As 2022 dawns, Hisham Abu Hawash on 138th day of hunger strike

Hisham Abu Hawash, Palestinian hunger striker detained by the Israeli occupation, is now on his 138th day of hunger strike. As the world prepares to welcome the new year, 2022, Abu Hawash faces a risk of death or permanent organ damage at any moment. His hunger strike continues as his fellow administrative detainees have confirmed they will collectively boycott the Israeli military courts beginning on 1 January 2022.

Abu Hawash, 40, married and the father of five children (Hadi, Mohammed, Izz al-Din, Waqas and Saba), launched his hunger strike on 17 August 2021 to demand an end to his administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial. Throughout his strike, he was repeatedly transferred back and forth between the Ramle prison clinic — notorious among Palestinian prisoners for medical neglect and negligence — and brief visits to civilian hospitals. The Israeli occupation avoided “suspending” his administrative detention until the last possible moment; now, in a very severe health condition, he is continuing his hunger strike while he is held in the Israeli Assaf Harofeh civilian hospital.

He suffers from blurry vision, inability to speak, severe muscle atrophy and cannot move; his awareness and perception of events around him have decreased significantly. He is visibly emaciated and suffering from extreme pain, continuing to refuse food for freedom. The Israeli occupation is entirely responsible for the life and health of Hisham Abu Hawash, now in great danger after nearly four months on hunger strike.

Because his detention was suspended on 26 December 2021, Abu Hawash can receive visitors, including his children and supporters from occupied Palestine ’48. However, he cannot leave the hospital or be transferred to a Palestinian hospital. Therefore, he remains in fact a prisoner and refuses to stop his hunger strike — because, as soon as his health improves, the Israeli occupation authorities will reimpose his administrative detention.

His family and fellow Palestinian prisoners have urged action to free Abu Hawash. In Berlin, Samidoun Deutschland took to the streets on New Year’s Eve, with fireworks all around, to highlight the case of Abu Hawash and demand his immediate release.

Abu Hawash has been jailed without charge or trial since 27 October 2020, with his detention repeatedly extended. While his legal appeals have been repeatedly dismissed, his detention was once again extended for four months while he was on hunger strike. The Israeli occupation also refused to confirm that it would not be renewed again. In multiple arrests, he has spent 8 years in total in Israeli occupation prisons, 52 months of that time without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Abu Hawash’s case exemplifies exactly why over 500 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention have announced that they will launch a collective boycott of the Israeli military courts and appeals courts beginning on 1 January 2022, as the court system only gives a veneer of legitimacy to an illegitimate regime.

Currently, approximately 500 out of the 4,550 Palestinian political prisoners are jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Administrative detention orders were first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and were later adopted by the Zionist project to target Palestinians. These orders are issued for up to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable; consequently, Palestinians are jailed for years at a time without charge, trial or even knowing when or if they will be released.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to save the life of Hisham Abu Hawash and support all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. He is confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines, his life and health at risk at every moment, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end. Organize actions to support Abu Hawash and his fellow political prisoners, including during the Week of Action to Free Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian Prisoners from 15-22 January 2022. 

Administrative detention — like the entire Israeli prison system — is a colonial weapon intended to target Palestinian resistance and isolate the leaders of the Palestinian people’s struggle. End administrative detention; free all Palestinian prisoners! 

Statement of Administrative Detainees on the Boycott of Israeli Occupation Courts:

Continuing the determined national efforts to put an end to the unjust practice of administrative detention against the Palestinian people by the occupation forces, and within the framework of intensive consultations conducted by the prisoners’ movement across its full spectrum to organize a large movement, through a program of national struggle in which administrative detainees have participated in all areas, prisons and detention centers,

Continuing the previous steps taken by the administrative detainees to confront this arbitrary policy and unjust detention, and whereas the Israeli military courts are an important part of the occupation’s systemic efforts to suppress all the active forces of our people, to besiege, loot and confiscate every Palestinian right, including the Palestinian right to freedom, these courts are a barbaric racist tool that consumed hundreds of years of the lives of their children. Our people are under the hammer of administrative detention, through farcical sham courts, the results of which have been pre-established by the military commander of the region. This policy is being carried out against children, women, elders, sick and ill people, and the general population.

The cadres and activists of the Palestinian people are imprisoned under flimsy justifications with the goal of breaking the will and consciousness of our people.

Accordingly, we, the Administrative Detainees’ Committee, representing all administrative detainees in the occupation prisons, and in coordination with all of the organizational bodies of the national and Islamic factions, announce the following:

First: Launching our project for a comprehensive boycott of the occupation military courts for administrative detention, starting from the date of 1 January 2022 at all levels (initial, appeal, high court) under the slogan: “We have decided on freedom — no to administrative detention.”

This campaign will launch with coordination with the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, the Prisoners’ Society and other relevant institutions, a binding and general step, and we call on all legal institutions and lawyers to support us in our step through boycotting these courts in relation to administrative detention, with reference to the legal front of this framework.

Second: We call upon our free and proud Palestinian people in all areas of their presence, their forces and national and Islamic factions, student, labor and professional unions, and various movements to fully prepare to support our project as a national project that aims to repel the attack of the occupier and lift its oppressive hand of administrative arrest, which now targets any popular movement, expression or position opposing the occupation.

Third: What our people can do through their united struggle, formulating a comprehensive program of support, is what can guarantee victory for any battle, including what can be done through the media and social media, and pursuing all legal and media routes, in addition to highlighting this project in all national and popular movements with your effective support.

Fourth: Our message to all free peoples and democratic forces of the world, to all nations of the world and international and human rights institutions: Support our just cause, stop the guillotine of administrative detention on our necks, and besiege the occupier and its officers and judges of death in its unjust military courts.

Fifth: The project of our comprehensive boycott of the courts begins in a strategic form, in which we will build upon all efforts that have been made over the years and over the coming months, preparing towards a collective open hunger strike in the event that the occupier does not respond to our just demands in accordance with the norms of international law.

Our decision is freedom — no to administrative detention!

Administrative Detainees’ Committee

20 December 2021