Day 63 of Khader Adnan’s hunger strike against Israeli Administrative Detention

Day 63… of Khader Adnan’s hunger strike against another sentence of Administrative Detention handed down by the Israeli military system in the West Bank.

The Ofer military court in the West Bank has rejected his appeal heard at his hospital bedside [and said that Adnan was solely responsible for the damage to his health], but Israeli Supreme Court has now agreed to hear his petition — though no date has been set, yet, for a hearing. Today, there is the silence of the Jewish Shabbat.

Khader Adnan is still shackled to a bed in Ziv Hospital in Safed, in the Galilee, which became part of Israel during its War of Independence in 1948, wearing the same underclothes he was wearing when seized.

He was arrested in his home in a village outside Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, before dawn on 17 December, in front of his terrified parents and two small daughters, and his then-three months’ [now five months'] pregnant wife, Randa.

The family has tried to persuade Adnan to break his long fast in order to save his life, but he has gently rebuked them for not supporting him.

Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, based in Ramallah, says here that Adnan “previously spent a total of six years in Israeli prison, mainly under administrative detention. In 2005, he launched a hunger strike that lasted for 12 days in protest of being held in isolation in Kfar Yuna”.

It seems that enough was finally enough, for Adnan.

There are now over 300 Palestinians being held in Administrative Detention — in which evidence is kept secret from both the accused and his lawyers, making a defense and a fair trial impossible. This is 100 more than a year ago — an increase of 1/3.

UPDATE: The spokesperson for the European Union [EU]‘s High Representative Cathrine Ashton issued a second statement in a week about Adnan’s hunger strike, elevating her feelings from “concern” to “great concern”:

    “The High Representative is following with great concern reports about the deteriorating health condition of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian held in administrative detention in Israel and who has been on hunger strike since mid-December. The High Representative requests the Government of Israel to do all it can to preserve the health of Mr. Adnan in its continuing handling of this case. The High Representative reiterates the EU’s longstanding concern about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charge. Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying any detention and be subject to a fair trial”.  [Thanks to @jondonnison of the BBC and @OguzArikboga, policy adviser at the European Parliament, for the tip, email, and link to EU statement on website, here.]

New elections have been postponed by executive decrees issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who currently continues to function as President of the Palestinian Authority, a post to which he was elected in January 2005 for a four-year term, in special elections held just two months after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also the head of Fatah, the largest Palestinian political movement, by acclamation [at the sixth Fatah General Conference held after an 18-year delay in Bethlehem in August 2009]. And, Abbas is the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and as such nominal President of the State of Palestine declared in November 1988. In that capacity, Abbas made the “UN Bid” at UNHQ/NY on 23 September 2011, asking for full membership in the UN of the State of Palestine. Israel has strongly objected to this move for being “unilateral” and thus a violation of the Oslo Accords, and the U.S. has said they would use the veto power to block any Security Council approval of full Palestinian membership, which Israel says must be dealt with through bilateral negotiations.

It is striking that Mahmoud Abbas has not said much about Administrative Detainees [there was a passing phrase during comments to the media after the visit of UNSG BAN Ki-Moon at the beginning of the month].

But, Abbas made one call last week on the world to help free Khader Adnan, this one Administrative Detainee who has persisted in what is now the longest Palestinian hunger strike in history. Abbas simply asked that Khader Adnan be freed in order to save his live — but failed to call for the complete end to the practice of Administrative Detention which is a recognized human rights violation and an instrument of oppression under the continuing Israeli occupation.

Gideon Levy wrote, in one of his Twilight Zone columns, published in Haaretz yesterday here that Adnan was arrested for the seventh time 17 December: “The first time was in 1999, when he was held for half a year without trial. After that, he spent eight months in detention in 2000; he was arrested again in 2002-2003; detained in 2004; detained for 18 months in 2005-2006 and six months in 2008. In 2010, the Palestinian Authority arrested him for 12 days. Then, too, he went on a hunger strike, for the first time in his life”. [n.b. - This is contradicted by the Ad-Dameer report, above, which notes a 12-day hunger strike in 2005 against being held in isolation...]

Levy also wrote that Randa Adnan told him, after visiting her husband in the hospital in Safed this week, that “Before she said good-bye she heard him whisper: ‘These are my last days. I will never forgive those who did not stand by me’. He was referring to the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli people, she says”.

Levy noted that “Next week Adnan, an Islamic Jihad activist from Arabeh, will set a new Israeli record for the country’s longest hunger strike, longer than that of peace activist Abie Nathan (45 days), and of a group of security prisoners who went 65 days without eating in 1970″.

A senior medical officer at Ziv hospital said on Thursday that Adnan’s condition was stable.

But, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has warned that the damage to Adnan’s body may be permanent at this stage, even if he survives the coming days…

Here is a photo of Adnan’s father, wife + daughters emerging from their second visit to Adnan in Ziv Hospital on Wednesday, taken by ActiveStills, and posted on Electronic Intifada’s website, here
Father + family of Khader Adnan in Safed on 15 Feb - ActiveStills on EI

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