Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launch hunger strike
Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike on Monday following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, a movement that could mark a serious challenge to Israeli authorities if sustained. The hunger strike was called for in connection with Palestinian Prisoners Day, observed annually, but also ahead of commemorations this summer marking 50 years since the 1967 Six Day War and the start of Israel's occupation. Hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners occur regularly, but rarely on such a large scale.
A series of protests were also being held in Palestinian cities in connection with prisoners day. Barghouti's call for the strike has given it added credibility, with the 57-year-old serving five life sentences over his role in the violent second Palestinian intifada. He is a popular figure among Palestinians, with polls suggesting he could win the Palestinian presidency. Graffiti showing the iconic image of his cuffed hands raised above his head flashing a peace sign while being led away by Israeli authorities can be seen in the West Bank.