Marking Palestinian Prisoners' Day on Monday, Palestinian officials have called for a large show of public support for the prisoners as rallies and other activities are planned in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
His status as a convicted terrorist was not mentioned in the Times' note at the bottom of his op-ed, which simply read "Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian".
"Ahmed", a 32-year-old from Hebron now held in administrative detention in Ketziot prison in the Negev desert, told Amnesty International that he was joining the mass hunger strike in the hope that it will pressure the authorities to allow his 70-year-old mother, who has been repeatedly denied a permit, to visit him.
Barghouti, a key figure in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, has been touted as a possible future successor to Mr Abbas. Graffiti showing the iconic image of his cuffed hands raised above his head flashing a peace sign can be seen in the West Bank.
Ashkar pointed out that there are 300 children among the Palestinian prisoners in addition to 58 female prisoners in Hasharon and Damon prisons including 15 minors, two administrative detainees and 18 mothers.
The Israeli Prison Service issued a statement threatening disciplinary measures for hunger striking.
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The hunger strike was announced to coincide with Palestinian prisoners day which is marked today.
"There will be an update later".
Barghouti further accuses Israel of "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions, writing that "Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence".
While many Palestinians view Barghouti as a hero, Israelis point to the bloody suicide attacks of the second intifada and his role in the uprising. Prisoners have so far declared strikes in eight different Israeli prisons. It also asks for reinstatement of access to pay telephones while in jail and more frequent family visits. He condemned what he called Israel's intransigence in the face of "fair" prisoner demands.
On the occasion of Palestinians Prisoners' Day, 2017, the year that marks 50 years since the establishment of the military courts which routinely charge and trial Palestinian civilians, including children as young as 12 years old, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) called for global protection of Palestinian political prisoners, an end to ongoing collective punishment by Israeli occupation forces, administrative detention, continued denial of fair trial, and illegal transfer and deportation of detainees.
Arab-Israeli lawmaker Dr. Yousef Jabareen (of the Arab Joint List party) also called on the government to meet the demands.