Fighting for freedom: eight Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike right now

A Palestinian rights organization profiled Sunday eight political prisoners from the occupied West Bank currently on hunger strike.

Six of the hunger strikers are protesting Israeli administrative detention orders against them. Prisoner support group Addameer provided information about the hunger strikers in a 10 March statement.

Samer al-Barq, 38 years old, from the town of Jayyous near Qalqilia started an open hunger strike on 27 February‪ to protest the 24 February renewal of a three-month administrative detention order. This is al-Barq’s third hunger strike in the past two years. His previous 14-18 October 2012 hunger strike was also in protest of his administrative detention, which started on 11 July 2010.

Ayman Sharawna, 36 years old, from Dura, near Hebron had been released in the October 2011 prisoner exchange deal. Sharawna started his hunger strike on 1 July 2012 to protest being rearrested by Israel under Article 186 of Military Order 1651, which allows a special military commission to “cancel the early release.” Sharawna may be sentenced to serve the remaining 28 years of his sentence. He briefly suspended his hunger strike in December 2012 after the promise of a court hearing to resolve his case. On 17 January he resumed his hunger strike when he learned that the Israeli Prison Service had deceived him.

Samer al-Issawi, 33 years old, from Issawiya, Jerusalem was also released as part of the October 2011 prisoner exchange deal. Following his rearrest on 7 July 2012, Issawi has been on intermittent hunger strike for over 200 days to protest his arbitrary rearrest. He is suffering from severe weight loss as his health continues to deteriorate. On 21 February, the Israeli Magistrate Court sentenced Issawi to eight months from of the day of his arrest on the grounds that he violated a military order by entering the West Bank. At the same time, a Military Commission based on Article 186 of Military Order 1651 is considering if Issawi has to serve the remaining 20 years of his previous sentence.

Younis al‪-Hroub, 31 years old‪, from Hebron has been on hunger strike for 22 days‪ to protest his administrative detention. His administrative detention order was renewed for another six months, only ten days before the expiry of his first administrative detention order (7 July 2012 to 10 January 2013). Al-Hroub was previously detained from 2002 until 2008. He currently languishes in Negev Prison inside Israel.

Muhammad Ahmad an‪-Najjar from Hebron has been on hunger strike for 152 days which he announced on 26 February to protest his administrative detention.

Zakariyah al‪-Heeh, 26 years old‪, from Hebron‪ has been detained since 26 November 2012. He has been on hunger strike for 14 days. Al-Heeh announced his hunger strike on 27 February to protest his administrative detention. He is currently in Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank.

Ibrahim Al‪-Sheikh Khalil from Jericho has been on hunger strike for 12 days since he announced his strike on 27 February 2013 to protest his administrative detention. He is currently in Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank.

Hazem Al‪-Tawil from Al‪-Khalil was detained on 19 February 2013 and went on hunger strike the following day to protest his administrative detention. He is on hunger strike for 19 days and is held in Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.

Administrative detention

Shawan Jabarin, Al-Haq director and recently appointed commissioner to the International Commission of Jurists, said in an interview with The Electronic Intifada last year that the administrative detention policy was created by the British in the 1940s. Israel uses this policy to detain Palestinians without charge of trial:

It is a violation of the principles and standards of due process and fair trial practiced in all democracies. This is what you teach young lawyers. Israel ignores this. It brings administrative detention orders to a military court that follow military law. The evidence is secret. The court rubber-stamps the order. It is arbitrary detention.

Jabarin added that Israel completely ignores the international standards of treating prisoners in a human way. They are sending a message to people who defend rights: go to hell. But:

Everyone has to support the prisoners’ rights, to support human values. The prisoners are struggling for their cause, for peace, for values. Even if Israel calls them terrorists, Palestinians look at them as heroes, as leaders.

G4S equipped Ofer prison

British-Danish security firm G4S has installed peripheral defense systems on the walls surrounding Ofer prison and operates a central control room for the entire Ofer compound, according to Who Profits (a project of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Tel Aviv). Ofer is an Israeli prison for Palestinian political prisoners located in the West Bank. Ofer compound includes a military court which judges Palestenian detainees from the West bank on a daily basis.

Addameer calls for action

As of 1 February, 178 Palestinian prisoners were held in administrative detention in Israeli jails. Addameer is planning to launch an End Administrative Detention campaign next month, demanding “the release of all administrative detainees, and in the meantime, all administrative detainees must be granted their rights in accordance with international law.” Addameer writes in its call for support to the campaign:

Not only are these prisoners held arbitrarily, but Israel’s use of administrative detention violates several international standards, such as deporting Palestinians from the occupied territory to Israel, denying regular family visits and failing to take into account the best interests of child detainees as required under international law. Addameer calls on solidarity organizations, individuals and human rights organizations around the world to join our End Administrative Detention campaign launching on 17 April 2013.


You can help us pressure the Israeli government to release the prisoners by:

  • Participating in a mass day of mobilization in your city on 17 April, the annual Palestinian Prisoners Day.

  • Organizing an “End Administrative Detention” week on 17-24 April 2013 in your city or university campus using Addameer’s forthcoming campaign materials.

  • Joining a local G4S BDS campaign in your city.

  • Raising awareness about administrative detention in your community using our forthcoming Activist Toolkit.

You can contact Addameer on e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or their website to get involved in the Stop Administrative Detention campaign.

The clip at the top of this post is from the documentary film Roadmap to Apartheid about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the abusive policy of administrative detention.




Another great article on the issue of prisoners, thanks Adri.

Can I announce our forthcoming protest in London in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners?


Join us on Friday 15th March at 3pm outside G4S HQ, 105 Victoria Street SW1E 6QT (3mins from Victoria station), to show solidarity with Arafat Jaradat and to protest G4S's complicity in his murder.

Friday 15th March 2013
G4S London HQ
105 Victoria Street, SW1E 6QT (Victoria Tube)

Arafat Jaradat, 30 yr old Palestinan father of 2 children aged 4 and 2 yrs old, married with a pregnant wife, died on Saturday 23rd Feb 2013 after being tortured by Israel’s security service Shin Bet.

Arafat Jaradat had been arrested on suspicion of throwing a stone, 5 days later he was dead. Postmortem revealed clear signs of torture: beating on chest, lashes on his back, shoulders near spine. Autopsy showed two broken ribs, blood in his nose and bruises inside his mouth.

Arafat Jaradat died in Megiddo Prison following interrogation in al-Jalame interrogation centre.

British-Danish security firm G4S help Israel secure both these prisons. At Megiddo the whole central command room is provided by G4S. It also provides security systems for the notorious al-Jalame interrogation centre in northern Israel with its infamous Cell 36 where Defence for Children International reported children are locked in small filthy cells in solitary confinement, some for 65 days, with their only escape being the interrogation room where they are shackled by their hands and feet to a chair whilst being abused, sometimes for hours.

Hunger Strikers

The protest is also in solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers, who are in critical condition. Ayman Sharawna and Samer Issawi have both been without food for over 7 months.

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Adri Nieuwhof

Adri Nieuwhof's picture

Adri Nieuwhof is a human rights advocate based in the Netherlands and former anti-apartheid activist at the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. Twitter: @steketeh