Israel arrests hunger striker Khader Adnan day after releasing him

Khader Adnan with two of his children following his release from Israeli prison yesterday.

Shadi Hatem APA images

Khader Adnan, a member of the Islamic Jihad political party and resistance group, was arrested today in occupied Jerusalem one day after his release secured by a 55-day hunger strike in Israeli prison.

Palestinian and Israeli media reported that Adnan was detained on his way to worship at al-Aqsa mosque on the occasion of Leilat al-Qadr, which Muslims observe during Ramadan to mark the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.

Israel imposes severe restrictions on Palestinians living under its military occupation regime. The Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency reported that access to al-Aqsa mosque was tightened ahead of Leilat al-Qadr.

“All Palestinian [males] between the ages of 12 and 30 were denied entry into occupied East Jerusalem, while men between the ages of 30 and 50 required Israeli permits,” according to the agency.

Palestinian females between the ages of 16 and 30 also require permits to enter, Ma’an added.

During Leilat al-Qadr last year, Israeli occupation forces assaulted Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem. Dozens were arrested.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic spy agency, confirmed Adnan’s arrest to Haaretz, telling the paper that Adnan had entered Jerusalem illegally and had been transferred to the police for questioning. He was released in the occupied West Bank at around 1am, Ma’an reported later.

Photos uploaded to Twitter show Adnan — wearing the traditional black and white kuffiyeh headdress with his back turned to the camera — being detained and loaded into a police car:

Adnan is from Arrabeh village, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, where Israeli soldiers raided his home and arrested him last July during a massive collective punishment campaign following the kidnapping of three Israeli youths in the West Bank.

The father of six launched a hunger strike in May to protest his imprisonment without charge or trial — a draconian practice known as “administrative detention” used by Israel as part of its regime of military occupation.

Adnan had previously gone on hunger strike to protest his detention without charge or trial following his arrest in December 2011. He refused food for 66 days before securing his release in April 2012, nearly losing his life while becoming the icon of a wider political prisoner movement.

His health badly deteriorated during his most recent hunger strike. He refused to take salts and supplements and shunned examination by Israeli prison doctors.

Adnan ended his strike on 29 June after the Israeli authorities agreed to release him on 12 July.

Video uploaded to YouTube shows Adnan receiving a hero’s welcome upon his return to Arrabeh yesterday:

Adnan was first arrested in 1999 when he was a student at Birzeit University near the West Bank city of Ramallah. That arrest was the first in a series of detentions which would total more than six years in jail, during which Adnan was never handed any formal charges under Israel’s military court system.

According to the human rights group Addameer, there were 5,750 Palestinians being held by Israel in May, more than 400 of them held without charge or trial.

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Khader Adnan's firmness of purpose and devotion to the cause of justice have earned him a place in the front ranks of the Palestinian resistance. May he be fully reunited with his family and his people.

Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.