Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails will begin a new wave of protests next week, including a hunger strike that will last indefinitely, a senior Palestinian official said on Friday.
Ziad Abu-Ein, the Palestinian Authority’s deputy minister for prisoner affairs, said the protests are in retaliation for Israel’s failure to release a fourth group of pre-Oslo prisoners, as agreed to at the beginning of the current round of US-brokered peace talks.
Abu-Ein also stated that the PA would also embark on a series of measures that would unilaterally change its conduct in the field, according to Israel Radio. He did not elaborate.
Israel this week canceled the planned release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners over Ramallah’s refusal to first extend the current nine-month negotiating period, which is due to end on April 29.
In a proposed trilateral deal, Israel reportedly offered to release some 400 additional prisoners, and the US reportedly offered to free longtime Israeli prisoner and convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, if the Palestinians committed to more talks. In a surprise move, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the reported offer and applied instead to 15 international treaties and conventions, thereby taking a significant unilateral step which left peace talks all but dead in the water.