Six Palestinian prisoners are facing an increasingly urgent health crisis as they continue their hunger strike to end administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Kayed Fasfous, Miqdad Qawasmeh and Alaa al-Araj have all been hospitalized after 85, 78 and 60 days of hunger strike, respectively, and both are pledging to continue their hunger strikes until they obtain their freedom. They are joined by Hisham Abu Hawash, striking for 52 days, Rayek Bisharat for 47 day and Shadi Abu Aker for 44 days.
While the Israeli Supreme Court “froze” the administrative detention of Miqdad Qawasmeh after the serious deterioration of his health after 77 days of the university student’s hunger strike, his hunger strike is continuing. Qawasmeh, 24, has refused to end his strike until he achieves freedom. “Freezing” administrative detention does not end administrative detention; instead, this is often another form of pressure to end a Palestinian prisoner’s hunger strike without assuring their freedom. In fact, if administrative detention is “frozen” due to health conditions, as soon as the detainee becomes well again, their imprisonment without charge or trial will be re-imposed.
In a statement from Kaplan Hospital, Miqdad Qawasmeh declared: “I do not accept the decision to freeze my detention…I want to return to my family. I will continue the hunger strike, and I demand my rights.” emphasizing that his hunger strike will continue until freedom. While he may receive family or legal visits, he cannot be transferred or moved, because in reality, his detention is continuing.
Kayed Fasfous is also hospitalized as his health has deteriorated dramatically as he nears three months of hunger strike. He has been repeatedly transferred back and forth between Soroka hospital and the Ramle prison clinic, putting his body under even more stress after 85 days without nutrition. He was hospitalized as the Ofer military court rejected his lawyer’s appeal of his administrative detention yet again.
Alaa al-Araj is also hospitalized after 60 days of hunger strike; in his case, the Israeli military prosecution have even refused the “freeze” of his administrative detention. Lawyers are also challenging Kayed Fasfous’ and Rayek Bisharat’s detention without charge or trial. Held in the Ramle prison clinic, Bisharat’s health is also deteriorating rapidly. he requires a wheelchair to move and has lost significant weight.
The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a statement of concern about the lives of Fasfous and Qawasmeh, a statement that came after extensive campaigning by Palestinians inside Palestine as well as global social media campaigns imploring the ICRC to act on its responsibilities. “The ICRC doctor has been visiting both detainees, Kayed Nammoura (Fasfous) who has been on hunger strike for 82 days and Miqdad Qawasmeh who has been on hunger strike for 75 days, and closely monitoring their situation. We are concerned about potentially irreversible consequences of such prolonged hunger strike to their health and life,” said Robert Paterson, ICRC health delegate.
Manu Pineda, Member of European Parliament and Chair of the Delegation on relations with Palestine, emphasized his urgent concern for their lives in a statement:
“The striking prisoners are in administrative detention and therefore have been denied their right to a fair and free trial. Thus, I want to stress that it is imperative that the Israeli authorities put an end to the systematic practice of administrative detention in line with the EU position ‘against the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charges’ and ‘that detainees have the right to be informed about the charges and any detention, must be granted access to legal assistance, and be given a fair trial within a reasonable time or be released’. To this end, I urge HRVP Joseph Borrell to use all diplomatic means at his disposal in support of the Palestinian hunger strikers.”
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 85 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 78 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 60 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 52 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.
- Rayek Sadeq Bisharat, 44, from Tubas, on strike for 47 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 44 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/
Join the Social Media Campaign!
There is a growing social media campaign to #SaveKayed #SaveMiqdad and #FreeThemAll. Use these hashtags and the social media action sheet to post on Twitter and Instagram. Post in all languages! Many people have been conducting online hunger strikes in solidarity with the prisoners. Take action and join the social media outrage and break the isolation imposed upon them by the Israeli occupation!
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!
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, 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!