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EU Parliament to host families of Palestinian hunger strikers, sparking outrage

Hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti is an iconic figure for many Palestinians. Here he is seen with his cuffed hands raised above his head flashing a peace sign during his trial in 2003, an image that has been daubed on walls across the West Bank
TAL COHEN (AFP/File)
Seventeen European Parliament members condemn the meeting, saying it gives a voice to convicted terrorists

The European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Palestine is slated to host a meeting with the families of Palestinian prisoners who participated in a recent mass hunger strike, according to a statement released on Thursday.

“The hunger-strikers were calling for an end to administrative detention, torture, unfair trials, the detention of children, medical negligence, solitary confinement, degrading treatment and the denial of family visitation rights, and the right to education,” a statement released by the EU’s Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Palestine, Neoklis Sylikiotis, said. “The meeting of the Delegation will focus on the situation of Palestinian prisoners following this strike.”

The meeting will include relatives of the hunger-striking prisoners Dr Fadwa Barghouti, wife of Marwan Barghouti, who was seen the leader of the strike, and Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association General Director Dr Sahar Francis.

Seventeen European Parliament members condemned the initiative in a stern letter issued to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

"We are utterly appalled at the understanding that our colleagues from the Delegation for Relations with Palestine (DPAL), under the pretext of discussing 'the situation of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails after the hunger-strike,' are in fact offering a public platform to relatives of convicted terrorists," the letter read. "We, Members of the European Parliament, are seriously concerned with the message this forum sends to our constituencies amidst such turbulent times in Europe.”

"Given that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves a wide range of issues, we encourage our colleagues, who choose to show their support for the Palestinian self-determination, to engage with Palestinians pursuing peace, and not with convicted terrorists," the letter added.

The mass Palestinian hunger strike among prisoners, which lasted 40 days, ended on the first day of the Muslim festival of Ramadan, in June. Some 1,500 prisoners participated in the strike.

The deal reached with Israel reportedly accommodated just one of the demands made by the prisoners, which will allow an increase of visits from family members from one to two times a months.

Read More: EXCLUSIVE: Prisoner's wife Fadwa Barghouti speaks with i24NEWS on hunger strike

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AreYouKiddingMe

Europe knows no limits to how low they can and will go.

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