Palestinian prisoners are rising up behind bars in Zionist prisons to confront administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Out of nearly 5,000 total Palestinan political prisoners, approximately 1,132 are held without charge or trial under indefinitely renewable administrative detention orders, the largest number of administrative detainees in 20 years.
Five prisoners are on hunger strike to end their administrative detention, while dozens more are launching protest steps against the prison administration. Kayed Fasfous — former long-term striker who previously won his freedom through a hunger strike — has been on hunger strike for five days, joining Saif Qassem Hamdan, Osama Maher Khalil, Qusay Jamal Khader and Salah Rafaat Rabaya, who have been on hunger strike for 9 days.
Saif Hamdan, 27, is from Barqa in Nablus and has been jailed without charge or trial since 4 October 2022, after he was seized at a checkpoint near Barqa. Held in Nafha prison, his detention has been renewed three times already. A construction labourer, he is the father of five children.
Osama Khalil, 23, from al-Faraa refugee camp near Tubas, has been detained since 17 May 2022 and is also held in Nafha. His administrative detention has been repeatedly renewed since that time. He worked in tile workshops and a vegetable store prior to his arrest.
Qusay Khader, 24, from Al-Amari camp near Ramallah, has been detained since 14 December 2022. He is a former prisoner who previously spent 14 months in occupation prisons; he is a labourer in an aluminum factory. His detention has already been renewed three times.
Salah Rabaya, 22, from Maythaloon in Jenin, has been detained since 8 February 2023. He is a student at Khadouri University, majoring in sports and athletics, and works in a furniture store with his family.
Kayed Fasfous, 34, has been detained since 2 May 2023. Fasfous, whose four brothers are also imprisoned under administrative detention, has spent 7 years in the occupation prisons in total, 4 of them in administrative detention, after he was first detained in 2007. He is held in the Naqab desert prison. In late May and the beginning of June, he went on hunger strike for 9 days, which he ended with a promise to set a limit for hi detention. In 2021, Kayed Fasfous conducted a 131-day hunger strike; images of his emaciated body were widely circulated, in sharp contrast to his commitment to fitness and bodybuilding while free. Fasfous is married and a father of a daughter, Joanne. He has been denied family visits since his arrest in May.
These hunger strikes come amid an escalation in collective confrontation. On Thursday, 3 August, 16 Palestinian prisoners launched a series of protest actions in Ofer prison against the policy of administrative detention. This was followed by a statement by the Administrative Detainees’ Committees, announcing collective steps to challenge the escalating use of administrative detention.
On Saturday, 5 August, the administrative detainees delayed their entrance to and return from the prison yard and on Sunday, 6 August, returned two meals collectively. On Tuesday, 8 August, the prisoners announced that they would not go out to the prison medical clinics and would closed the laundries.
The statement affirmed:
“At a time when our people are subected to the most severe Zionist repressive and racist measures, including killing, land confiscation and systematic displacement, and as our peopl express their revolutionary will in the highest meanings of confrontation and steadfastness in their principled adherence to their land, identity, freedom and dignity, we, the administrative detainees in the prisons of the oppressive colonial occupation, are exposed to the worst forms of arbitrary detention and suffering through our continuous detention that contradicts the most basic human rights and provisions of international law. This detention is practiced by their security services against the fighters of our people and our social activists, with the aim of subjugation and submission, and as an individual and collective punishment to inflict even greater harm upon us and our families under the pretext of the ‘secret security file’ and the hypothetical ‘danger to the security of the region.'”
“The policy of invasion and retaliation pursued by their security services against us, which we have witnessed in the recent period, is represented by the increase in our numbers, as our number has reached more than 1,200 administrative detainees, a number that has not been reached for 20 years, and the intensive renewal of detention orders for the majority of us in the recent period, as well as the arrest of women, children, the sick and the elderly, and the adoption of a revolving door policy that takes us out of administrative detention only for a short respite that does not exceed the one or two months that many of us spend outside the prison.”
“We are confronting this reality that has been going on for decades, where the state of emergency has been turned into a permanent and continuous state, in which the Zionist judicial system is used to legitimize this kind of arbitrary detention in order to subjugate us and attack our freedom and our lives. Many of us have spent more than 10 years and some have exceeded 15 years in detention.”
