About 50 of the estimated 300 Arab students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem are staging a hunger strike.
About 50 of the estimated 300 Arab students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem are staging a hunger strike. The protest is in support of Arab prisoners on hunger strikes in Ashkelon jail.
SYNOPSIS: The students want to draw attention to what they describe as "inhuman conditions" at the prison.
The Arab prisoners -- all held for security offences -- last week resumed a hunger strike they had broken some weeks ago. Previously they had gone six weeks without solid food.
Ashkelon prison authorities admit that the jail is over-crowded but say the inmates are visited regularly by representatives of the Red Cross.
About 380 inmates are believed to be fasting. Israeli prison authorities say each cell at Ashkelon has between 20 and 30 prisoners in it.
They've also released details of a survey which shows that prisoners is Israel have an average living space of 2.2 square metres compared to the 11.3 square meters they have in the United States.
They say this is due to the sharp increase in the number of prisoners from occupied areas.
The Arab students say they will fast on campus. On Monday they were joined by about 70 Jewish students who support their cause. It's expected the hunger strike will last three days. Israeli officials believe the strikers are also trying to keep Arab-Israeli differences "alive" by invented excuses for dissent.