Despite deteriorating health, six Palestinian prisoners are continuing their open hunger strikes to demand their liberation from Israeli occupation prisons. All six of them are jailed without charge or trial under Israel’s “administrative detention” mechanism, and they are facing increasingly serious health situations, especially as Kayed Fasfous has now gone without food for 73 days. His fellow hunger strikers have also been on lengthy strikes: Miqbel Qawasmeh, imprisoned university student, on strike for 66 days; Alaa al-Araj for 48 days; Hisham Abu Hawash for 40 days; Raik Bisharat for 35 days; and Shadi Abu Aker for 32 days.
Meanwhile, Amin Shweiki, 61, also jailed without charge or trial under administration, has refused to take his insulin injections, demanding he be released. As reported by Al Jazeera, “Amin, a UK graduate in civil engineering, is one of the 520 Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention, a policy that allows the Israeli police and military to imprison Palestinians indefinitely, on ‘secret information’, without presenting them with formal charges or allowing them to stand trial – laws that originate from the British occupation of Palestine.”
Shweiki, father of seven children and owner of a glass shop in the Old City of Jerusalem, has been jailed without charge or trial since 17 May. One day before he was expected to be released, a military court extended his detention for another four months, prompting him to launch his medical strike. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians have spent years jailed without charge or trial under these orders.
Shweiki, along with four fellow administrative detainees, has vowed to boycott the Israeli occupation military courts. Ahmed Abu Sundus, Yousef Qazzaz, Yaser Badrasawy and Ayed Dudin have all vowed that they will not receive medical treatment or go to the Israeli courts until they are freed from detention without charge or trial.
Meanwhile, the hunger strikers have continued their “battle of empty stomachs.” Fasfous had an appeal scheduled to be heard on 22 September, but it was postponed by the Israeli occupation court system until 30 September, despite the fact that Fasfous has gone without food for over two months and is facing serious health problems. Abu Aker, who has been on hunger strike for over a month, is being held in solitary confinement in a dirty and cramped cell with no windows in Ofer prison.
Qawasmeh, 24, is still held in the Kaplan hospital due to the severe deterioration in his health; he has a low heart rate, shortness of breath, blurred vision and pain throughout his body. He is unable to stand; while in the Israeli hospital, he is shackled to the hospital bed by his right hand and left foot. Inside the hospital room, three jailers are constantly present and eat in front of him in order to taunt him into ending his strike.
What Is Administrative Detention?
Administrative detention was first used in Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist regime; it is now used routinely to target Palestinians, especially community leaders, activists, and influential people in their towns, camps and villages.
There are currently approximately 520 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of 4,650 Palestinian political prisoners. These orders are issued by the military and approved by military courts on the basis of “secret evidence”, denied to both Palestinian detainees and their attorneys. Issued for up to six months at a time, they are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians — including minor children — can spend years jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Who Are the Hunger Strikers?
- Kayed Fasfous, 32, from Dura – al-Khalil, started his strike 73 days ago. He is 36 years old, detained without charge or trial since July 2020. He is married and the father of the daughter; his three brothers, Akram, Mahmoud and Hafez are also detained by the Israeli occupation (Akram and Mahmoud earlier joined the hunger strike.) Before he was arrested, he was working in Dura municipality and had recently returned to Hebron University to complete his computer science degree, which he was earlier unable to complete due to repeated arrests.
- Miqdad Qawasmeh: from al-Khalil, started 66 days ago. Miqdad Qawasmeh is a Palestinian university student, 24 years old. He has been jailed without charge or trial since January 2021 and is held in Ofer prison. He has previously spent around 4 years in occupation prisons over various arrests since 2015.
- Alaa al-Araj: from Tulkarem, launched his strike 48 days ago. He has been jailed since 30 June without charge or trial under administrative detention and is held in Megiddo prison. He is 34 years old and a civil engineer; he has been detained multiple times since 2013, including being held without charge or trial under administrative detention.
- Hisham Ismail Abu Hawash, 39, from Dura, al-Khalil, has been on hunger strike for 40 days. He has been jailed without charge or trial since October 2020 under Israeli administrative detention. Over multiple arrests, he has spent eight years in Israeli prisons. He is married and the father of four children; his youngest child suffers from kidney failure.
- Raik Sadeq Bisharat, 44, from Tubas, on strike for 35 days, has been jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention since July 2021. He is an injured former prisoner and has spent 9 years in Israeli prison. His hand was amputated and his wife was martyred by the Israeli occupation.
- Shadi Abu Aker, 37, from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, has been on hunger strike for 32 days to reject his administrative detention. He has been jailed without charge or trial since October 2020. Married and the father of two children, he is a former prisoner who spent 10 years in Israeli prison before his release in 2012. He has since been held under administrative detention three times.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support these Palestinian hunger strikers and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. They are confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines, with their bodies and their lives, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end. Take these actions below to stand with the hunger strikers and 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 the petition!
Independent grassroots international activists have launched a petition in support of the hunger strikers and to end administrative detention. Show your support by signing on – in addition to taking action in person! Sign here: change.org/
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 email@example.com.
Take to the streets: Organize a protest in solidarity with Palestine!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, while many complicit corporations – including HP, G4S, Puma, Teva and others, profit from their role in support Zionist colonialism throughout occupied Palestine. By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism.
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!