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Palestinian joy at prisoner hunger strike end

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Palestinian joy at prisoner hunger strike end


There have been celebrations in Gaza after a deal was reached to end a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

In the streets motorists honked horns, and passers by embraced and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” the Arabic for “God is great”.

The agreement was brokered by Egypt after earlier talks ended in deadlock.

Some 1,600 prisoners had been refusing food, most for almost a month, some for over two months.

Under the terms Israel has agreed to end its controversial policy of detention without trial once prisoners complete their terms, unless they are brought to court.

“Today is a day of victory for the resistance and dignity of the Palestinian people. It’s the success of the will of the Palestinian people. This day represents Palestinian unity over the prisoner question,” said Ismail Radwan, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.

Israel is also said to have agreed to end solitary confinement for some prisoners, and to lift a ban on visits by relatives living in Gaza.

The changes are conditional on inmates signing a commitment to keep the peace inside the jails.

“In response to a request from Palestinian President Abbas, Israel has acted to end the strike. It is our sincere hope that this confidence-building measure by Israel will serve to strengthen peace,” said the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman, Mark Regev.

Concentrating minds was the state of the hunger strikers’ health. There have been fears that if any of them died, it might have provoked a furious backlash from Palestinians.

Two of the inmates from Islamic Jihad who helped launch the strike were on the 77th day of their fast when the deal was struck.

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