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Israeli court rejects hunger-strikers' appeal

Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh have been striking for more than 70 days. They are among more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners who are currently on hunger strike.

A Palestinian woman participates in a demonstration in Gaza City in solidarity with prisoners jailed in Israel
A Palestinian woman participates in a demonstration in Gaza City in solidarity with prisoners jailed in Israel
Image: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa

AN APPEAL BY two Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike was rejected by Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday.

Al Jazeera reports that Bilal Diab (27) and Thaer Halahleh (34) have both had their appeals refused, but the court urged security services to investigate further before extending their terms again.

Khader Adnan, who was released by Israel last month after a 66-day hunger strike, has inspired more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners to follow him, the Associated Press reports.

The prisoners who have joined the strike in recent weeks are demanding better conditions and an end to imprisonment without charges.

The militant groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas have spearheaded the current hunger strike.

According to prison officials, at least 1,600 of the 4,600 Palestinians held by Israel are refusing food. Palestinians say about 2,500 strikers are striking. Most of the protesters joined the strike on April 17. Diab and Halahleh have been striking for 70 days.

Diab is shackled to a civilian hospital bed, according to Hadas Ziv of Physicians for Human Rights Israel. Halahleh is under medical supervision in a prison clinic with nine other hunger strikers, and most have refused food for more than 50 days, according to Israel’s prison service.

The strikers include militants serving multiple life sentences for participating in deadly attacks against Israeli civilians.

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Israel has held Diab since last August, according to the Palestinian prisoner rights’ group Addameer. Halahleh has been held without charge since mid-2010, and previously spent more than six years in administrative detention. Both belong to Islamic Jihad.

- Additional reporting AP

Read: Hundreds of Palestinians declare hunger strike>

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