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May 10, 2012

Demonstrators block West Bank U.N. office

Hunger strikes by Palestinians have been ignored by the U.N. (UPI/Ismael Mohamad)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (UPI) -- Palestinians blocked staff from entering the United Nations office in Ramallah Wednesday to protest U.N. silence on the hunger strikes in Israeli prisons.

Protester Zaid Shuaibi told the Palestinian news agency WAFA the United Nations has become Israel's partner by failing to raise the issue of Palestinian prisoners with the Israeli government.

A letter handed to a U.N. official urged the organization "to take a firm and vocal position in opposition to Israel's abuse and violation of Palestinian prisoners' rights."

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike more than a week ago in solidarity with six inmates who have been starving themselves for more than 45 days, Arutz Sheva reported.

The International Committee for the Red Cross has urged Israel to immediately transfer the six to a hospital. At least two are reported to be near death.

A female prisoner who fasted for 43 days was released last month and deported to Gaza.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has warned of a "disaster" if any of the prisoners die.

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