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Palestinians Agree to End Hunger Strike in Israeli Prisons

May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Palestinian prisoners agreed to end a hunger strike in which some inmates refused food for more than two months after Israel committed to improve their conditions, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.

The deal was worked out today through mediation by Egyptian officials working with Israeli and Palestinian envoys in Cairo, Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Authority’s minister of prisoner affairs, said in a phone interview. Israel agreed to return prisoners in solitary confinement to regular cells and allow family visits that had been stopped, according to an e-mailed statment from Israel’s Shin-Bet security agency.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, said in an e-mailed statement from Ramallah that the hunger strikers “demonstrated that non-violent resistance is an essential tool in our struggle for freedom.”

The Palestinian Authority said that about 1,600 Palestinian prisoners were refusing food in protest over conditions in Israeli jails. The health situation of 40 of them has seriously deteriorated, it said. Two men had gone without food since Feb. 27.

The Shin-Bet said the prisoners agreed to “stop terror activity from inside Israeli jails.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem at cbendavid@bloomberg.net; Fadwa Hodali in Jerusalem at fhodali@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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