Israel retaliates against Palestinian hunger strikers

Palestinians in Gaza City rally in solidarity with prisoners on 22 July. Muhammad Allan is shown in the poster on the far left and Uday Isteiti in the banner on the right.

Ashraf Amra APA images

A Palestinian detainee who has been on hunger strike for 36 consecutive days is being mistreated by Israeli prison doctors, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Muhammad Allan, a lawyer from Einbus village near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, is on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge or trial — a widespread practice known as administrative detention — since 16 November.

According to the Prisoners Club, and as reported by the Quds news site, Allan is currently only taking in water and is being held in isolation at Eshel Prison in the south of present-day Israel.

During a visit with his lawyer, Allan said that he was suffering from continuous vomiting, shortness of breath and severe headaches.

Allan also reported that the prison authorities transferred him from one prison facility to another in an attempt to pressure him to end his strike and to punish him for refusing medical tests.

“Devoid of legitimacy”

The prisoner said that he would press forward with his hunger strike “because the Israeli military courts are devoid of legitimacy.”

Another prisoner, Uday Isteiti, vowed to continue his open-ended hunger strike, the Prisoners Club stated yesterday. Isteiti began refusing food at the same time as Allan, also in protest of his detention without charge or trial.

Isteiti, from the northern West Bank city of Jenin, is only consuming water and the prison authorities are subjecting him to various measures to pressure him to end his strike.

Two other Palestinian prisoners were reported yesterday to be on hunger strike.

Mousa Sufan, held in Ramon prison in the south of Israel, had entered his third day of refusing food in protest of being denied medical treatment.

Abdallah Abu Jaber was on his fourth day of hunger strike yesterday, demanding that he be released to Jordan, where he holds citizenship, or transferred to a prison there for the rest of his 20-year sentence.

Last week, Khader Adnan, who endured two lengthy hunger strikes in Israeli prison, made a short video appeal for urgent support of Allan and Isteiti.

In the video, Adnan calls for “solidarity with the two imprisoned brothers … and all of those who strike for freedom, dignity and justice.”

“We should not delay, we should not wait for them to strike longer,” he adds.

Adnan was released from prison earlier this month after waging a 55-day hunger strike in protest of being held without charge or trial since last summer.

Adnan had previously gone on hunger strike to protest his administrative detention 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.

“Torture”

As of May 2015, there were 5,750 Palestinians being held by Israel, according to the human rights group Addameer.

One detainee, Dirar Abu Sisi, has been held in solitary confinement for four years, and was recently sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Abu Sisi, an engineer who worked at Gaza’s sole electricity plant, was abducted from a train in Ukraine in 2011 and surfaced in Israeli detention.

Abu Sisi’s lawyer, Smadar Ben-Natan, said that her client had made confessions “under very heavy duress which I would characterize as torture,” the Ma’an News Agency reported this week.

Israel claims that Abu Sisi assisted Hamas’ armed wing in improving its rocket capabilities, but the Islamist party and resistance organization has denied that the engineer had any connection to the group, Ma’an added.

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After just reading and listening to this Khader Adnan 18:55, 25 Jul 2014...I unite with you in your request for these men and all who are retained in Israeli prisons. I fasted for you...and now I will do it again and as many times it takes. May others join me and may God hear us. FREE PALESTINE Amen.

Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

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