Two Palestinian prisoners enter third month of hunger strike

Palestinians hold posters of hunger strikers Ahmad Abu Fara and Anas Shadid at a rally in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails, in front of UN offices in Gaza City, 22 November.

Ashraf Amra APA images

The Palestinian prisoner Ammar Ibrahim Hamour has begun a hunger strike after being held in an Israeli jail for more than nine months.

Israel has issued two orders to jail Hamour under its practice of administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial.

Under the practice, Israel may renew detention orders indefinitely and refuse to disclose any evidence it may hold on a prisoner. Each of the orders against Hamour enabled his detention for six months.

Hamour was arrested on 16 February and is being held in the Naqab (Negev) region of present-day Israel. He is from Jabaa, a village in the occupied West Bank.

He joins several other Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, including two who have been refusing food for two months.

The prisoners Ahmad Abu Fara and Anas Shadid have been on hunger strike for more than 60 days.

Abu Fara and Shadid launched their hunger strike in September. They are both being held in Assaf Harofeh Medical Center near Tel Aviv.

Both are protesting against their administrative detention.

Last week, the Israeli high court “froze” their administrative detention due to their perilous state of health. But the two refused to end their hunger strike.

The “freezing” decision allows the Israeli authorities to reinstate the detention orders after the hunger strikers’ health improves.

While they are supposed to be allowed to receive visitors following the high court decision, Ma’an News Agency reports that the Israeli prison authorities have continued to restrict visits.

Their health has continued to deteriorate. They are no longer able to leave their beds due to severe weakness, nor have they been able to take showers for the last 20 days.

On Friday, their lawyer petitioned the Israeli high court to transfer them to a Ramallah hospital.

They have both committed to continue their hunger strikes until their administrative detention orders are cancelled and they are transferred to a Palestinian hospital.

Denied treatment

Also on hunger strike are three brothers from the Amar family – Nour al-Din, Abdel-Salam and Nidal – who have refused food since 4 November.

The siblings are protesting at how Nour al-Din has been in solitary confinement for at least three years. His family says Nour al-Din has been denied the most basic of rights, and has still not been treated after Israeli soldiers broke his arm while beating him.

Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement is still on a hunger strike that he began on 13 November to protest his solitary confinement. He is serving a nine-month sentence for “incitement.”

Salah, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was convicted in October 2015 on charges that stem from a 2007 sermon he delivered in occupied East Jerusalem. Salah began serving his sentence last May, and was immediately placed in solitary confinement. An Israeli court has upheld his isolation.

This week Israel has renewed the administrative detention orders of several Palestinian prisoners, ensuring that some will spend more than a year in custody.

Omar Nazzal, a journalist, was among those to have the orders against them renewed.

This is the third renewal since Nazzal was detained by the Israeli military on 23 April, while attempting to cross from the West Bank into Jordan.

He was on his way to a meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Bosnia.

Israel has also jailed Ibrahim Abu Safiya, who is in his final year of studying journalism at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank.

Abu Safiya, 21, is the coordinator of the Islamic Association at Bir Zeit.

He was arrested on 28 September. An Israeli military court at Ofer in the West Bank has extended his detention until 20 December.

Israel has also renewed the administrative detention orders of Shadi Jarrar, 36, and Ashraf Jibril, 23. Jarrar has been in prison since March. Jibril has been held since November last year.

Israel, meanwhile, has renewed the detention of Louay Daoud, 41, for the fourth time since he was arrested in December last year during a raid of his home in Qalqilya, a town in the West Bank. Daoud spent 12 years in Israeli prison before his release in 2003.

These are some of the more than 700 Palestinians held without charge or trial in Israeli prisons.

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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.