Palestinian hunger striker hospitalised

Tel Aviv - Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi was transferred from his Israeli prison clinic to a civilian hospital near Tel Aviv, an Israel Prison Authority spokeswoman said Thursday.

Two others of four long-term hunger strikers protesting their detentions, Tareq Qadan and Jafar Izzidin, have ended their fasts, Sivan Weizman said.

A Palestinian woman prays during the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old Palestinian man who died under disputed circumstances in Israeli custody. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue). Credit: AP

Issawi, 33, has been on an intermittent hunger strike for more than 200 days and weighs about 45 kilograms, according to Palestinian human rights lawyers who have visited him.

The Israeli official gave no details of his condition but said the decision to hospitalize him was made “because he has been hunger-striking for a long time.”

Issawi, who is protesting his rearrest after being released in a 2011 prisoner swap, was transferred Wednesday to Kaplan hospital south-east of Tel Aviv, she said. A fourth long-term hunger striker has been in a civilian hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba for the past week.

The hunger strikes have sparked clashes throughout the West Bank since last week. On Saturday, a Palestinian detained for hurling a rock that injured an Israeli died in custody, further fuelling the riots.

The Palestinians said he died of torture. Israel said the initial findings could not determine a cause of death.

Israel said Wednesday that it is “checking the possibility” for an independent foreign official to join the investigation into the prisoner's death. The results of an autopsy carried out by Israel's forensic institute are due to be published in the coming days, the country's internal security minister told parliament. - Sapa-dpa