I have heard of Israel’s “men of peace” and “democracy” from the news since I was a child. I, however, have never felt or seen anything that could relate to such false, and indeed, useless allegations. As I write this, Gaza drowns in darkness. I write as a frenzied power generator roars upstairs causing not only an irritating noise but further damage to the environment too.
One cannot but fear death. On his sixty fourth day of going on a hunger strike, Khader Adnan insists to look death in the eye and refuses to submit to an Apartheid regime that continues to find interest in upholding laws that blatantly contradict the internationally recognized humanitarian law.
Today, the world speaks up and here is what people from different countries around the world had to say:
“Israel has got to stop being itself” Lina al-Sharif, a Palestinian blogger living in Qatar.
“Democracy is due process, protection under the law, fair trial, and no cruel and unusual punishment. Adnan only aims to make Israel a true democracy.” Fidaa Elaydi, a Palestinian activist in Texas, US.
“My friend’s father is one of the prisoners at Nafha prison; I knew from my friend that his father and comrades are on a hunger strike in solidarity with Khader Adnan. I feel for them and would like to give my voice to all Palestinian prisoners being unabatedly humiliated and prevented from seeing their families. Stop your terrorist actions, Israel!” Lara Aburamadan, a photographer from Gaza.
“Israel with all its nukes, markava, F-16s, drones, apartheid laws and inhumane treatment can’t break the will of a Palestinian with an empty stomach- that is called resistance” Mohammad Rafi, an activist in Bangladesh.
“Khader Adnan is the victim of Palestine’s so-called leaders” Ghada al-Zayyan, a student of business administration from Gaza.
“Khader Adnan, your humanity shines so brightly, especially in the face of Israel’s utter inhumanity. Your soul is beautiful and free; your struggle is an inspiration” Zoe Lawlor, a Palestine solidarity activist based in Ireland.
“Adnan’s conviction, strength of heart and all that he stands for will win in the end over Israel’s cruel abuse of Palestinian rights” Elana Golden, a teacher of creative writing based in Los Angeles, US.
“Khader, they can stop your heart from beating but they can never still your voice. We will remember you and we will never forgive Israel for its inhumanity.”Mary Hughes Thompson, a Free Gaza Movement co-founder based in the US.
Even some Israelis stood up and spoke out against Khader Adnan’s unlawful and inhumane detention by the Israeli authorities. Elizabeth, an Israeli leftist, who asked me not to use her last name, called for the immediate release of Khader Adnan:
“I think that no person, even a terrorist, should be held without charges in indefinite detention. If Khader Adnan did something to deserve his incarceration, if he was involved in terrorism, Israel must charge him and let him meet a lawyer, but if Israel has no case against Adnan, it must release him immediately. The same applies to the rest of the Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention in Israel’s prisons.”
She also added that Israel’s conduct with Khader Adnan “is clearly one of the most anti-democratic laws in Israel since it deprives citizens and Palestinians alike of the right to due process.”
Yossi Gurvitz, an Israeli journalist and blogger, also criticized Israel’s implementation of administrative detention in an article he published on 972mag. Gurvitz considers the practice of administrative detention “to be the worst of the occupation’s crimes.” He also explained what administrative detention entails:
“A person is imprisoned without the chance of clearing himself and without any way of knowing when he will be discharged. The system is so grotesque; even the Inquisition’s was better: a detainee of the Holy Office had the right to name his enemies, and if the complaint against him had come from them, the detainee would be discharged and the false accuser would face the inquisition instead. According to Israel’s system of administrative detention, the detainee is not even given the chance to clear his name.”
Former prisoners speak
This morning I walked to the tent where dozens of hunger strikers stayed there in solidarity with Khader Adnan. The men were all seated around a small fire in an attempt to warm up their bodies against an unbearably cold weather. I had the chance to speak to Yasser Saleh a former prisoner who spent seventeen years in Israel’s jails and who has been on a hunger strike for fifteen days.
“What differs from my incarceration and that of Khader Adnan’s is that Adnan was forcibly dragged out of his house without proof of a specific misconduct and the fact that he wasn’t even charged or put on trial. He was humiliated during the first days of his interrogation and therefore he decided to go on a hunger strike.”
Saleh also tied the struggle of Khader Adnan to that of the Arab world calling for democracy and the downfall of their oppressive regimes: “the Arab world rose up against their dictators and said no to policies of silence and oppression. Before anything, Khader Adnan is a human whose demands are the same as those of the Arab world: freedom and dignity. The Arab Spring must bloom in Palestine with the Arabs taking action to save Khader Adnan.”
Jamal Ferwana spent seven years in Israeli prisons and today he added his stomach to that of Khader Adnan’s and fellow hunger strikers. Ferwana believes that ‘the international community is being complicit with Israel and that it is not doing much, if anything, to save the life of Khader Adnan.” Ferwana also concluded that Israel does not intend to release Khader Adnan “in order to deliver a message to all Palestinian prisoners that hunger striking will not end up in their release.”