Hunger Strike Day 2: Number of prisoners on hunger strike reaches 1500

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Hundreds of Palestinians who are being held captive in Israel have gone on hunger strike, as part of their newest effort to gain more freedom while in captivity.

According to Palestinian prisoners' groups, there were about 7000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

It is led by jailed Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the Fatah movement of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who is serving five life terms after being convicted of murder in the killing of Israelis in a 2000-05 uprising. Polls suggest that the 58-year-old Barghouti is the most popular choice among Palestinians to succeed the 82-year-old Abbas. Their plight raised tensions between the Palestinian public and Israeli authorities.

"We will not surrender to it", he wrote.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said "Barghouti's strike is motivated by internal Palestinian political motives and therefore includes unreasonable demands regarding prisoner conditions".

Palestinians regard the detainees as political prisoners.

The Palestinian resistance leader will face a disciplinary tribunal for "instigating mutiny and leading the hunger strike", according to Israel's Army Radio.

"It is to be emphasised that the (prison service) does not negotiate with prisoners".

Some 6,500 Palestinians are now in jail in Israel.

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Barghouti has spent 15 years in prison since being arrested by Israeli forces in 2002, during the Second Intifada, as leader of the ruling Fatah faction's military wing. They also reportedly discussed the prisoners' demand that Israel "comply with worldwide law" with respect to their treatment.

It added that Israel has also installed a field clinic in the Negev desert to use for placing the ailing hunger striking detainees after deciding not to move any of them to Israeli hospitals.

Such incidents have greatly subsided in recent months.

Missing from the op-ed and the Times byline was that Barghouti is in prison after being convicted of overseeing three terrorist attacks that killed five people, including a police officer and a Greek Orthodox priest.

Israel has denied suggestions that Palestinian prisoners have been left in poor conditions.

The strikers also want better medical treatment and that disabled inmates or those suffering chronic illness be freed, access to more television channels and more phone contact with relatives and more family visits.

It quoted Erdan as saying that the demands regarding prisoners' conditions were unreasonable. The Times initially only described Barghouti as a "Palestinian leader and parliamentarian".

Abbas made no mention of Barghouti in his statement on WAFA.