There are currently six Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails on open hunger strike, demanding their release from Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial under “administrative detention” orders. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner demands their immediate release, an end to the policy of administrative detention, and freedom for all Palestinian prisoners.
Ghadanfar Abu Atwan has been on hunger strike for 40 days to demand his freedom; he is joined by Khader Adnan, former long-time hunger striker, who has been on hunger strike for 15 days, as well as Amer al-Shami and Yousef al-Amer, on hunger strike for 14 days, and Mohammed Masalmeh and Sheikh Jamal al-Tawil, on hunger strike for 11 days. Al-Tawil’s strike demands the release of his daughter, Bushra al-Tawil, from administrative detention, as well as his release.
Administrative detention was first introduced to Palestine by British colonialism. These orders may be issued for one to six months at a time, and they are indefinitely renewable. As a result, Palestinians routinely are jailed for years at a time with no charge and no trial. Neither they nor their loved ones know when they will be released, and administrative detention serves as a form of psychological torture. The detained Palestinians and their lawyers are barred from seeing the “secret file” used to justify their imprisonment. The use of administrative detention, already routinely used to arbitrarily detain Palestinians, has been escalating rapidly, with over 200 detention orders issued since the beginning of May 2021.
Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, from Dura, near al-Khalil, launched his hunger strike on 5 May 2021 in Ramon prison in protest of his detention without charge or trial. He was seized by occupation forces in October 2020 and ordered to six months in administrative detention; his detention was then renewed for another six months, sparking him to launch his open hunger strike for freedom.
After announcing his strike, he was thrown into isolation for two weeks in Ramon prison, before being transferred to isolation in Ohli Kedar prison, where his cell was infected with insects and unsanitary. Frequent transfers and isolation are used as a means of physical pressure on hunger strikers in an attempt to force them to break their strike. Currently, Abu Atwan is held in the Ramle prison clinic. In his transfer to Ramle prison, Israeli occupation forces assaulted and beat Abu Atwan, physically weakened after 33 days of hunger strike. He was beaten, bruised and sprayed with a noxious substance that inhibited his breathing.
Sheikh Khader Adnan, from Jenin, was seized at dawn by occupation forces from the town of Arraba on 30 May. Adnan, who has won his freedom from administrative detention on multiple occasions through long-term hunger strikes and galvanized international solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, immediately launched a hunger strike. He has been arrested 12 times and spent 8 years in Israeli occupation prisons, most under administrative detention. In 2004, he launched a hunger strike for 25 days; in 2012 for 66 days, in 2015 for 56 days and 2018 for 58 days. He is the father of nine children, the youngest of which is only one month old.
After his arrest, an administrative detention order of one month was imposed upon him almost immediately. He has now been on hunger strike for 15 days to demand his freedom; he is being detained in the Jalameh interrogation center.
Amr al-Shami, 18, and Yousef al-Amer, 28, both from Jenin camp, jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, launched their strikes 14 days ago. Both completed their sentences imposed upon them by a military court; rather than being released as scheduled, they were ordered jailed without charge or trial. Both al-Shami and al-Amer are held in Megiddo prison.
Mohammed Masalmeh, from Beit Awwa near al-Khalil, is on hunger strike for the 11th day. He has been detained since February without charge or trial and launched his strike when the detention order against him was arbitrarily renewed.
Brought to the Israeli military court in Ofer on Sunday, 13 June, Sheikh Jamal al-Tawil told the occupation judge that he launched his hunger strike to demand freedom for his daughter, Bushra al-Tawil, who is one of two Palestinian women jailed under administrative detention, along with Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees president, Khitam Saafin. He is now demanding his own detention be terminated after the Israeli occupation security forces have ignored his demands. Al-Tawil, a prominent political leader, was seized on 1 June by Israeli occupation forces, who invaded his home in al-Bireh, and transferred almost immediately to administrative detention.
Al-Tawil was transferred on Friday, 11 June to HaSharon prison from Ofer prison, despite the fact that he would be forced to return to Ofer for the military court hearing only days later. These transfers are conducted using the “bosta,” a metal vehicle without temperature controls, and journeys that should take a brief time instead are extended throughout the day with frequent stops.
Bushra al-Tawil, held in Damon prison, has been detained without charge or trial since November 2020. She is a journalist and advocate for Palestinian prisoners who has been repeatedly detained by the Israeli occupation, most commonly held under administrative detention.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support the hunger strikers and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom. These Palestinians are putting their bodies and lives on the line inside occupation prisoners to demand not only freedom for themselves, but an end to administrative detention and the entire colonial system of Zionism throughout occupied Palestine. Take the actions below and use these posters to highlight the cases of these prisoners’ hunger strike for dignity, justice and freedom, part and parcel of the struggle for liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea!
Download these signs for use in your campaigns:
- Poster/Sign: End Administrative Detention
- Poster/Sign: Free Hunger Strikers and All Prisoners
- Poster/Sign – End Administrative Detention (with Palestinian Flag)
Protest at the Israeli Embassy or Consulate in Your Country!
Join the many protests taking place around the world — confront, isolate and besiege the Israeli embassy or consulate in your city or country of residence. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine! Send us your events at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take to the streets: Organize a protest in solidarity with Palestine!
Hundreds of thousands – millions of people – around the world have marched and protested with Palestine, its people and its liberation over the past week. Your protest and organizing is also key to supporting this strike! Take to the streets and join the actions on our full list of events, which is constantly being updated as new actions are announced! Organize your own if there is none in your area, and send us your events at email@example.com.
The international, Arab and Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel can play an important role at this critical time. Local boycott groups can protest and label Israeli produce and groceries. During Ramadan, Israeli dates from stolen Palestinian land are marketed around the world while Israel attempts to force Palestinians from Jerusalem, demolish homes, and imprisons thousands more. By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism. Download our Boycott Flyer to distribute at supermarkets, stores and other venues in your community! Block the Boat – join the campaigns to stop Israeli apartheid shipping internationally, which just won a major victory in Oakland, turning back an Israeli ZIM ship from unloading at the port.
Demand Your Government Sanction Israel!
The racist, settler colonial state of Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinian people are enabled and backed extensively by the over $3.8 billion each year given to Israel by the United States — targeted directly to support the Israeli occupation military killing children, women, men and elders throughout occupied Palestine. From Canada to Australia to the European Union, Western governments and imperialist powers provide ongoing diplomatic, political and economic support to Israel as well as selling billions of dollars of weaponry to the settler-colonial state. Meanwhile, they also purchase billions of dollars in weaponry from the Israeli state. Governments in league with imperialist powers, such as in the Philippines, Brazil, India and elsewhere, also buy weapons and “security” services — all “battle-tested” on the Palestinian population. Call your representatives, MPs, political officials and demand your government sanction Israel now, cut off all aid, expel its ambassadors, and stop buying and selling weapons!