On April 17, about 3,500 Fatah prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons plan to begin a hunger strike. The strike is being organized by the organization’s high-ranking member Marwan Barghouti, who was sentenced in 2004 to five consecutive life terms and is being held in a prison in the south of Israel.
According to data presented by the Israel Prison Service, about 2,900 Fatah prisoners are incarcerated in Israel. Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Al-Monitor that there are about 3,500 Fatah prisoners when including Fatah detainees under investigation (meaning those detained but not sentenced yet) and administrative detainees (many of the detainees and prisoners are held in the southern Ketziot Prison). The 2,900 sentenced prisoners make up close to half of the Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Fares said he believes the hunger strike can be averted: He said Israel should enter into negotiations regarding the prisoners’ demands, to reach a compromise. But, he said, “Instead of acting rationally and logically, Israel prefers to create a field hospital near the Ketziot Prison and prepare for the strike.”