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Israel Rules Out Talks With Palestinian Hunger Strikers

Israelii officials have ruled out talking to Palestinian prisoners who are engaged in hunger strikes, complaining of torture and general mistreatment by Israeli security forces, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan insisting that the Palestinians are terrorists and are getting what they deserve.

While some of the detained Palestinians are being held on terror-related charges, mostly accused membership in banned organizations, a number are also being held as accused stone throwers, and hundreds more are being held wholly without charges, a practice that can be extended more or less indefinitely without giving detainees any access to courts.

Israel has responded to the mass hunger strike by punishing its organizer, Marwan Barghouti, putting him in solitary confinement. Erdan insisted that there was no need to negotiate at all about their prison system’s actions, and that they had no reason to improve conditions for the detainees.

Former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren expanded this into an attack on the New York Times for even publishing an op-ed by Barghouti complaining about prison conditions, insisting that people at the newspaper should face punishment for helping smuggle out the “illegal” op-ed, and declaring the very act of publishing the article to be a “journalistic terror attack” against Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the New York Times has since “recanted” the article.

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