Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike: Severe health deterioration for Khalil Awawdeh and Raed Rayan

Khalil Awawdeh and Raed Rayan, Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention in Israeli occupation prisons, are continuing their hunger strikes for the 102nd and 67th days, respectively. They have been joined by four more Palestinian prisoners — Hani Bisharat, also jailed without charge or trial; Freedom Tunnel heroes Zakaria Zubaidi and Yaqoub Qadri; and resistance leader Abdullah Barghouthi. Their health situation is increasingly dire, and action and mobilization is needed to win their liberation! 

Free Khalil Awawdeh and Raed Rayan!

Awawdeh, 40, from Ithna near al-Khalil, has been repeatedly transferred back and forth between civilian hospitals and the Ramle prison clinic. In an attempt to pressure him to end his strike, Israeli occupation forces have put his body under further stress with frequent transfers in an attempt to force him to accept medical treatment, including nutrition, in exchange for keeping him in the hospital. He is experiencing severe joint pain, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, and must move using a wheelchair.

Awawdeh originally intended to pursue medical school abroad but enrolled in an engineering course in al-Khalil at Palestine Polytechnic University before his studies were interrupted in 2002. Jailed for five years by the Israeli occupation, he was released in 2007. Later that year, he was once again seized and held without charge or trial under administrative detention for nearly three years. He has since been repeatedly detained. He launched studies at economics at Al-Quds Open University, which were again interrupted on 27 December 2021, when he was thrown in administrative detention without charge or trial once again.

Awawdeh is the father of four daughters. On Sunday, 10 June, the people of Ithna announced a comprehensive strike in all business activities to show solidarity with him and call for his liberation, a strike joined officially by the Ithna municipality.

Rayan, 27, from Beit Duqqu near Jerusalem, has continually been held in solitary confinement in Ofer prison in another effort to pressure him to end his hunger strike by denying a proper medical environment. He is severely fatigued and vomits water after drinking it, and must move in a wheelchair.

Palestinian Prisoners Join the Hunger Strike

Hani Bisharat, also jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, launched his own hunger strike 20 days ago to demand his liberation.

Zakaria Zubaidi, one of the six Freedom Tunnel heroes who liberated themelves from Gilboa prison in September 2021, has been on hunger strike for 13 days in solidarity with Awawdeh and Rayan.

Two more Palestinian prisoners have joined open-ended hunger strikes against ongoing mistreatment and repression inside occupation prisons. Yaqoub Qadri, another of the six heroes of the Freedom Tunnel, is on hunger strike for the 11th day against repressive actions against him by the Ohli Kedar prison administration, reported the Muhjat al-Quds organization. The repressive measures include a ban on family visits, the closing of his “canteen” (prison store) account and the removal of electricity from his isolation cell. His room is invaded every three days and ransacked by repressive special units in addition to daily inspections, and the room is infested with cockroaches, mosquitoes and bedbugs, Qadri said, calling for action.

Abdullah Barghouthi, 50, one of the most prominent prisoners and a leader in the Palestinian resistance, is on his fourth day of hunger strike after he was barred from family visits and moved into isolation.

The Collective Struggle Against Administrative Detention

Awawdeh, Rayan and Bisharat are all jailed without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention. Administrative detention orders are issued on the basis of secret evidence denied to both the Palestinian detainee and their lawyer and are indefinitely renewable. As a result, Palestinians are jailed for years at a time without ever being charged or tried – even in the illegitimate military courts – or even knowing when or if they will be released.

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.

All 600 administrative detainees — out of approximately 4,500 Palestinian political prisoners in total — are engaged in a collective boycott of the occupation military courts in rejection of the illegitimate policy of administrative detention. The complete boycott was launched by Bashir al-Khairy, 80, Palestinian lawyer, leftist and longtime leader, who announced his own boycott of the military courts upon his detention without charge or trial, leading to the collective protest that has been ongoing since January 1, 2022, for 163 days.

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 Social Media Campaign!

There is a growing social media campaign to #FreeRaed and #FreeKhalil. Use these hashtags and to post on Twitter and Instagram. Post in all languages!  Take action and join the social media outrage and break the isolation imposed upon Raed and Khalil by the Israeli occupation! Follow the Instagram accounts of their campaigns to Free Khalil and Free Raed

Protest in your city or 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. Or take to the streets in your neighborhood, on your campus or at a government building in your area. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine! Send us your events at Demonstrations have already been organized in Montreal, London, Manchester, Paris, Toulouse, Berlin and elsewhere.

Boycott Israel!

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.

Use these Posters and Signs:

Spread awareness by posting these signs and posters in your community or carrying them during your demonstrations: