More than half of the 1,200 security prisoners who began a hunger strike Monday morning belong to the Palestinian Fatah, the organization that dominates the Palestinian Authority. Altogether, 6,300 Palestinians are imprisoned in Israel – most of them convicted of terror-related crimes. The strike was called by Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences plus 40 years for murdering Israelis in acts of terror. He was able to smuggle an article out to the New York Times, in which he claimed that Israel branded all Palestinian prisoners terrorists to justify the harsh measures meted out to them, including torture.
The prison authorities have cautioned the hunger strikers that they will face disciplinary steps. A field hospital was set up in the prison yard to treat them as needed and avoid sending them to civilian hospitals.