Muhammad Allan is fighting for his life after he lost consciousness following 59 days of hunger strike in protest of his imprisonment without charge or trial, a practice known as administrative detention, since his arrest last November.
Allan was placed on life support devices on Friday morning by doctors in Barzilai medical center in the south of present-day Israel, where he has been shackled to a hospital bed and under guard since Monday.
The human rights group Addameer stated on Friday that “Doctors reported to Allan’s mother and his lawyer that he was suffering from continuous shivering and seizures and was unable to breathe before he lost consciousness.
“Doctors then intervened urgently in light of Allan’s medical condition and proceeded to resuscitate him, placed him on a life supporting respirator and administered minerals and nutrients to his body. Allan remains in an unstable and critical condition.”
When Allan’s mother exited her son’s hospital room on Friday, she told reporters that “my son is dying.”
Israel’s prison administration denied a request to release Allan on Thursday, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
Allan had been threatened with forced feeding, which the patient rights act prohibits.
The Israeli government passed a law last month which allows force-feeding of hunger striking prisoners with a court order.
Allan was transferred to Barzilai hospital on Monday from nearby Soroka medical center, where doctors refused to force-feed him.
“It is time for the Israeli political leadership to reach a decision to release Allan from administrative detention and enable his doctors to concentrate on fighting for his life,” the group added.
Haaretz reported on Friday, citing “a Palestinian source involved in the matter,” that Israel refuses to release Allan because the state “fears that such a move could encourage administrative detainees to follow Allan’s lead, especially after seven Palestinian detainees began their own respective hunger strikes over the past two weeks.”
In recent years, Palestinian prisoners both individually and in large groups have turned to hunger strike as a means of last resort to secure their most basic rights. The force-feeding law was enacted to repress this tactic.
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli interior minister who pushed for the bill to be passed, stated that the measure was necessary since “hunger strikes of terrorists in prisons have become a means to threaten Israel.”
At the beginning of July, Israel was holding 5,442 Palestinians, nearly 400 of them under administrative detention orders issued by military courts. A further 1,000 Palestinians were being held for entering Israel “illegally,” according to statistics compiled by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Protest and repression
Israel’s prison administration put sections of three detention centers on lockdown on Friday and prevented prisoners from holding collective prayer.
The military wing of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian political party and resistance group, stated on Friday that should Allan die, it will not commit to the ceasefire agreement that ended 51 days of Israeli bombardment in Gaza last summer.
Haaretz reported that “Allan is the first Palestinian hunger striking prisoner whose condition has deteriorated to the point where mechanical ventilation has been required.”
No Palestinian prisoner has yet died while on hunger strike, though Israel’s force-feeding of prisoners in the 1980s led to several deaths, according to Addameer.
Allan’s strike has reached the point where his body may shut down at any time. Several prisoners died around the 60-day mark of the 1981 Irish hunger strike.
Approximately 50 Israeli counter-demonstrators “shouted ‘Muhammad is a pig’ and waved plaques saying ‘death to Arabs.’”