2 Palestinians Notified of Release, End Hunger Strike

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

Two Palestinian prisoners held by Israel have ended their hunger strike of nearly three months and two other hunger strikers have been hospitalized, an Israeli official said Thursday.

The prisoners who ended their fast did so because an Israeli military prosecutor told them that he would not seek to extend their detention at a hearing next week, said their lawyer, Jawad Boulous.

The two prisoners, Tarek Qaadan and Jafar Ezzeldeen, are being held without charges or trial, in administrative detention. This means their detention can be extended repeatedly if the authorities believe they constitute a security risk.

Sivan Weizman, a spokeswoman for Israel’s prison service, said the two started eating on Wednesday, ending a fast that began Dec. 3.

Two other Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike were hospitalized to prevent their health from further deterioration, Weizman said.

The two who were hospitalized, Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawneh, were released in 2011, in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exhange. Both were rearrested last year for violating the conditions of their release.

All four refused food, but received vitamins and other nutrients intravenously.

Also Thursday, Israel’s Health Ministry issued an update on the autopsy of a Palestinian man who died in Israeli custody over the weekend, but said it could still not determine the cause of death.

The ministry quoted pathologists as saying that Arafat Jaradat suffered bruising and fractured ribs close to the time of death and that these signs are typical of someone undergoing resuscitation. The ministry said medics and prison staff spent 50 minutes trying to revive him.

The Israeli pathologists said no signs of other contusions were found, and that toxicology tests were also negative. They said more tests were needed to determine the exact cause of his death.

The Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs, Issa Karake, rejected the Israeli findings, insisting that the bruises indicated physical abuse and demanded an international inquiry.