Take action: 20 more Palestinian prisoners join administrative detainees in hunger strike for freedom

On Tuesday, 30 July, 20 more Palestinian prisoners joined the eight administrative detainees already on hunger strike as Mohammed Abu Aker, Mustafa Hassanat and Huzaifa Halabiya entered their second month without food. The prison branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced  that 20 prisoners in the Negev desert prison were joining the strike to demand freedom for administrative detainees and an end of imprisonment without charge or trial.

The 20 prisoners who joined the strike were led by Wael Jaghoub, the leader of the PFLP’s prison branch. The full list of the new strikers is as follows:

  • Wael Jaghoub
  • Thaer Hanani
  • Yahya Zahran, sentenced to 22 years, from Askar refugee camp
  • Fadi Khaizaran, serving a 26 year sentence, from Balata camp
  • Iyad Abu Khait, serving a 24 year sentence, from Askar refugee camp
  • Hassan Ahmad Abu Kamel,serving a 22 year sentence, from Askar refugee camp
  • Ra’afat Assous, serving a 20 year sentence, from Burin
  • Musaab Mahmoud, serving a 24 year sentence, from Beit Umrin
  • Muath Kaabi, serving a 3-year sentence, from Balata refugee camp
  • Tareq Darwish, serving a 7-year sentence, from Issawiya
  • Ahmad Abu Amsha, serving a 6 year sentence, from Zawat, Nablus
  • Ismail Alayan, held in administrative detention, from Dheisheh camp
  • Mahmoud Hamash, held in administative detention, from Dheisheh camp
  • Shehab Mezher, held in administrative detention, from Dheisheh camp
  • Shafiq Saabneh, serving an 11-year sentence, from Jenin
  • Mohammed al-Rashdi, serving an 11 year sentence, from Shu’afat refugee camp
  • Mohammed al-Zaanoun, serving an 18-yea sentence, from Hallal
  • Mohammed Firawi, serving an 8 year sentence, from Jerusalem
  • Mohammed Abu Hamad, serving a 7 year sentence, from Shu’afat refugee camp
  • Sultan Abu al-Hummus, serving a 7 year sentence, from Issawiya, Jerusalem

In joining the strike, the prisoners issued a statement that “the procrastination and evasion of the prison administration and its failure to implement an agreement for the three sriking prisoners: Huzaifa Halabiya, Mohammed Abu Aker and Mustafa al-Hassanat, will receive further escalation and response.” They emphasized that the Israeli prison administration holds full responsibility for the lives and health of the strikers as they enter their second month on hunger strike.

In retaliation for the announcement, Israeli repressive units stormed two sections of the prison, specifically those where PFLP prisoners are held. Their rooms in sections 10 and 13 were raided and searched, while many prisoners were transferred from section to section. In particular, prisoners were threatened with transfer to other prisons if they continue their strike.

Abu Aker turned 25 on 30 July as he ended his first month of hunger strike. A student leader and activist in Dheisheh refugee camp, he is the son of fellow former prisoner, journalist and activist Nidal Abu Aker, who spent approximately 14 years in Israeli prison and launched his own hunger strike against administrative detention in 2015. He was previously imprisoned for 27 months and has been jailed without charge or trial since November 2018. His father reported that Abu Aker rejected an Israeli offer to release him four months after the end of his current detention order to end his strike. Abu Aker has lost 20 kilos of weight (approximately 44 pounds) since launching his strike on 1 July.

A student at the University of Bethlehem, his education has been repeatedly interrupted by Israeli arrests and imprisonment, this time without charge or trial. He is known for his speeches and clear leftist politics, representing the Palestinian student movement at events and activities at the university. He is currently held under isolation in the Ramle prison clinic.

He is joined by Huzaifa Halabiya, 28, from Abu Dis, Jerusalem. Halabiya is a leukemia survivor who suffered burns over the majority of his body as a child and requires intensive medical care and treatment. Still, he has launched a hunger strike to demand his freedom after being jailed without charge or trial for over a year, since 10 June 2018. Halabiya is held in isolation at Nitzan Ramle; he has lost 14 kg (approximately 30 pounds) since launching his hunger strike on 1 July. He is boycotting the prison clinic and refusing to receive medication. When he was arrested by Israeli occupation forces, his wife was pregnant; he is now the father of a 6-month-old girl, Majdal, but has been denied the opportunity to even meet his daughter.

Mustafa Hassanat, 21, also from Dheisheh camp, has been on hunger strike with Abu Aker and Halabiya since 1 July. He has been detained since 5 June 2018 and has been issued two additional administrative detention orders sine the first, jailing him without charge or trial for over a year and sparking his strike.

Also on hunger strike are five more Palestinians jailed without charge or trial:

  • Ahmad Ghannam, 42, from Dura near al-Khalil, has been on hunger strike for 17 days against his administrative detention.
  • Sultan Khallouf, 38, of Burqin, who has been on hunger strike for 13 days. The Ofer military court postponed a hearing in his case until 8 August on 31 July.
  • Ismail Ali, 30, of Abu Dis, Jerusalem, also the hometown of Huzaifa Halabiya, has been on hunger strike for one week against his imprisonment without charge.
  • Wajdi Awawda, 20, launched his hunger strike against his imprisonment without charge or trial three days ago. In addition to being held under administrative detention without charge or trial, he needs surgery for a pelvic injury that has been repeatedly denied.
  • Tariq Qa’adan, 46, from Jenin, has been on hunger strike for one day against his imprisonment without charge or trial. A former prisoner who has spent 11 years in prison, he has been jailed since 23 February 2019. After his two-month sentence expired, he was transferred to administrative detention rather than being released as scheduled. He launched his hunger strike on 31 July.

Two more hunger strikers, Musab al-Abed and Hamza Awad, suspended their strikes on 30 July after an agreement to end their administrative detention.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters and friends of Palestine everywhere around the world to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests and petitions can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.

Take Action:

1) Organize or join an event or protest for the Palestinian prisoners. You can organize an info table, rally, solidarity hunger strike, protest or action to support the prisoners. If you are already holding an event about Palestine or social justice, include solidarity with the prisoners as part of your action. Send your events and reports to samidoun@samidoun.net.

2) Write letters and make phone calls to protest the violation of Palestinian prisoners’ rights. Demand your government take action to stop supporting Israeli occupation or to pressure the Israeli state to end the policies of repression of Palestinian political prisoners. In particular, demand that your political officials put pressure on Israel to end the policy of administrative detention, the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial.

Call during your country’s regular office hours:

• Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne: + 61 2 6277 7500
• Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland: +1-613-992-5234
• European Union Commissioner Federica Mogherini: +32 (0) 2 29 53516
• New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters: +64 4 439 8000
• United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: +44 20 7008 1500
• United States President Donald Trump: 1-202-456-1111

3) Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Join the BDS campaign to highlight the complicity of corporations like Hewlett-Packard and the continuing involvement of G4S in Israeli policing and prisons. Build a campaign to boycott Israeli goods, impose a military embargo on Israel, or organize around the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Learn more about the BDS campaign at bdsmovement.net.