Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails Stage Open-Ended Hunger Strike

Dozens of Palestinian prisoners have gone on an open-ended hunger strike at a prison in the occupied territories in protest at the harsh prison conditions.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs said on Sunday that at least 50 prisoners had refused to eat at Ashkelon prison, according to Press TV.

The commission held Israeli authorities fully responsible for any escalation of the situation in the jail.

 "All measures are carried out at the behest of Yaakov Shalom, the prison warden, who makes threats against the prisoners in order to provoke and blackmail them,” it said, Press TV reported.

The Palestinian prisoners on strike are also demanding that Israeli officials reverse punitive measures introduced in the wake of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan nearly two months ago. Since then, the Israeli authorities have been frequently violating religious freedom by preventing the inmates from practicing in religious rituals and holding communal prayers.

The prisoners have also been subjected to forms degrading treatment and have repeatedly been assaulted over the past few months.

Press TV said that more than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge. Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.