On 4 July 2021, Ghadanfar Abu Atwan – Palestinian jailed without charge or trial – entered his third month of hunger strike. He has gone without food for 60 days in order to demand his freedom from administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial.
Take action to free Ghadanfar – we urge all supporters of Palestine to sign the petition launched by independent grassroots international activists to demand his immediate release and seek worldwide support: https://www.change.org/freeGhadanfar
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.
Abu Atwan, 28, is currently held in Kaplan hospital after the Israeli Supreme Court “suspended” his administrative detention due to his severely weakened health. However, this does not mean the cancellation of his detention, but only that it will be reimposed as soon as Abu Atwan’s health improves, should he end his strike. He is guarded by hospital security and has been denied transfer to a Palestinian hospital. Abu Atwan’s mother reported that he is repeatedly questioned by hospital staff about eating in an attempt to break his strike.
Instead of conceding to Israeli demands that he end his strike, he has maintained his hunger strike, rejecting supplements and medical examinations. He has declared that he will stop drinking water, emphasizing his commitment to strike until freedom, despite the severe risk to his health. He has lost over 15 kilograms (33 pounds), is unable to speak or walk, and is experiencing a severe shortage of fluids in his body.
Abu Atwan’s uncle, Munif Abu Atwan, who is also imprisoned by Israel as a Palestinian political prisoner, has now been on hunger strike for 10 days demanding his nephew’s freedom. Munif Abu Atwan is sentenced to life imprisonment and has already spent 18 years in Israeli prison.
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. There are currently over 500 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Since Abu Atwan was 19 years old, he has been jailed four times for a total of seven years, with three of those detention periods held entirely under administrative detention. In total, Abu Atwan has spent almost five years of his life under Israeli detention without charge or trial.
In an interview with Abu Atwan’s family by Middle East Eye, his mother, Majdoleen Abu Atwan stated:
“Ghadanfar has spent most of his youth, what is supposed to be the best years of his life, in and out of Israeli prison,” she said. “Over the past 10 years, I barely get to spend time with my son, and then the Israelis arrest him again.”
Abu Atwan previously launched hunger strikes for his release, as well as joining in collective hunger strikes organized by the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. He joined the 2017 Dignity Strike, the mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners; one year later, he went on hunger strike for 28 days to win his release from administrative detention.
After announcing his strike, Abu Atwan 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. When he was then transferred to the infamous Ramle prison clinic, reviled among Palestinian prisoners for medical neglect and improper treatment, 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.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support Ghadanfar Abu Atwan and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom. He is confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines, with his body, life and breath. Take these actions below to stand with Abu Atwan’s struggle and sacrifice 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)
Sign and Share the Petition!
We urge all supporters of Palestine sign the petition launched by grassroots international activists to demand Ghadanfar Abu Atwan’s immediate release and seek worldwide support: https://www.change.org/freeGhadanfar
This petition addresses the United Nations and calls on human rights organizations like Amnesty International to take a stand for Ghadanfar’s freedom.
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!