Thousands of Palestinian protesters rallied in the West Bank city of Ramallah in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners who are being held in Israeli prisons under dire conditions.

Demonstrators gathered in the Nelson Mandela Square on Wednesday, demanding an end to solidarity confinement and administrative detention.

The protesters chanted "Freedom, freedom" and waved Palestinian flags and posters of Marwan Barghouti, the leader of the hunger strike, which passed its 17thday Wednesday.

The event was launched by 1,500 Palestinian prisoners on April 17 as to press for better conditions, including family visits, better medical care and an end to solidarity confinement and administrative detention.

Barghouti's wife, Fadwa, addressed the crown on behalf of her husband. She said: "This battle (the hunger strike) is part of our battle against the occupation and for independence and dignity."

"The freedom of the prisoners paves the way for the freedom of the entire nation," she said. "Therefore, the people and the leadership should support the strike."

Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences over his role in the second intifada, issued a report on Wednesday, saying Israel "cannot silence us, nor isolate us, nor break us."

"This hunger strike aims to confront the ongoing and escalating unjust Israeli occupation policies against prisoners and their loved ones. We stress our determination to undertake this struggle whatever the cost," he added.