After 9 weeks on hunger strike, Palestinian stops taking water

A Palestinian holding a poster of hunger striker Sami Janazreh takes part in a protesting in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, in front of the Red Cross office in Gaza City on 2 May.

Mohammed Asad APA images

After refusing food for more than nine weeks, Palestinian hunger strike Sami Janazreh has reportedly now stopped drinking water in protest against his ongoing detention without charge and abusive treatment by Israel.

After weeks of refusing sustenance, Janazreh has lost 55 pounds and his health has sharply deteriorated.

He has had intermittent seizures, and is reportedly suffering from hypothermia, failing kidneys and his his teeth have begun falling out.

His heart rate has also slowed and his blood pressure has dropped.

Janazreh, 43, was transferred to Soroka hospital in the south of present-day Israel last Friday after being held in solitary confinement at Ela prison.

Before that, Israeli authorities transferred him several times between different prisons as a means of pressuring him to end his hunger strike.

During one of those transfers, on day 51 of his hunger strike, Janazreh lost consciousness and hit his head when he fell to the ground.

Arrested on 15 November 2015 and issued a four-month administrative detention order, Janazreh launched his hunger strike on 3 March, after an Israeli military court extended his detention for an additional four months.

Under administrative detention, Israel’s practice of holding people without charge on secret evidence, prisoners can be held indefinitely.

Father of three

Janazreh, from the Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron, is a husband and father of three children, aged 4, 7 and 13.

After twenty-six days on strike, his family reportedly lost all contact with him. As of 17 April, the Israeli government had made no contact with them.

According to the International Solidarity Movement, Janazreh’s children have “accepted that their father will die without them having the chance to say goodbye.”

At Soroka hospital, Janazreh’s ankles and hands have been shackled to the bed and the prison wardens are preventing him from using the bathroom.

On 2 May, one of Janazreh’s lawyers, Muataz Shqeirat, announced that he stopped drinking water or taking any vitamins to protest being beaten by guards when he resisted being handcuffed to his hospital bed.

Israel’s Shin Bet secret police told the Hebrew website Local Call that they had arrested Janazreh because according to “secret intelligence information presented to the court” Janazreh posed a “security risk due to his connections to weapons and his involvement in current security actions.”

“His administrative arrest is done according to the law and as a last means since no other solution was found to neutralize the risk he is posing,” Shin Bet added.


Janazreh is the oldest of three Palestinian prisoners currently refusing food in protest of their administrative detention.

Fuad Assi, 30, and Adib Muhammad Jamal Mafarjeh, 29, have been on strike since 2 April.

They were both transferred to isolation cells this week at Megiddo and Gilboa prisons, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

The Israel Prison Service says there are 678 Palestinians currently held under administrative detention.

The US State Department has said in past reports on human rights conditions for Palestinians that administrative detainees are not given the “opportunity to refute allegations or address the evidentiary material presented against them in court.”

Amnesty International has described Israel’s use of administrative detention as a “bankrupt” tactic and has long called on Israel to put an end its use.


Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver's picture

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.