Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed Monday to put an end to their hunger strikes after winning concessions from Israel to improve their conditions, AP has reported.
The agreement put an end to weeks of hunger strike for 1,550 Palestinian prisoners according to Israel's prisons service and 2,500 prisoners according to activists.
Bilal Diab 27, and Thaer Halahleh 33, who completed 77 days on hunger strike, were joined by hundreds of inmates on April 17 to demand improved conditions in Israeli custody.
The Palestinian minister for Prisoner Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, said that Palestinian prisoner leaders signed the deal on Monday afternoon at an Israeli prison in Ashkelon. Israel's Shin Bet security agency and Palestinian militant groups confirmed the deal.
Amongst their demands were:
A Palestinian negotiator told AP that Israel agreed to allow prisoners from both the West Bank and Gaza to receive family visits, to halt its punitive policy of placing prisoners in solitary confinement, allow prisoners to make phone calls to relatives and permit prisoners to pursue academic studies.
On social networking sites, many welcomed the news with caution. Others have reported the claims of hungers strikers saying that they would not end their hunger strike despite the reported agreement.