Day 65 of Khader Adnan’s hunger strike against Israeli Administrative Detention

Day 65… and there is no alarming news on Twitter. Khader Adnan is alive, on the 65th day of his hunger strike against Israeli Administrative Detention.

Israel’s Supreme Court has scheduled an open public hearing on Thursday, three days from now, to consider Khader Adnan’s petition against a military court’s sentence of Administrative Detention, in which no evidence is presented to the accused or to his/her lawyers, so no defense is possible.

UPDATE: The Israeli Supreme Court moved up the hearing, this afternoon — it will now be held tomorrow, Tuesday.

The only charge ever made public against all those [they are, of course, Palestinian] who are sentenced in Israeli military courts in the West Bank to terms [renewable, of course] of Administrative Detention is the vague and generic boilerplate: “being a threat to peace + security in the region”.

And, as Israeli journalist Yossi Gurvitz wrote today, here. in the +972 internet magazine: the hearing will be on Thursday, and “there is no guarantee that the justices will bother to make their decision then”, before the Israeli weekend which is Friday + Saturday.

However, with all the media attention the critical situation is now getting, there is a chance a decision will come late Thursday night or even early Friday..

The question [beside Khader Adnan's survival] is: what will the Supreme Court’s decision be?

Gurvitz wrote bitterly in his +972 piece that “Adnan’s detention serves no practical purpose. He is not interrogated as he lies chained in a hospital. Even were the security apparatus to discharge him now, he would not be a danger to anyone anytime soon. He has already suffered severe damage. There is no reason to keep him detained, but one: his release will embarrass the apparatus. It will testify that there was no cogent reason to hold him in the first place. It will put the entire system of administrative detention in question. So what we basically see is a pissing contest between a dark apparatus, the strongest in Israel and quite likely in the entire Middle East, and a sick, dying man, under guard, chained to his bed, with nothing but his faith to drive him on. The HCJ was supposed to be a bulwark of this man, to stand between him and the apparatus, and defend him. That, after all, is the legend they keep telling us about the HCJ: that it is comprised of wise, all-knowing judges, standing undaunted in defense of human rights against the government. The court made excellent use of this legend, and used it in the political struggles of the 1990s and 2000s. Some Israelis actually received aid from him. But it never defended the Palestinian. Every Palestinian had the right to appeal to the HCJ against the demolition of his house; the court has never prevented any. Not a single one. The court approved one administrative detention after another, even though this basically took us to pre-Magna Carta law. Even when the apparatus decided to exile 400 people suspected of being Hamas members to Lebanon, the HCJ approved the decision…”

Khader Adnan’s wife, Randa, told a small group of Palestinian journalists: “I know the difficult time is yet to come … His medical situation will deteriorate. It is hard to recover after this point. The doctors have told me that he could have a heart attack at any moment”. These words are reported by Omar Rahman on the Al-Jazeera website, here.

The same article also reports that “Khader Adnan had been arrested five times before he was married to Randa and three times since, largely for his political affiliation with the militant faction, Islamic Jihad [n.b. though he was not apparently charged with this, and his lawyer denies it ] … Before they married in 2005, Khader Adnan sat Randa down and explained to her the perilous future that would lie ahead if she married him. ‘He told me that his life was not normal, that he might be around for 15 days and then be gone again for a long time. But I always dreamt of marrying someone strong, someone who struggles in defence of his country … When I married him I knew I should expect anything. I am proud of him whether he is under the ground or above it’. Since his hunger strike began [n.b. - really, only since Khader Adnan's situation became critical about ten days ago or so] Randa has become the reluctant spokesperson of his cause, fielding telephone calls and interviews all day long. ‘It is twenty-four hours … I have a duty to respond to the media because this is how we can support him. In the past he was in the media and I was always standing behind him. Now I am the spokesperson, which is very difficult for me. I don’t have these kinds of skills’.”

Randa told Nida Tuma, for an article published in the Jerusalem Post here: “He is fading away and his eyes are sunken,” she said with a smile of her husband’s eyes. “They are beautiful, bluish-green in color and should be seen.”

Tuma also reported that “Adnan was an on and off student at Bir Zeit University [n.b. - reportedly as a graduate student in economics] where he gave free Hebrew lessons to other students”.

Tuma’s JPost also cited the Palestinian Ministry for Prisoners Affairs as saying that the longest previous hunger strike in Israel was in the 1970s, and also involved Palestinian security prisoners [almost all Palestinian prisoners in Israel are classified as security prisoners], but it was not in one continuous stretch of time: “The strikers fasted for 45 days, stopped for a couple of weeks, and then continued again for 20 days”.

Gideon Levy earlier wrote in Haaretz that Khader Adnan was on his way to “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 group of security prisoners who went 65 days without eating in 1970″.
Today, Khader Adnan matches the record — and betters it, by doing the longest continuous hunger strike in Israeli or Palestinian history.

Tomorrow, he breaks the record…

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