Palestinians rally for prisoners held in Israel

AP News
Posted: Feb 18, 2013 5:28 AM

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Palestinians are holding demonstrations across the West Bank in a show of solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

In Bethlehem, Israeli forces dispersed several dozen activists who blocked a road on Monday. There were no reports of injuries. In the West Bank city of Ramallah, about 50 activists demonstrated at a U.N. office.

The hunger strikers, who include a man who is said to be in critical condition after staging an on-again, off-again strike for more than 200 days, say they are being unfairly held and are demanding to be released.

Israel is holding some 4,500 Palestinians for charges ranging from throwing stones to undertaking deadly militant attacks.

Their incarceration is a sensitive issue for Palestinians, who see them as heroes of the Palestinian liberation struggle.