Palestinians in Ramallah celebrate after prisoners ended a hunger strike over their conditions in Israeli jails. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
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Israeli authorities bowed to pressure from Palestinian detainees on hunger strike for over a month and agreed to a package of reforms likely to dramatically improve quality of life in prisons, a deal hailed by Palestinian groups and family members of strikers.While authorities have publicly refused to negotiate with the detainees from the outset, Issa Qaraqeh, chair of the Detainees Affairs Commission, told The Daily Star that a marathon 20-hour negotiation between Barghouti and Israeli officials in Ashkelon prison led to the Israeli concession to a score of demands and an end to the protest.However, he noted that while a number of concessions were made, Israeli authorities and national media have tried to play down the significance of the agreement, while also denying that direct negotiations with detainees took place. Initially, at least 1,500 detainees joined the hunger strike led by Barghouti on April 17, in what is believed to be the largest and most drawn out coordinated protest by detainees in Israeli prisons since 1967 .
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