Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike
Israel says inmates have signed deal that should allow them more visiting rights and better conditions in jails
By Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem,, Monday 14 May 2012 

Palestinian women hold pictures of imprisoned relatives at a protest supporting the hunger strikers, in Gaza City.
Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

A deal to end the hunger strike by around 2,000 Palestinian prisoners has been signed, an Israeli government official has confirmed.

Few details were given, but Israel appears to have made significant concessions on some of the prisoners' key demands, including on solitary confinement and visits by families in Gaza to prisoners held in Israel.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli prison service said there had also been movement on the issue of "administrative detention", Israel's term for imprisonment without charge or trial.

The deal was brokered by Egyptian officials following widespread protests in support of the hunger strikers in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, had warned he would be unable to control demonstrations and protests in the event of the death of a hunger striker.
Palestinian human rights groups say around 2,500 prisoners have joined the hunger strike since it began as a mass protest on 17 April.

A handful of prisoners have been refusing food for longer, two of whom are believed to be close to death and another six in a critical condition.

The IPS says that 1,550 prisoners were refusing food under medical supervision, and that no one's life was in danger