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

Mairead Maguire appears before Israel's Supreme Court

But it apparently did not go very well.

According to a report by the Associated Press, published in Haaretz, “Maguire, her face pale and twitching, called on Israel to cease what she called its ‘apartheid policy against the Palestinian people’.” But, the AP report noted, “The comments were unlikely to endear Maguire to the court”.

What happened next, AP said, was that “Justice Asher Grunis retorted [‘This is no place for propaganda’] and cut her off. The session ended soon thereafter”.

UPDATE: It was the seventh day of Maguire’s detention. She was briefly hospitalized two days earlier… Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab minority rights in Israel, which was representing Maguire, wrote in an press release [on Sunday 3 October] announcing its appeal to the Supreme Court that “Ms. Maguire fell ill on Friday evening 1 October following her [earlier] court hearing [in the Central District Court in Petah Tikvah] and was taken to a local hospital for tests. Ms. Maguire rested in the hospital for three hours before returning to her holding cell at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Detention officers allowed Ms. Maguire only partial access to her medical records and refused a phone call to her husband in Ireland. Ms. Maguire has now been in detention for six days”. This was published here.

AP added, in its report on the Supreme Court session, that “The government opposed a court-proposed compromise that Maguire be allowed to join the delegation for two days and then leave”. This report is published here.

The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday night that there are actually two deportation orders against Maguire, and that the Israeli Foreign Ministry had previously indicated, earlier this year, that it could not intervene.

Continue reading Mairead Maguire appears before Israel's Supreme Court

INVESTIGATION: Yezid Sayegh on the Hamas economy in Gaza

Later today, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is expected to publish a new list — of items forbidden to enter Gaza. This is the revamp of Israel’s sanctions policy that was announced in the wake of the 31 May Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla attempting to “break the siege on Gaza” by sea, which resulted in the deaths of 8 Turkish men and one American student.

But why is this list being announced by the Israeli Foreign Ministry?

Probably to emphasize, first of all, that Israel and Gaza are two different entities. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, Israel has insisted since its unilateral withdrawal, in September 2005, of 8,000 Israeli settlers and the troops protecting them, that it is no longer occupying Gaza.

Since September 2007, following an Israeli Government decision to declare Gaza an “enemy entity” or “hostile territory”, the Israeli siege on Gaza has been administered by the Israeli Ministry of Defense — and in particular, its COGAT [Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories] department — without any other government supervision or oversight, than a warning by the Israeli Supreme Court, in response to a lawsuit brought by a group of Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups [with GISHA in the lead] not to allow a “humanitarian crisis” to develop.

Some international organizations believe that a this threshold has already been passed, several years ago.

And, there are continuous reports that this Israeli policy toward Gaza is not completely unappreciated by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, who also want to subdue if not topple Hamas and restore their control in the Gaza Strip. This commonality of interests supports the Israeli “siege”.

But, to the extent that a humanitarian crisis has not — yet — become a humanitarian disaster, resulting in a huge number of deaths among the 1.5 million people trapped by the siege in the Gaza Strip, is due, some argue, to the organization and coping strategies developed by Hamas.

It is worth noting that since the Israeli naval assault on the Freedom Flotilla, COGAT as reportedly been too busy to accept many scheduled deliveries of goods into Gaza, according to some reports in Ramallah — COGAT has been preoccupied with searching and inspecting the cargo of the Freedom Flotilla. Israel promised to deliver what was not forbidden to Gaza — and the entry of this material is only taking place now. This concerns a reported 70 truckloads worth of items, including electric wheelchairs.

COGAT in the past week has managed a steady increase in the number of truckloads it is allowing to pass through to Gaza per day — it is now hovering around, or even surpassing 150 truckloads per day [this should be compared, however, to the pre-2007 levels of between 400 and 600 truckloads a day, for 1.4 million people].

Yezid Sayegh, Professor of Middle East Studies in the Department of Wars Studies at King’s College London who is currently on leave to Brandeis University [his bio also says he is a former adviser and negotiator in the Palestinian delegation to the peace talks with Israel – but doesn’t say which ones] wrote an analysis of “Hamas Rule in Gaza -Three Years On”, published in March 2010, that says:

“Gaza has developed a unique economy based on a combination of three main inputs: smuggling (through the tunnels dug under the border with Egypt at Rafah); monthly subventions worth $65 million from the Fayyad government to pay its employees and operate Gaza’s power plant; and the services and salaries provided by international NGOs and, especially, UNRWA.

“These inputs relieve the Hanieh government of a considerable burden, much as a considerably greater scale of foreign aid relieves the Fayyad government. At $540 million, the Hanieh government’s declared budget for 2010 is a fraction of the $2.78 billion budget of its West Bank counterpart; but with only 32,000 employees to the latter’s 145,000, its costs are far lower. Even so, the Hanieh government is believed to collect no more than $5 million a month in local revenue, or even less, if its own informal figures are to be believed. It has avoided taxing the tunnel trade in civilian goods entering from Egypt, with the result that commodity prices have dropped since the start of 2010. The bulk of government income derives instead from foreign sources: contributions from the Muslim Brotherhood International (Hamas’s mother organization), collections from zakat committees, and a portion of the assistance believed to reach the Hamas leadership in Damascus from Iran”…

Continue reading INVESTIGATION: Yezid Sayegh on the Hamas economy in Gaza