On Monday, 13 January, Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Zahran announced a victory in his hunger strike, as he was just about to enter his 114th day on strike against his Israeli administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its warmest congratulations to Ahmad Zahran at this moment of victory. His steadfastness and commitment to struggle stand as an inspiration to all those around the world who support the Palestinian people and their just cause of return and liberation.
On Monday evening, Zahran, 42, from the village of Deir Abu Mishaal near Ramallah, called his family – after family visits and calls had been denied him throughout his nearly four months of hunger strike – from the Kaplan hospital where he has been held due to the severe deterioration of his health. He informed them that he had reached an agreement with the Israeli occupation prison administration that his administrative detention would not be renewed and would come to an end on 25 February 2020.
This is the second hunger strike that Zahran has carried out during his detention without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation. He has been jailed under an administrative detention order since March 2019. Previously, he conducted a hunger strike for 39 days that ended with a pledge to release him – instead, however, his administrative detention was renewed. In the past, he has spent almost 15 years in Israeli prisons over multiple arrests. He is married and the father of four children, ranging in age from seven to 15.
During his imprisonment, multiple fellow Palestinian prisoners struggled alongside him to achieve this victory, including Jamil Ankoush, who carried out a 16-day hunger strike in solidarity with Zahran. Former prisoner Sumoud Karajeh carried out a 5-day hunger strike outside prison to support his demands. Dozens of prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine carried out a rotating series of hunger strikes and protests in multiple prisons, facing isolation and repression to demand Zahran’s freedom. PFLP prison branch leader Wael Jaghoub was isolated and banned from family visits following the announcement of activities inside the prisons in support of Zahran’s strike.
Earlier in the day, Palestinians in Gaza organized a protest in front of the Grand Mosque in Khan Younis in support of Zahran and his fellow Palestinian prisoners. Ali al-Shanna of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine emphasized the need for action to support the Palestinian prisoners, noting that “the program of struggle must rise to the level of the sacrifices made by the prisoners.”
Zahran is one of approximately 450 Palestinians held in administrative detention, of around 5,000 total Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli jails. These detention orders, introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist project, are issued for up to six months at a time but are indefinitely renewable on the basis of “secret evidence.” Palestinians may be jailed for years at a time due to indefinitely renewable detention orders.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network sends its strongest congratulations and salutes to Ahmad Zahran, his comrades, his family and the Palestinian people on the occasion of his victory. On this occasion, we urge all who support the Palestinian people to join in the campaign to support Palestinian prisoners, struggling behind prison walls on the front lines for freedom. All freedom-loving people in the world look forward to celebrating the day that Ahmad Zahran steps out from behind the prison walls – and the day in which all prisoners – and all Palestinians – are free in a liberated land. The struggle and steadfastness of the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people will lead not only to Zahran’s freedom, but to the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.