Khalil Awawdeh’s message to the world: “Our cause is just, regardless of the high price paid”

Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh, on his 180th day of hunger strike, issued a video message to the people of the world, where he speaks slowly and laboriously, with his emaciated body visible, highlighting the justice of the Palestinian cause:

“Oh, free people of the world, this suffering body, of which nothing remains but skin and bones, does not reflect a weakness and vulnerability of the Palestinian people, but rather is a mirror reflecting the true face of the occupation, which claims to be a ‘democratic state’, at a time when it holds a prisoner without any charges in the brutal administrative detention, saying with his body and his blood: No to administrative detention! No to administrative detention!

We are a people who have a just cause that will remain a just cause, and we will always stand against administrative detention, this injustice, even if the skin is gone, even if the bone deteriorates, even if the soul is gone.

Be assured, be confident, that we have the right and our cause is just, regardless of the high price paid.

Bless you and peace be upon you.”

The sight of Awawdeh’s frail body, almost a skeleton after six months of hunger strike, has prompted outrage and demands for action for his immediate release.

Awawdeh has pledged to continue his hunger strike until freedom. He is jailed without charge or trial under Israeli “administrative detention,” which is indefinitely renewable. The occupation military commander “suspended” his administrative detention while he is held in Assaf Harofeh hospital due to his severe medical condition — however, this detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, would be reimposed as soon as his health improves. Israeli occupation military courts have already denied Awawdeh’s appeals on multiple occasions, but have scheduled another hearing on Tuesday, 30 August in his case.

The Palestinian resistance and the prisoners’ movement as a whole — moving into a wide-scale confrontation, with the potential for an open hunger strike to begin 1 September — have identified Awawdeh’s struggle against administrative detention as a key priority. His situation has drawn growing international outrage and there is a demonstration scheduled today, 29 August, at 5 pm in Washington Square Park in New York City to demand his release:

Awawdeh is among approximately 700 administrative detainees out of nearly 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners in total; two brothers, Ahmad and Adel Musa, have now joined Awawdeh on hunger strike against their administrative detention for the past 22 days. Administrative detention orders are issued for up to six months at a time on the basis of alleged “secret evidence,” and they are indefinitely renewable. Originally introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate before being adopted by the Zionist regime, administrative detention orders are frequently used against community leaders and organizers, and there is a growing campaign to force an end to this policy.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to organize, speak out, protest and demand the immediate release of Khalil Awawdeh 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 80th day of Khalil Awawdeh’s strike while others report it as the 170th day. By saying 180 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.