More than 7000 Palestinian prisoners began the two-day strike on Saturday in the hope of adding pressure on the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to do more to secure their release.

 

The hunger strike marks Palestinian Prisoners Day, which falls on Monday this year.

 

Isa Qaraqia, head of the Palestinian Prisoner Club (PPC), told Aljazeera: "Palestinian detainees announced they will start a two-day hunger strike on Saturday to attract attention to their intolerable life inside the prisons.

 

"The strike comes as a message, warning the international community that the situation inside the prisons has become very difficult."

 

Israeli occupation forces have imprisoned thousands of Palestinian men, women and children. 

 

"The international community and all human rights organisations should intervene to prevent Israeli war crimes and aggressive violations against Palestinian detainees," Qaraqia said.

 

Critical issue

 

Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs Sufyan Abu Zaida said the plight of the prisoners is a central issue for the PA.

 

"We have heard no criticism as such. However, there has been a delay in discussing these issues with Israel," he told Aljazeera.

 

"The international community and all human rights organisations should intervene to prevent the Israeli crime wars and aggressive violations carried out against Palestinian detainees"

Isa Qaraqia, head of the Palestinian Prisoner Club

Abu Zaida blamed the delay on what he termed Israeli procrastination.

 

"A national conference held on Thursday called on the PA not to sign any accord with Israel unless the unconditional release of prisoners was stipulated," he said.

 

The PPC said it hoped the hunger strike would raise awareness of the harsh conditions Palestinians endure in Israeli prisons.

 

"Accusing Palestinian prisoners of staining their hands with Israeli blood and treating them as terrorists and criminals are totally rejected," Qaraqia said.

 

"The main Palestinian condition is to release Palestinian detainees without dividing them and give them their political right in any negotiations between the two sides [Palestinians and Israelis]."