article explained the writer's prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. "They are murderers and terrorists".

The Times' public editor, Liz Spayd, deserves credit for using reader complaints to get a more complete author identification attached online.

Barghouti's case was somewhat unusual, in that he was tried in a civilian court; the vast majority of Palestinians from the occupied territories are tried in military courts, where the conviction rate is 99.74 percent.

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Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners have joined the hunger strike that began Monday, according to Issa Qaraqe, head of detainees' affairs for the Palestinian Authority. "We will not allow anyone to threaten us and we will not allow prisoners to die in our prisons", said Erdan.

The hunger strike has been led by prominent prisoner and popular Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, a convicted terrorist who is serving five life sentences for the murder of Israelis during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Mr Qaraqe said 1,500 inmates had now joined the hunger strike.

But Israelis say the strike is not about living standards. Security officials are prepared for the possibility of a strike and coordinate with other organizations such as the IDF, the Ministry of Health and police.

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, but rarely on such a large scale.

He has been placed in solitary confinement for calling the strike, now in its third day.

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At the same time, Barghouti's actions may also undermine and threaten Abbas.

But many believe Barghouti orchestrated the strike to coincide with Palestinian "Prisoners Day" in an effort to demonstrate his political clout and send a message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Fatah leaders, who have lately sidelined him and his allies.

"We are obviously aware of the situation and following the developments closely", said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Palestinian protesters hurl stones toward Israeli security forces during clashes following a demonstration in the West Bank town of Bethlehem to show their support for Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli on April 17, 2017.

The perception among Palestinians that the strike has narrow political aims may or may not help Israel contain it. Abbas and Hamas, the terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip, have both expressed support.

'Countries that have signed global accords must not allow the occupier to be above the law, ' said Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, recently released from prison after being accused of encouraging attacks against Israelis. Currently, such visitors require a special permit.

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