“Based on all this and our long experience in struggle and previous battles of confrontation, and after we have exhausted all means of dialogue and messages to many parties, as we did not find any listening ears to our demands, nor did we receive any positive reactions that put an end to our ongoing tragedy, we, the administrative detainees, of our various national orientations and paths, and from all factions in the prisons, demand that we proceed with our protest steps within the framewor of the open, escalating and comprehensive program of confrontation in response to this criminal policy. So that our confrontation is not seasonal, intermittent or a mere reaction, it was agreed in Ofer Prison as a preliminary start on a series of collective steps, which include open disobedience, mass exit from the cells, hunger strikes in limited batches, protests and delays in returning from and going to the yard, returning medicines, and refusing to deal with the clinics, which will extend to the rest of the prisons at the appropriate time. Based on developments and how we are dealt with, we will determine the appropriate time for the strategic step represented by the collective open hunger strike. Accordingly, on Thursday 3 August 2023, a group of administrative detainees in Ofer prisons will remain in their cells, which will be followed by many steps in the coming days, including sit-ins in the prison yards and the return of meals, all conducted under the supervision and direction of the Administrative Detainees’ Committee in the prisons of the Zionist occupation, and in coordination with the Higher National Emergency Committee of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement, to approve the program of national confrontation against administrative detention, with a national document of honour to express our united joint work.”
“As we raise our voice in rejection of this racist policy holding us hostage in detention, we look forward to the active, responsible role of our people and their activities from all popular and official sides, to join their efforts in our steps of struggle to support us in this battle. Our victory in this battle will enhance our confidence in our national and collective action and will open the door to other victories. Together, we will be able to expose these criminal measures and bring the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court, and we will remain loyal to the path of steadfastness and sacrifice.”
There are 18 child prisoners held in administrative detention and three women. In the past year, the occupation has issued 1608 detention orders, including 813 new orders and 795 renewal orders. Administrative detention orders are being issued on a near daily basis; on Monday, 7 August, occupation forces renewed the detention of Raghad Shamroukh from Dheisheh camp for four months; Ghassan Karajah from Safa village for four months; Abdel-Rahman Jarrar from Jaba for 4 months; and Nazih Abu Aoun, all of these for the third or fourth time consecutively. On 3 August, they renewed the detention of child prisoner Jamal Brahma, 17, for the second time for a new four-month period, and Bahaa Imad Qaadan, fom Tulkarem, was ordered to 6 months in detention after being seized from his home on 12 July 2023.
What Is Administrative Detention?
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.
There are currently approximately 1132 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of nearly 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners, the highest number in 20 years.
Administrative detention orders are issued by the military and approved by military courts on the basis of “secret evidence”, denied to both Palestinian detainees and their attorneys. Issued for up to six months at a time, they are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians — including minor children — can spend years jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Hundreds of Palestinians have gone on hunger strike to win their liberation from this form of arbitrary detention, which is not only illegal under international law but a form of psychological torture and collective punishment targeting Palestinian families and communities, as detainees are unable to predict or plan for their release.
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. These sons of the Palestinian popular masses are confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines behind bars, with their bodies and their lives, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end. With over 1100 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial — over 20% of all Palestinian prisoners — the struggle to bring down administrative detention is more urgent than ever. Take these actions below to stand with the hunger strikers and the struggle for liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea!
Download these signs for use in your campaigns:
- Poster/Sign: End Administrative Detention
- Poster/Sign: Free Hunger Strikers and All Prisoners
- Poster/Sign – End Administrative Detention (with Palestinian Flag)
Protest at the Israeli Embassy or Consulate in Your 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. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine! Send us your events at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take to the streets: Organize a protest in solidarity with Palestine!
Take to the streets and join actions for justice! Organize your own if there is none in your area, and send us your events at email@example.com.
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.
Demand Your Government Sanction Israel!
The racist, settler colonial state of Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinian people are enabled and backed extensively by the over $3.8 billion each year given to Israel by the United States — targeted directly to support the Israeli occupation military killing children, women, men and elders throughout occupied Palestine. From Canada to Australia to the European Union, Western governments and imperialist powers provide ongoing diplomatic, political and economic support to Israel as well as selling billions of dollars of weaponry to the settler-colonial state. Meanwhile, they also purchase billions of dollars in weaponry from the Israeli state. Governments in league with imperialist powers, such as in the Philippines, Brazil, India and elsewhere, also buy weapons and “security” services — all “battle-tested” on the Palestinian population. Call your representatives, MPs, political officials and demand your government sanction Israel now, cut off all aid, expel its ambassadors, and stop buying and selling weapons!