Hope – Lives have been saved

Reports came from Egypt last night, from Gaza this morning, from Ramallah this evening, and Israel tonight that some kind of deal had been agreed by Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike to end their action in exchange for Israeli concessions on their demands.

The news came as 4 of 8 Palestinian prisoners protesting their Administrative Detention have been on hunger strike for over 70 days [2 of them for 78 days]. There are currently 308 Palestinian Administrative Detainees in Israeli jails.

In addition, some 1600 or so other Palestinian prisoners started their own hunger strike on 17 April, which included support for the Palestinian Administrative Detainees — but which also demanded an end to extensive periods of isolation in solitary confinement for others, and an end to the ban on family visits to prisoners from Gaza, as well as a repeal of punitive measures put in place as reprisal for the conditions that Gilad Shalit was held in, in Gaza, for some five years.

By email from the Israeli Government Press Office tonight came this toughly-worded communication by the Israel Prison Service: “End of the Hunger Strike by Security Prisoners”. [A link was given to a Hebrew-language website, here]. Here is an annotated version of the text:

“1. This afternoon (Monday), 14.5.12, the security prisoners stopped their hunger strike after 28 days. [Note: 99.9 percent of Palestinian prisoner in Israel jails are classified as “security prisoners”.  The collective hunger strike action began on 17 April, which Palestinians mark as Prisoner’s Day.  But individual hunger strikes to protest orders of Administrative Detention, following the unprecendented example of Khader Adnan, who is now free, began 78 days ago.   And 7 or 8 Palestinians in advanced stages of  hunger strikes, 3 of them over 70 days, 2 on Day 78,  are in the Ramleh prison clinic.]

2. The declaration regarding the end of the strike was made possible in the wake of the understandings that have been formulated in recent days, the main point of which is the security prisoners’ signature on a commitment not to engage in terrorism inside the prison walls in exchange for various easements in several areas, including the return of prisoners held in separation to the prison wings and the possibility of first degree relatives’ visits to prisoners from Gaza[Note, I personally am bursting with curiosity to know what kind of “terrorism” was going on inside the secure walls of the Israeli Prison System which will now stop, as part of this deal.  Was it the hunger strikes?  Is it the smuggling of sim cards and mobile phones?]

3. Pursuant to the ISA [Israel Security Agency] statement regarding the understandings, following are several additional points [Note: we did not receive the ISA statement, but the New York Times did — see lower in this post]:

A. An inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Israel Prison Service Commissioner, and with the participation of representatives from the Justice, Foreign and Health ministries, as well as from the IDF (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Judge Advocate General), the Israel Security Agency, the National Security Council and the Israel Police, evaluated the significance of the prisoners’ requests and issued a serious of recommendations to the political echelon.
B. Before the strike, the Israel Prison Service Commissioner appointed an additional team to evaluate the prisoners’ requests regarding their prison living conditions; in the wake of the halt to the strike, several actions will be carried out regarding which positive decisions have been taken.
C. The decisions of the committee were shown to prisoners who did not strike, thus preventing their joining and expanding the strikers.
D. It should be pointed out that throughout the strike, the strikers were under close medical care and received professional treatment as necessary, including check-ups and hospitalization according to need.
E. Upon the conclusion of the strike, the medical monitoring will continue in order to prevent possible complications from an unsupervised return to eating.
F. Security deployment in the prisons and dialogue with the strikers throughout the period prevented a worsening of the situation including possible violent scenarios.
G. Throughout the strike, the Israel Prison Service took care regarding prisoners’ rights according to law and acted with complete transparency vis-à-vis official oversight agencies”.

Seriously, what could the Israeli Prison Services mean when they said the prisoners had signed a “commitment not to engage in terrorism inside the prison walls”? What terrorism is going inside the prison walls? This we would really like to know.

From the New York Times, we learn that “Israel’s internal security agency, known as the Shin Bet, said in a statement on Monday that the agreement became possible after the prisoners made a commitment ‘to completely halt terrorist activity inside Israeli prisons’, and ‘to refrain from all activity that constitutes practical support for terrorism, including recruiting people for terrorist activity, guidance, financing, coordinating among recruits, aiding recruits’, and related activities”. This is reported here.

The NYTimes also reported that “Israeli officials said they had made no commitment to end the practice of incarceration without formal charges or a trial, known as administrative detention, and that current administrative detainees would serve out their terms. But Issa Qaraqe, the minister of prisoner affairs for the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, said earlier on Monday that there were understandings that the terms of the roughly 300 prisoners being held without charges would not be extended … Last week, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected appeals for the immediate release of Mr. Diab and Mr. Halahleh, but the judges expressed reservations about any extension of their terms without further investigation and better judicial oversight”.

