Palestinian detainee Thaer Halahleh sponsors school uniforms for children in Gaza

Palestinian administrative detainee Thaer Halahleh, who has conducted long-term hunger strikes to win his freedom from past imprisonment without charge or trial, sponsored school uniforms for 27 children in the central governorate of Gaza, Palestine, as children and youth head back to school for the new academic year. The uniform sponsorship from prison comes only days after Halahleh, 44, was ordered to another three months of arbitrary detention without charge or trial.

A committee distributing school bags and uniforms to students said that Halahleh dedicated this charitable initiative to the memory of the martyr Ali Halahleh, and to the leading martyrs of the Palestinian resistance and the Al-Quds Brigades of the battles of the Unity of the Fields and the Revenge of the Free in 2022 and 2023, as well as to the assassinated leader Baha’ Abu al-Ata, who “always supported the prisoners and stood by their just cause.” 27 students from the central governorate received uniforms through Halahleh’s initiative, which benefited impoverished students, orphans and memorizers of the Qur’an.

Halahleh, married and a father, was seized from his home in the town of Kharas, northwest of al-Khalil, on 7 June 2022 by Israeli occupation forces, only a year after his release from his last detention, when he was jailed for 14 months without charge or trial. He was issued a six-month detention order, another six-month detention order, a three-month detention order and now another three-month detention orders. These detention orders are issued on the basis of a “secret file” that is denied to both the detainee and their lawyer. There are currently over 1200 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial out of 5,100 total Palestinian prisoners in Zionist jails, a massive increase in the number of administrative detainees.

Administrative detention orders are issued for up to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable. It was first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist project, where it is routinely used to target influential Palestinians and community leaders. There are currently seven Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike against administrative detention and injustice behind bars, including Kayed Fasfous, Sultan Khallouf, Osama Daqrouq, Abdel-Rahman Baraqa, Islam Bani Shamsa, Hassan Jaradat and Maher al-Akhras. (Like Halahleh, Kayed Fasfous, Sultan Khallouf and Maher al-Akhras are all former long-term hunger strikers who won their freedom in the past through their challenges to administrative detention.)

Halahleh is a prominent leader in the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, and he has spent approximately 15 years in occupation prisons, 11 of those in administrative detention without charge or trial. He was one of the hunger strikers who launched his 77-day strike in 2012 shortly after the victory of Sheikh Khader Adnan in his first major hunger strike against administrative detention. During his strike, he released a moving letter to his daughter Lamar. Khader Adnan’s life was taken on 2 May 2023 after 86 days of hunger strike against his detention; he was deliberately denied medical treatment after setting an example of winning his freedom four times through long-term hunger strikes.