Palestinian prisoner Louay al-Ashqar suspended his hunger strike after 49 days with an agreement to set a specific date for the end of his administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial. Hisham Abu Hawash, on hunger strike for 104 days, and Nidal Ballout, on hunger strike for 30 days, are continuing to refuse food to demand their freedom and an end to the system of administrative detention.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Louay al-Ashqar — whose brother Mohammed was previously murdered by Israeli occupation forces in the Negev desert prison in 2007 — on his steadfastness and victory over the jailer. We urge all supporters of Palestine to continue to organize to free the hunger strikers and all Palestinian prisoners subjected to the colonial regime of Israeli occupation. Join us on 1 December 2021 for the Day of Action to Free Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike for in-person and online actions for justice, freedom and liberation!
Al-Ashqar, 45, is from Saida near Tulkarem; he has been jailed without charge or trial since 5 October 2021 and launched his strike immediately after an administrative detention order was imposed upon him. He is paralyzed in his left leg after being tortured by Israeli occupation forces during a previous arrest in 2005, and he is married and the father of eight children. He has spent approximately 8 years in Israeli prison; during his strike, he was transferred to the Jalameh interrogation center as another form of pressure upon him, as it is widely considered one of the worst prisons, with conditions incompatible with human life.
Meanwhile, Hisham Abu Hawash has continued his hunger strike for 103 days. Despite his rapidly deteriorating health condition, occupation forces have contnued to confine him in the notorious Ramle prison clinic, well-known among Palestinian prisoners and their families for medical neglect and mistreatment of detainees. Like his fellow hunger strikers, he has been transferred to outside civilian hospitals on several occasions, only to be returned to the Ramle prison; this process puts further physical and psychological pressure on the hunger striker, in an attempt to force him to end his strike.
Abu Hawash, 39 and from Dura, outside al-Khalil, has been jailed without charge or trial since October 2020. Three consecutive administrative detention orders have been issued against him, the most recent after he had already launched his strike. While the six-month order was reduced to four months, it was explicitly confirmed to be open for renewal, compelling Abu Hawash to continue his strike. He is married and the father of five children.
Nidal Ballout, 27, from Bani Naim in al-Khalil district, has been on hunger strike for 30 days. While he has gone without food for a full month since his detention on 29 October, his lawyer only learned of his hunger strike days ago. Ballout had been prohibited from receiving a legal visit since his arrest; he had been subject to a harsh “military” interrogation during this time. After the Israeli occupation jailers failed to coerce a confession from him despite extending his interrogation for 28 days, his family reported that he had been transferred to administrative detention without charge or trial by an Israeli military court.
He is married and the father of two children; he was previously arrested by the Israeli occupation twice in the past. He was injured in 2013 when he was last arrested and continues to suffer stomach, back and head pain; he is being held in the Israeli occupation Ofer prison.
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.
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!
- Join the day of action on 1 December!As Palestinian political prisoners continue their hunger strikes in defiance of their illegitimate imprisonment by the Zionist occupation, National Students for Justice in Palestine, The Palestinian Youth Movement, IDOC Watch and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network call on all individuals and institutions committed to Palestinian liberation affirm their solidarity with the striking prisoners and demand an end to the colonial systems of administrative detention and military courts!
Take two actions:
- Join the social media day of action on 1 December! Start Tweeting and posting on Instagram with the hashtag #FreeThemAll at 10 am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern, 7 pm central Europe, 8 pm Palestine.
- Take the salt water challenge! Gather with your comrades, organizations, colleagues and friends to sip salt and water (symbolizing the salt and water Palestinian hunger strikers rely on) together. We’ll provide a script for you to read. You can even do it alone and post the video on your social media — or gather together for a protest action!