The 1,600 or so prisoners with the multiple demands are said to be waiting to see if Israel will fulfill its part of the deal.
Then, a bit after midnight, this news started to come in, via Twitter:
Al-Jazeera’s Rana Zabaneh – @RZabaneh:“#PalHunger: #ThaerHalahleh told his father he will end his hunger strike to be released on June 5”

Gaza Youth Break Out – @GazaYBO:
Lawyer Jawad Boulos: Thaer Hlahalh; Bilal Diab Stopped the strike after an agreement 2 end the AD; will be released on #June5.

Linah Alsaafin – @LinahAlsaafin:
“#BilalThiab according to what #ThaerHalahleh’s dad told me will be released August 17 after his administrative detention ends #PalHunger”

Maath Musleh @MaathMusleh :
“AD on hunger strike will end hunger strike in the morning when they receive official papers to confirm their detention will not be renewed!”

No one died. This is a major achievement.

No news about two Palestinian hunger strikers on Day 75 [or is it 74? or 76?] – UPDATED

This is the Israeli weekend, and the Jewish Shabbat [Sabbath], and there is no news about two Palestinian Administrative Detainees in Israeli jail, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab, on what is Day 75 [or is it Day 74? or is it possibly even Day 76?] of their open-ended hunger strike, a very critical day to protest the Israeli military court orders confining them to Administrative Detention — where the evidence is not shown to the accused or to their lawyers, so no defense is possible.

These two hunger-strikers, on the longest continuous self-deprivation action in Palestinian history, are reportedly still in Ramleh prison clinic, rather than in a regular independent civilian hospital.

In recent days, Halahleh has been exceptionally permitted to send letters that have been unusually rapidly delivered. The last one was to his wife, asking her forgiveness.

The Independent reports that “In his letter to his wife, Shireen, dated 8 May, he writes: ‘I cannot describe with words my love for you. I am doing this for the sake of God and my homeland, for [you] and my daughter Namar [Lamar]. Take care of her and take care of your health… and forgive me’. Arrested two weeks before Namar was born, he has held his infant daughter for only five minutes, as family visits are conducted via telephone”… [And, with a glass wall between the prisoner and his visitor.]

Now, another letter from Halahleh was delivered [yesterday?] to their only child, their daughter Lamar.

Continue reading No news about two Palestinian hunger strikers on Day 75 [or is it 74? or 76?] – UPDATED

Thaer Halahleh has given Do Not Resuscitate instructions, says PHR-Israel

According to Anat Litvak of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel [PHR=Israel], Palestinian prisoner Thaer Halahleh, now on Day 74 [or 75 or 73?] of an open-ended hunger strike protesting his extended Administrative Detention in Israeli jails, has given Do Not Resuscitate orders.

According to the PHR-IL official, recorded on video by the Daily Telegraph, Thaer Halahleh does not want to be revived, if he falls unconscious or comotose.

This is stated in a video posted, along with a report, on the Daily Telegraph website here.

Halahleh was the prisoner who was well enough to testify at his appeal heard in Israel’s Supreme Court on May 3. His colleague, Bilal Diab, fainted and was not able to speak in Court.

What Thaer Halahleh told the Court was: “I am a man who loves life, and I want to live in dignity. No human can accept being in jail for even one hour without any charge or reason”.

A lawyer from Addameer who visited Halahleh on Thursday said that he was told by an Israeli physician that he is on the verge of death.

There is no documented case of a hunger striker surviving a total fast lasting beyond 75 days.

A group of Palestinian human rights NGOs has just issued a call on the European Union to intervene to save the lives of the few Palestinian prisoners on open-ended hunger strikers.

Solidarity protests at the ICRC in Ramallah on Thursday to demand international action in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails

This morning, solidarity protesters showed up at the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC]  in Ramallah, in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike:

Solidarity protests at the ICRC in Ramallah on Thurs 10 May - photo posted on Facebook by Radio Ajyal

Photo by Radio Ajyal, posted on Facebook here

Hana Shalabi after six weeks of hunger strike is sent to Gaza for three years exile

In an awful twist, Palestinian female prisoner Hana Shalabi is being sent to Gaza, as this post is being written, via Israel’s Erez Terminal, after a 43-day hunger strike that has put her life into danger.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has reportedly made arrangements to bring her family — from the West Bank, a significant Israeli concession — to say a brief goodbye as Hana is sent through the frightful Erez locked gates and long corridors devoid of any human presence except through remote Israeli security cameras.

