Palestinians make urgent plea to save Khader Adnan as more join hunger strike

Palestinian artists paint a mural depicting hunger striker Khader Adnan, in front of the Red cross office in Gaza City, 25 May.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Palestinians are calling for urgent international intervention to save the life of Khader Adnan who has been on total hunger strike for almost 50 days to protest his detention without charge or trial by Israel.

Last week, Adnan’s family sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urging pressure on Israel to free him.

Meanwhile, at least three more Palestinians jailed by Israel have started open-ended hunger strikes.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has also urged the “international community to put pressure on Israeli forces for the immediate release of Adnan who has been under administrative detention without a trial.”

But previous appeals to Mogherini on behalf of Palestinian prisoners, including by dozens of European Parliament members, have not resulted in the staunchly pro-Israel EU breaking its complicit silence.

“After the deterioration of his health condition, Adnan has been recently admitted to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Israel, while being handcuffed to his bed all day long,” PCHR stated.

Adnan, who has lost a large amount of body weight, is now reported to be suffering additional serious symptoms, according to PCHR, which cited the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club whose lawyer recently visited him.

“The more [the Israelis] torture me, the stronger and more determined I become,” Adnan reportedly told the lawyer.

“Loves life”

Earlier this month, Budour Youssef Hassan visited Adnan’s family in their home village of Arrabeh, near Jenin, and reported for The Electronic Intifada on the “arduous journey” his wife Randa, his young children and his elderly parents have taken with him as a result of Israel’s persecution.

Adnan’s father, Adnan Mousa, told The Electronic Intifada that while the family had received messages of solidarity from all over the world, the Palestinian Authority had done nothing to support his son.

He also reaffirmed his son’s love of life and freedom. “Khader is not a nihilist,” Adnan Mousa said. “He’s not doing this because he wants to die and because he wants to hurt himself. On the contrary, he’s going through this because he loves life and believes that this is the only way to achieve freedom.”

No charge or trial

A Belfast youth activist holds a sign depicting Khader Adnan as part of a 19 June protest in solidarity with the hunger striker. (via Facebook)

Adnan, a baker and activist for prisoners’ rights, was taken from his home by Israeli occupation forces on 8 July last year. He was sentenced to six months in prison without charge or trial – so-called “administrative detention.” When the Israelis renewed the detention on 7 May, he began a total hunger strike, accepting only water.

Adnan, who is affiliated with the Islamic Jihad political faction, became internationally known in 2012 when he embarked on a 66-day total hunger strike, forcing Israel to release him from a previous prolonged stint of administrative detention that began in December 2011.

In 2012, Amnesty International issued a report detailing the human rights abuses associated with administrative detention, which, it said, Israel uses to “suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists in the occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Amnesty called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of prisoners held under this policy.

There are currently more than 500 Palestinians in administrative detention, according to PCHR.

Hunger strike spreads

Smiling woman wearing traditional dress hugs young man

Shireen Issawi with Samer after his release from prison, December 2013.

Saeed Qaq APA images

At least three more prisoners recently started hunger strikes, according to PCHR. They are:

  • Ayman al-Sharabati, from Jerusalem, sentenced to life imprisonment, who started a hunger strike about two weeks ago in protest at being in prolonged solitary confinement. Local Palestinian media said Sunday, citing the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, that al-Sharabati suspended his 21-day-long hunger strike after prison authorities agreed to take him out of solitary confinement;

  • Muhammad Nasser Allan, an administrative detainee, who started his hunger strike in recent days in protest at the renewal of his administrative detention;

  • Shireen Issawi, who has been in detention for more than a year, started a hunger strike last week to protest her solitary confinement. Reports in local media on Sunday say she has suspended the strike after Israeli prison authorities promised to move her out of solitary confinement and allow her family to visit her.

Shireen Issawi, a lawyer, is the sister of Samer Issawi, himself a former hunger striker. He was released in December 2013 after 17 months in administrative detention. Last month, Israel re-imposed on him a 30-year prison sentence, reneging on the 2011 prisoner exchange deal under which he was released.

Solidarity

In Belfast, Ireland, this weekend, some 20 youths from the Mairéad Farrell Republican Youth Committee staged a 24-hour hunger strike and a protest camp outside a British military base in solidarity with Adnan.

Hunger strikes played a key part in the Irish republican struggle during the early 1980s when Bobby Sands and nine other prisoners starved to death rather than submit to the conditions imposed by their British jailers.

Tags

Comments

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.