Most of the 4,500 Palestinian security prisoners ended their hunger strike on Monday morning, one day after initiating the protest over the death of inmate Arafat Jaradat, who died on Saturday.
Some 1,100 prisoners at Megiddo Prison, where Jaradat died, continued to refuse food on Monday morning. Israeli Prison Service officials said that they expected the strikers to eat later in the day, but to stage a partial hunger strike again on Tuesday.
Jaradat, 30, died of an apparent heart attack, according to Prison Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman. The Palestinian Authority has rejected the statement, claiming that Jaradat was tortured to death.
No unusual events were reported on Monday morning at any of the prisons in which Palestinians are being held.
Palestinian officials on Sunday morning warned that another popular uprising was indeed unfolding, but asserted that protesters would stick to the path of nonviolence.
“The death of the prisoner is the culmination of an already tense situation,” Kadoura Fares, a former PA minister and the head of the Palestinian prisoners club, told Maariv. “All of the incidents reveal a clear trend — we’re facing an intifada. The hunger-striking prisoners and the tense demonstrations, the violent clashes during which Palestinian civilians are killed, and the frozen peace process — all indicate that we’re sitting on a barrel of dynamite.”
“It may very well be that Jaradat’s death will turn out to have been the match that lit it,” he added.
AP contributed to this report.