Reuters reported in the evening that “Shalabi arrived in Gaza before nightfall in an ambulance, after a tearful farewell with family members who saw her at Gaza’s Erez crossing with Israel before she was deported, medics who escorted her said”.   This report was posted here.

Her crossing apparently took place just before sunset, sometime between 17h00 and 18h00.

This Reuters photo is now posted on the Ma’an News Agency website:
Hana Shalabi at Erez Terminal on 1 April 2012.

Ma’an reported here that officials said Shalabi’s “Relatives were allowed to meet with her for an hour”.

Hana Shalabi — who Israeli government spokespersons say is a member of Islamic Jihad — was already jailed for about three years under Israeli Administrative Detention rules.   She was released in October in the recent prisoner swap that returned captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza after five years.  Then, she was suddenly re-arrested by the IDF and taken in a pre-dawn raid at her father’s home in the West Bank in early February.

In Israeli Administrative Detention, a military judge issues an order for periods that are usually six months long and renewable.  The only evidence is discussed in private between the Israeli military judge and Israeli security personnel, who provide supposedly secret evidence that neither the person under arrest nor his or her attorney will see.  Without knowing the evidence,  no defense is possible.  The only charges that are made public are “posing a threat to the security and peace of the region”.

    Highlighting another aspect to this story, Ali Abunimah wrote here, on his Electronic Intifada website that “I have already noted that while Hana was being held without charge or trial, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official spokesman Ofir Gendelman was using Twitter to defame and smear her – while she is denied any right to respond to these or any other accusations”. Something similar happened earlier, with Khader Adnan. But Ofir Gendelman has taken a lead on the Hana Shalabi case. Just today, Gendelman [@ofirgendelman], who works for the Prime Minister of Israel, Benyamin Netanyahu, and has identified his Twitter account as “official”, wrote the following Tweets: “#HanaShalabi is a terrorist who planned to kill innocent people” … “#HanaShalabi, an Islamic Jihad terrorist, was arrested because she planned terrorist attacks against Israelis. This is a war crime” … “Israel will not compromise on the security of its citizens. This is why Islamic Jihad terrorist #HanaShalabi was deported to Hamas in Gaza“. In his enthusiam for the task, Gendelman also Tweeted that “After she relocates to Gaza, she will not endanger any Israelis anymore” … “#HanaShalabi has committed to relinquish violence. If she does resume her terrorist activities w/ the Islamic Jihad, she will be re-arrested“. And, in a handly little description of Israeli Administrative Detention, Gendelman Tweeted that “evidence against #HanaShalabi came from intel, hence admin detention: a tool against terror when evidence is intel“. All of this is based on “intel”, Gendelman writes — suggesting that he has had privileged access to it. And, though none of this information has been made public, and Hana Shalabi therefore has no way to answer these accusations, Gendelman is using his official position to make accusations based on information that he implies is privileged, and that cannot be refuted because it is secret.

    If Gendelman has had priviliged access to “intel” presented to an Israeli military court in the West Bank, this would appear to be a serious misuse of official position. Or, is there no separation of powers in the Israeli system of government?

    If Gendelman is merely repeating what he has been told, without any checking to see if it might be accurate or not, then he is indulging in propaganda in a way that is unworthy of an official working in the office of the Prime Minister of a democratic country that runs by rule of law.

    And, there is a serious logical [and propagandistic] flaw in his argumentation: seriously, how can @OfirGendelman, adviser to PM Netanyahu, use his Twitter “official account” to claim secret “intel” proves someone plots war crimes? And then, at the same time, after #HanaShalabi enters Gaza, @Ofirgendelman writes: “After she relocates to Gaza, she will not endanger any Israelis anymore”…

The agreement that requires Hana Shalabi to go to Gaza for three years was previously proposed and rejected by her weeks ago.

The sudden announcement that she had reconsidered and accepted going to Gaza was made on 28 March — after several days when neither her lawyers nor the independent medical doctor

This morning, Addameer said that that it learned Shalabi would be sent to Gaza today.

