#FreeKhalil Awawdeh: Administrative detention order “suspended” as Palestinian detainee continues 170th day of hunger strike, take action!

Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh’s administrative detention was suspended by the Israeli occupation military command on Friday, 19 August, due to his precarious health condition on his 170th day of hunger strike. While the suspension of an administrative detention order is not the end of imprisonment without charge or trial, it does mean that the hunger striking prisoner can receive family visits, visits from his lawyer and other advocates for prisoners in occupied Palestine ’48 and that photos and videos of him can reach the eyes and ears of the world, especially as he continues his strike for freedom.

The Zionist regime has attempted to avoid suspending his detention throughout his lengthy strike, but Awawdeh’s steadfastness and the commitment of the Palestinian resistance, particularly the armed resistance, to achieve his liberation, has broken down the attempt to slowly kill Awawdeh hidden from public view.

He will not suspend his strike without a clear end to his detention, because suspension is not the same as ending unjust imprisonment without charge or trial. Suspension has been used deceptively by the Israeli regime on numerous occasions in an attempt to coerce Palestinian detainees to end their hunger strikes only to reimpose an administrative detention order after their health improves. It is not the end of administrative detention nor the end of the struggle.  However, the period of suspension has been critical in the victories of Palestinian hunger strikers like Kayed Fasfous, Hisham Abu Hawash and Maher al-Akhras, by raising their visibility as they continue their strike and providing access to their families and loved ones as they struggle for liberation. This period has been extracted through struggle and sacrifice as Awawdeh continues to struggle for victory.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Awawdeh’s steadfastness and urges all to escalate their campaigns and actions to free Khalil Awawdeh and all Palestinian prisoners and bring an end to the system of administrative detention. Because suspending administrative detention is not Khalil’s liberation, our task is more urgent than ever. Now is the time to build on this achievement of the Resistance extracted from the occupier against its will and work to support victory and freedom for Khalil and his fellow detainees.

Awawdeh’s support page further announced that he will be released on 26 October, the end of his current administrative detention order, while cautioning that he will not end his strike without a clear victory for his freedom. This comes after multiple appeals against his imprisonment without charge or trial have been rejected by the occupation courts, and another hearing was scheduled this upcoming Sunday by the occupation’s high court to hear Awawdeh’s objections to being jailed without charge or trial.

Just yesterday, 18 August, Awawdeh’s lawyer, Ahlam Haddad met with him where he is held at Assaf Harofeh hospital, shackled to the bed despite his severe weakness after months without food. He is pale and listless and extremely cold. Despite this, the jailers surrounding his bed insist on very cold air conditioning in the room; his pushback to turn off the air conditioning leads to even more exhaustion. He has been completely immobile for a long time and it is difficult for him to speak or move at all. Nevertheless, he has remained fixated on freedom as the goal despite the immense sacrifice.

Ahlam Haddad, Awawdeh’s lawyer, told Palestinian media that he had prepared a message for her: “I went on strike for freedom, and I have sacrificed a lot for the dearest and strongest need, freedom…My abstinence from food is not a rejection of life, but rather a rejection of chains.”

Awawdeh, 40, from Idna near al-Khalil, is on hunger strike to bring an end to his imprisonment without charge or trial under Israeli “administrative detention.” He is married and the father of four daughters. He briefly stopped his strike on the 111th day, when he was told an agreement had been reached to secure his release.

Instead of releasing him, however, the occupation forces instead extended his detention, and he re-launched his hunger strike. Throughout the strike, he has been completely denied family visits and routinely denied legal visits. He was repeatedly transferred back and forth repeatedly between the notorious Ramleh prison clinic and Israeli civilian hospitals. This dire situation is a major reason his release has become a central demand of the Palestinian resistance.

Currently, around 650 Palestinians are jailed without charge or trial under these indefinitely renewable orders, out of approximately 4,650 Palestinian political prisoners in total. The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has identified ending administrative detention as a principal goal towards the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners. Administrative detention orders were first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and are routinely used by the Israeli regime to imprison Palestinian community leaders and influential figures, especially when they are unable to extract a confession under torture.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to organize, speak out, protest and demand the immediate release of Khalil Awawdeh, Bassam al-Saadi and all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons. 

Khalil Awawdeh is confronting the Zionist occupation forces with his body and life on the line. We urge action to free Awawdeh and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for themselves and for Palestine and its people, from the river to the sea.

A note on the strike dates of Khalil Awawdeh: Some media sites report that this is the 170th day of Khalil Awawdeh’s strike while others report it as the 160th day. By saying 170 days, we are following the lead of Awawdeh’s family and loved ones, who do not recognize and cannot confirm the interruption in his hunger strike when he was told an agreement had been reached for his release on 21 June. Both of these are valid dates and both emphasize the importance of urging his freedom. Notably, his family never confirmed a suspension or end of his hunger strike at that time. Instead, his administrative detention was extended and he officially reported resuming his strike to his lawyer on 2 July.

Download these distributable flyers and posters to highlight the case of Khalil Awawdeh and the struggle to free Palestinian prisoners:

1. Mobilize actions, demonstrations and creative interventions – Take to the streets to defend the Palestinian people and their resistance! As was made clear during the Unity Intifada/Seif al-Quds in May 2021, there is a vast depth of support for the Palestinian people everywhere around the world, including inside the imperialist powers. It is our responsibility to act and make it impossible to continue their support for the crimes against the Palestinian people.

2. Build the boycott of Israel – This is a critical moment to escalate the campaign to isolate the Israeli regime at all levels, including through boycott campaigns that target the occupation’s economic exploitation of the Palestinian land, people and resources as well as those international corporations, like HP and G4S, that profit from the ongoing colonization of Palestine.

3. Support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people – This aggression was an extension of the siege on Gaza that has been imposed on the resisting and steadfast Strip for over 15 years. The Palestinian people need economic, political and all forms of support to help sustain their steadfastness. To contribute to Samidoun’s drive in support of children’s health care in Gaza, make a donation at https://samidoun.net/gaza