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Arab League requests UN probe over Israeli prisons

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners are fasting in a protest launched on 17 April by imprisoned leader Marwan Barghouti
Palestinians hold portraits of Palestinian leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti, during a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah in support of him and other prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails (AFP)

The Arab League called Thursday on the United Nations to open an international inquiry in to "violations" against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails as some inmates enter their third week of hunger strikes.

The pan-Arab body "invites the United Nations and its relevant specialised agencies to send an international commission of inquiry to Israeli prisons," representatives said in a resolution adopted Thursday.

The commission would "view the violations being committed against the prisoners of war," and to press international actors to compel Israel to abide by the Geneva convention.

The move came as about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners are fasting in a protest launched on 17 April by jailed leader Marwan Barghouti demanding improved conditions including family visits, better medical care and phone access.

Those taking part are ingesting only water and salt.

It is unclear how many have been on strike for the full period as some of the original participants have since pulled out while others appeared to have joined.

The Arab League also demanded all "relevant international institutions and bodies" to "intervene immediately and urgently to compel the Israeli government to apply international humanitarian law," according to the resolution.

It "condemned the Israeli occupation authorities in their ongoing detention of thousands of Palestinian prisoners... including children, women, and political leaders and elected representatives".

Thousands of Palestinians rallied on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah in a show of support for the hunger strikers.

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