In a joint statement in the afternoon, Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) said they were

    “alarmed at the announcement that Hana Shalabi will be expelled to the Gaza Strip today, only three days after purportedly ending her 43-day hunger strike. Addameer and PHR-Israel condemn the Israeli Prison Service (IPS)’s denial of access to both parties to visit Ms. Shalabi in the days leading up to the deal for her release and expulsion to the Gaza Strip and since the deal was reportedly finalized on 29 March…

    Continue reading Hana Shalabi after six weeks of hunger strike is sent to Gaza for three years exile

Khader Adnan ends hunger strike after 66 days in deal with State of Israel

Relief. Khader Adnan agreed to end his hunger strike after 66th days, in a deal with the State of Israel that was finalized just an hour before a hearing in Israel’s Supreme Court.

Confusion surrounded the moment, when the Supreme Court hearing was cancelled. Rumors that Khader Adnan would be immediately freed, and counter rumors that he was staying in Administrative Detention…Rumors that Khader Adnan had agreed to end his hunger strike, and counter rumors that there was no confirmation at all, and that no one was being allowed to see him [he is still in Ziv Hosptal in Safed].

Then, the Israeli Ministry of Justice issued a statement:

    Following is a translation of a request submitted by the State Attorney and the attorney of the appellant (Khader Adnan) to the Supreme Court:

    “1. This petition regards the appellant’s request for an order to revoke the administrative detention order that was issued against him, and is in force until 8.5.12.

    2. The State would like to announce – after the issue had been brought before the Attorney General – that it agrees to offset the days in which the appellant was detained for the purpose of a criminal investigation prior to his administrative detention from the period of the current administrative detention order, and also announces that as long as no new significant and substantive material is added regarding the appellant, there is no intention to extend the administrative detention.

    Therefore, as long as no new significant and substantive material is added regarding the appellant, his administrative detention will end on 17.4.12.

    3. In light of State’s foregoing announcement, the appellant states – via his attorney – that he is halting his hunger strike effective immediately.

    4. In light of the foregoing, the State and the appellant ask that the honorable Court order that the petition be dismissed without an order regarding costs, and that the discussion scheduled for today (Tuesday), 21.2.12, be cancelled.”

He was arrested in his home in ‘Arraba village near Jenin before dawn on 17 December. On 8 February, an Israeli military court issued a decision ordering him to serve four months’ in Administrative Detention, and this term was due to end on 8 May — but it is, of course, renewable.

And, it is this fact that caused the most caution in the immediate reaction. Addameer [the “prisoner support + human rights organization” in Ramallah] cautioned that the Israeli formulation of the deal contained a loophole:

    “if new ‘secret material’, upon which administrative detention is based, presents itself during the next two months, there would still be grounds for the renewal of his administrative detention order. This caveat is consistent with similar deals made in the past, in which Israeli officials leave the door open for re-arrests”.

With the deductions calculated according to the terms of the deal explained in the statement by Israel’s Ministry of Justice, above, Khader Adnan is now scheduled for release on 17 April [instead of 8 May].

He will probably spend most of the time in the hospital, recuperating from his 66-day hunger strike. His life is, actually, still at risk from the strain on his entire system. He will almost certainly not be reintroduced to solid foods for quite a while, as that could cause a catastrophic overload on his body, and will be on liquid “shakes” with all kinds of nutritional supplements, starting off very simply.

Continue reading Khader Adnan ends hunger strike after 66 days in deal with State of Israel

Supreme Court hearing on Day 66 of Khader Adnan’s hunger strike against Israeli Administrative Detention

Today is Day 66 of Khader Adnan’s continuous hunger strike against Israeli Administrative Detention, and Israel’s Supreme Court is scheduled to hear his petition against it.

According to a report by Isabelle Kersh for the New York Times, published here, Adnan’s lawyer Attorney Jawad Bulous says “We are asking for him to be released on grounds that they have nothing against him”.

Administrative Detention orders are handed down by the Israeli military justice system in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, against Palestinians who are then transferred to Israeli jails inside Israel proper for terms which are handed down for periods of up to six months, renewable.

Transferring Palestinians out of the occupied territory into Israel is considered a violation of international law, but Israel feels justified in doing this because it does not consider the West Bank occupied. [However, neither has Israel ever annexed most of the West Bank either. Israel did, however, extend it’s administration to East Jerusalem and about 65 square kilometers around it, after it’s military conquest in late June 1967, and unilaterally created a new area which Israel calls the “Greater Jerusalem Municipality”.]

The Israeli Supreme Court has authorized the transfer of Palestinian prisoners out of the West Bank into Israel proper.

This afternoon, the Israeli Supreme Court will hear Khader Adnan’s appeal against Administrative Detention — in which no evidence is presented to the accused or his/her lawyers, so no defense is possible.

