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Israel offers to deport final Palestinian hunger striker to any EU country

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Israel has told the European Union and UN it can deport a Palestinian prisoner on a life-endangering long-term hunger strike to one of their member states, an Israeli official told AFP on Friday.

But a lawyer for Samer Issawi, who has intermittently refused food for more than eight months, said his client strongly rejected the Israeli initiative, and an EU spokesman said no “official” proposal had been received.

Issawi, 33, was first arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for military activities on behalf of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

He was released by Israel under a prisoner swap deal in October 2011, but rearrested last July for violating the terms of the agreement by travelling to the West Bank from east Jerusalem.

The Israeli official said Issawi had gone to the West Bank to establish “terror cells” there.

Israel has ordered that he serve the remainder of his original sentence.

Issawi’s health has deteriorated because of his prolonged fast, and he was being held in an Israeli hospital. The Israeli official said he could “immediately be released to Gaza.”

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