A Palestinian Authority prisoner on a long-term hunger strike in an Israeli jail will be released in March, but violent protests continued Thursday near the Ofer Prison, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Samer Issawi was sentenced to eight months in prison for violating the terms of his release under the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, and he will be eligible for release March 6.
He has become a cause célèbre for Palestinian Authority Arabs, 1,000 of whom rioted on Thursday near Ofer prison where he is being held. They injured two journalists with rocks, and security forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, wounding about 29 people.
Issawi has been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days and is reportedly to be near death, although Israeli officials are doing everything possible to keep him alive. His death would turn him into a “martyr” and would set off a wildly violent reaction.