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EU calls for better conditions for Palestinians in Israeli jails
Published Saturday 16/02/2013 (updated) 23/02/2013 13:57
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A woman holds her baby during a protest in Gaza City calling
for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, Feb. 5, 2013.
(Reuters/Suhaib Salem)
RAMALLAH (Reuters) -- The European Union on Saturday called on Israel to improve conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and a PA minister said there would be rallies next week to support hunger striking prisoners.

Nearly 5,000 Palestinians are jailed in Israel, including 178 administrative detainees, 10 women and 193 children, according to the latest figures from prisoner rights group Addameer.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement that she is "following with concern" the deteriorating health of four Palestinian inmates who are staging long-term hunger strikes in protest of their detention.

"The EU calls on the government of Israel to allow for the immediate restoration of their family visiting rights and calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners," she said.

A spokeswoman for Israel's Prisons Service said the four prisoners were in "good condition" and receiving medical treatment as needed, but they had lost the right to family visits when they began their protests.

Issa Qaraqe, PA minister for prisoner affairs, said public demonstrations to show solidarity with the group would be held all next week.

On Friday, hundreds of Palestinians protested across the West Bank in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike.

Protestors gathered outside Israel's Ofer jail, near Ramallah, in solidarity with Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for 199 days, and Tareq Qaadan and Jaafar Azzidine who have refused food for 81 days.

Issawi, Qaadan and Azzidine are being held in administrative detention, without charge or trial.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
16/02/2013 20:12
Ashton is a known jerk, who hasn't paid attention to the real problem: the miserable conditions and torture of political prisoners in the Palestinian prison systems in the west bank and Gaza.

2 ) Pete / Canada
17/02/2013 01:20
The list of crimes committed by Israelis gets longer each day. They will be held to account and it wont be by the finger wagging do nothing mouthpieces like Ashton....It will be by common everyday citizens of the world that are tired of the war crimes committed by Israel. Everyday the noose gets tighter.....support BDS.

3 ) gabi / australia
17/02/2013 01:57
Brian, Brian, Brian - always managing to deflect criticism of your state. "My country, right or wrong"! Maybe the EU should get on to the murder of political prisoners in Israeli jails - even if they did work for Mossad, and then threatened to blow the whistle! (Having said that, anyone who works for Mossad must know they'll get bitten.) But it is truly heart-warming to read of your concern for Palestinian's human rights. Perhaps you should start a petition?

4 ) boutros abu rish / amman
17/02/2013 04:28
@1 didnt realise you had an heart

5 ) Julie / USA
17/02/2013 04:43
inhumane conditions, profound medical negligence to the death, torture, violation of human rights, illegal detention & breach of previous prisoner treaties regarding Palestinian prisoners in izraeli jails is a life-threatening, critically urgent & dangerous issue.

6 ) Carlos / USA
17/02/2013 05:19
Brian Cohen is a joke. The real problem is war criminal israel arresting and holding without trial evidence or warrants almost the whole male populace of Palestine at one time or another. Other real problems are israeli stealing of land. israeli demolition of property. israeli stealing of tax reciepts. israeli torture. israeli kidnapping, piracy and murder. In January israel murdered at least one Palestinian teenager everyday for a whole week.

7 ) Most of them get B.A / NOW THEY WANT
17/02/2013 07:32
M,A, ??

8 ) Emile / Palestine
17/02/2013 11:31
#1 Being that you're an Israeli Zionist, I hardly believe that you have set foot in the West Bank, unless of course it was on the grounds of an Israeli settlement. I don't think you have any credibility whatsoever in making a statement regarding the conditions of Palestinians in Palestinian prisons in the West Bank and Gaza. I work for a rehab center for tortured prisoners. Although our prisons are not perfect, yes torture does happen, they are still much better than Israeli prisons.

9 ) Mel / USA
17/02/2013 18:46
Ashton's a shameless,collusionist,coward.She's paid to evade the CORE issue of Israel's inhumane criminality & blatant WAR CRIMES i.e. that Israel's racist/bigotted indefinate detention"emergency regulation"policy for Palestinian civilian men,women&children is ILLEGAL,UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAWS,CONVENTIONS,TREATIES,STATUTES & legally recognized/defined as COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT,ATTRITION,TORTURE,as well as state-sponsored BIRTH CONTROL of non-Jewish "demographic facts"on PALESTINIAN ground!!

10 ) Tony B? / ME
18/02/2013 09:31
The real losers in all this are the Pal prisoners in PA and Hamas Jails. Nobody breaths a word about their torture and inhumane treatment because it has no anti-Israeli propaganda value. Even the so called 'human rights' groups are hypocritically silent about them. Maybe that's because they know that if Israel adopted PA and Hamas standards of treatment, those people would end up being dragged through the streets behind motorbikes.

11 ) Padraic / Ireland
24/02/2013 22:37
Widespread community concern for the IRA prisoners held by the British in Northern Ireland was the catalyst for huge social protest and eventually led to the Irish peace agreement
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