Only the generic charge of “being a threat to the peace and security of the region” is made public.

Whatever evidence there may be, and such as it is, often obtained through interrogation measures that amount to torture, is communicated privately in a closed meeting between the Israeli Secret Services, known as GSS or Shabak, and the Israeli military court judge.

There are now some 310 Palestinian Administrative Detainees sitting in Israeli jails — up from about 200 a year ago. Many of these are somehow linked or affiliated with Islamist Palestinian organizations that are opposed to the current Palestinian leadership and even to the Palestinian Authority that was created by agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] under the Oslo Accords in the mid-1990s.

The NYTimes article on the case quotes Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as saying that some 11,000 Palestinians were under administrative detention during the First Intifada in the late 1980s.

According to the NYTimes, “Mr. Jabarin himself has spent a total of seven years in administrative detention, including a two-year stint in the late 1990s. ‘In Arabic, we have a term for it’, said Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. ‘It is like reburying a corpse again and again’.”

Administrative Detention is, in a way, a kind of death — or a kind of miserable suspended life.

Khader Adnan’s hunger strike, which has now entered its most critical phase, dramatizes this situation on the world stage now.

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…

Day 64 of Khader Adnan’s hunger strike against Israeli Administrative Detention

Today is Day 64…And it is Sunday, so Israel’s Supreme Court is back at work and may be able to schedule a hearing on the appeal they accepted from Khader Adnan against his Administrative Detention.

UPDATE:  The Israeli Supreme Court has reportedly just scheduled its hearing of Khader Adnan’s appeal on Thursday 23 February — four days from now, which would be Day 68 of his hunger strike.

    The big question now is: Will Khader Adnan stop, or modify, his hunger strike, now that this hearing in open court is scheduled?

UPDATE TWO: Three Palestinian human rights organizations — the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights [PCHR] in Gaza, Addameer, and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights — have issued an urgent call for action on behalf of Khader Adnan, and expressed concern for his life, which, they wrote, “is in immediate danger as he has been on a hunger strike for the past 64 days”.  Their call urges people “to make direct contact with the responsible Israeli officials and authorities, demanding the immediate release of Khader Adnan, in a critical attempt to save his life”.

    Frankly, it is hard to follow the logic: the Palestinian position seems to be that Adnan should be released because he is in a critical condition and on the verge of death.  Why, exactly? I’m not sure that this is what Adnan himself wants, or is asking for.

    If I understand correctly, Adnan objects to the abuse of his person and of his rights.  He is not without experience in these things, unfortunately.

    He was not living underground, in hiding, and he has not been accused of making bombs or buying weapons or of shooting anyone or of planning an act of violence.

    He has, clearly, led a politically active life — a life that he might not have chosen had he lived in other places, at other times, and not under an oppressive military occupation.

    He has been described as a political organizer — and of functioning in one way or another that could be considered, and could be argued, as an exercise in freedom of opinion and association and other basic democratic values.

    And, from everything Khader Adnan has said, what he wants is to have the right to know why he has been detained, and he wants to know the full charges against him and what evidence they may be based upon, and he wants to be able to defend himself.

    In a letter he gave to his lawyer for distribution a few weeks ago, Khader Adnan wrote: “I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on. It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and force the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans”.

He himself has never been reported as having indicated he is on hunger strike in order to gain his release out of pity for the poor condition of his health as a result of his extended fast…

He was on hunger strike not to die, or to scare or intimidate anyone that he might die, but instead to assert that he — and others in his position — do have rights, and human rights, and to show clearly the seriousness of his stand.

The statement sent out by PCHR says that Khader Adnan has “the law” [which law is unspecified] on his side.

He would probably agree.

And I am guessing from everything written about him, Khader Adnan would probably want to be cleared on that basis, and not simply because his body has been critically weakened.

But, tell me that Khader Adnan should be free, and freed, because he’s a political prisoner who never committed a crime [other than holding an unpopular political view] and I would agree.

As the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights wrote, in a second email sent around today, “administrative detention is illegal and falls under the category of political arrests, constituting a violation of the detainee’s right to a fair trial, including his right to receive an adequate defense and to be informed of the charges against him”.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, published here, Randa, the wife of Khader Adnan, reportedly “said her husband is keeping silent on what would make him end his strike, ‘and I read it in his eyes, it will be an honorable deal’…”

Continue reading Day 64 of Khader Adnan’s hunger strike against Israeli Administrative Detention