Escalating struggle in the occupation prisons: Administrative detainees conduct solidarity strike with Kayed Fasfous as Ben Gvir raids Gilboa prison

The Palestinian prisoners’ movement is continuing to resist occupation attacks behid bars as Kayed Fasfous enters his 65th day on hunger strike. On Thursday, 5 October, the Israeli occupation’s Ofer military court yet again rejected Kayed Fasfous’ appeal against his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, even as his health has continued to deteriorate.

This came as thousands of Palestinian prisoners — including 1350 administrative detainees and 1280 prisoners of all factions in Ofer prison (including 410 administrative detainees) conducted a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with Fasfous, demanding his immediate release. Fasfous, 34, from Dura, previously won his freedom in a 131-day hunger strike in 2021. He is married and the father of a daughter, Jawan, and three of his brothers are also held under administrative detention without charge or trial.

The Palestine Center for Prisoners’ Studies issued a statement warning of the importance of highlighting Fasfous’ case, especially as the Zionist regime follows the strategy that it did with Sheikh Khader Adnan, who was martyred on 2 May after 86 days of hunger strike, denied access to a civilian hospital.

Fasfous is also being denied treatment at a civilian hospital while the occupation refuses to acknowledge his hunger strike; he was moved days ago to the notorious Ramle prison clinic, referred to as a slaughterhouse by the prisoners’ movement. He has lost 30 kilograms in weight, suffers from shortness of breath and severe pain throughout his body; he cannot stand without being supported. He refuses to take any kind of supplements in an escalation of his strike, the Center noted.

Since he began his hunger strike, Fasfous has been subjected to systematic mechanisms of coercion and repression amounting to torture, including being isolated in harsh conditions in Al-Naqab prison, repeatedly abused through searches of his cell, being deprived of a mattress for a long period of time. He was then transferred to isolation in Ashkelon prison and now to the infamous Ramle prison clinic, referred to as a slaughterhouse by Palestinian prisoners.

While Fasfous is appealing his administrative detention through the occupation courts, it is clear that the occupation courts are not a mechanism of justice but part and parcel of the system of colonial imprisonment. The military courts rubber stamp the orders of the Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence agency, at the expense of Palestinians jailed by the occupation. Palestinian prisoners have been working for years to institute a comprehensive boycott of the occupation courts and expose the fig leaf of pseudo-legality being imposed on arbitrary mass imprisonment.

On Tuesday night, notorious far-right Zionist Minister of Public Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is waging a campaign of attacks against the prisoners, personally joined a raid on prisoners in Gilboa prison, attacking the prisoners there and ransacking their rooms. The raid included the use of sound bombs inside the prison, in sections 1 and 3 of the prison, with the closing o all sections. The prisoners were subjected to this in order to further promote Ben-Gvir’s image on the racist, Zionist political scene.

On Thursday, 5 October, the prisoners began closing their sections and engaging in protest steps against Ben-Gvir’s escalation policies and in solidarity with Fasfous, as they intensify their resistance in response to the ongoing attacks.

There are currently 5,250 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons, including 1350 jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, 39 women and 170 children.

Administrative detention was first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and was adopted by the Zionist regime. Palestinians are routinely jailed for years at a time under repeatedly renewed detention orders issued for up to six months at a time. In the past year, the number of administrative detainees has more than doubled as part of the ongoing “war” on the prisoners’ movement.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support Kayed Fasfous 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.

It is particularly important to stand with the strikers and not let their cases be silenced — earlier this year, on 2 May, Sheikh Khader Adnan’s life was taken after 86 days of hunger strike while being actively denied medical care. He had previously won his freedom four times through hunger strikes. These Palestinian prisoners are putting their bodies, health and lives on the line for liberation.

With over 1200 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: