Global support for Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan grows as a Mass Solidarity Hunger Strike is organized to rally against Israeli civil rights violations and civilian abuses. Protestors target illegal policies of administrative detention and urge international support to free dissidents from Israel’s prison Gulag
By Dezeray Lyn
Members of the Palestine solidarity organization the International Women’s Peace Service along with volunteers from countless other organizations, have announced a 24 hour solidarity hunger strike with Palestinian prisoner, 37 year old baker and father of 6, Khader Adnan.
Determined to turn the eyes of the world to the human rights crushing Israeli prison establishment’s system of administrative detention, as the clock strikes midnight on the morning of June 17th, global support will be made manifest in the way of supporters refusing everything but water along side Khader who has approached his 40th day of hunger strike. Click here for info.
Under the guise of security, the state of Israel, who is one of the world leaders in global arms dealing, has executed an unjust and international-law-violating system of detainment of Palestinians termed ‘administrative detention.’ In such a system; one that would not be tolerated if happening in many other corners of the planet, Palestinians are held without charge or trial for six month stretches and not privy to the ‘secret evidence’ that allegedly has prompted their detainment in the first place. In most cases the Palestinian prisoner, charged with committing no crime against any person- seemingly they are simply considered a threat to the settler state of Israel for support or membership in a political party that empowers the rightful struggle for an end to the illegal occupation of their land- is told on the final day of their six months in Israeli prison that their detention is being renewed for another six months.
These are human beings with families to support, lives to live and undeniable human rights that the global powers-that-be should have risen up long ago to protect the sanctity of as they have been continuously crushed on the wheel of Israeli ‘justice.’
Khader Adnan, currently chained by arm and leg to an Assaf Harofeh hospital bed, is under the round-the-clock watch of three armed ‘guards.’ The baker, described by his wife Randa as a warm family man, is enduring his tenth stint through the dehumanizing system of administrative detention; a stint that began with the ‘gleeful’ celebration of Israeli occupation force soldiers as they realized precisely who they were arresting.
Khader Adnan became a prominent figure for the advocacy of Palestinian prisoners- who as an occupied people are governed by more than 3,000 military orders- when he launched what ended in a 66 day perilous hunger strike during his 2011 imprisonment in Israeli administrative detention, a strike that came to be known as “the battle of the empty stomachs.”
The decision to release Khader came during the last moments of his six month detainment. The decision was made by Israel’s ‘High Court of Justice,’ whose stated reason for release was that no ‘new evidence’ against him had come to light. This statement infers that any evidence against him initially actually existed in the first place. Khader’s hunger strike launched mass action, mass prisoner solidarity hunger strikes, mass amounts of attention to the crimes that Israel quietly commits day by day while world leadership says nothing.
This is attention that the Israeli government would prefer not to bear the weight of though it enjoys near total impunity as it breaks international law as comfortably and prevalently as it breaks into Palestinian’s family homes in the middle of the night, dehumanizes them with hundreds of checkpoints and restrictions on their freedom of movement and executes daily rituals of mass resource theft and pillage to divert to its hundreds of illegal settlements scattered across the disappearing Palestinian landscape.
Khader’s most recent hunger strike began in early May and as he is nearing forty days, he is now entering a new and dangerous phase of the starvation process. His body is in sharp pain, he is vomiting, his vision is impaired and his condition has been deemed very critical.
Khader’s latest arrest by Israeli occupation forces came in July of 2014- a period of time during which the Israeli government launched a brutal bombardment of the besieged enclave of the Gaza strip. The term open air prison has been used widely to describe one of the most densely populated places on the face of the earth and whose population is blocked in by land, air and sea.
The people of Gaza endured a 51 day IOF executed- US government (and other complicit nations) funded mass murder that violently claimed the lives of over 2,200 Palestinians; hundreds of which were children, most of whom were civilians. It was in the tepid air of this tragic atmosphere that a father of six young children was arrested and thrown into prison. And if prisons exist for strong voices of resistance to the violation of human rights- where are the prisons for those who are perpetrating the violations?
The family continues the struggle for an end to Khader’s administrative detention, which is not currently set to expire until September of this year. In a Palestine Information Center piece published on Friday, Adnan’s family “slammed the Palestinian Authority’s continued silence and passive position towards the hunger strikers in Israeli jails.”
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the town of Araba in Jenin saw Palestinians converging in support of Khader and other Palestinian prisoners in a solemn vigil and march.
Khader Adnan, from both behind and before Israeli prison bars has played an impassioned role in Palestinian prisoner advocacy, including visiting hundreds of prisoners family homes during times of freedom. This is a freedom that has been mere punctuations between spans of jailing that, in all, have claimed over six years of Khader’s life. The criminality is shocking, but what is more shocking is that, while the US government was willing to topple the world to engage in the search for the crimes of storing ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that they knew didn’t exist, they cannot seem to find the glaring and brutal crimes that are sitting directly in front of their faces- crimes that they fund by the billions with US taxpayer money.
The mass neglect of the Palestinian people, who have suffered ongoing catastrophe for nearly seven decades allows for the current, violative system of administrative detention that Khader is starving in resistance of. This is to say nothing of the brutality that the Israeli government is executing against black African migrants and Ethiopian Jews who have come to Israel fleeing violence- only to be met with more violence by the anti assimilation regime.
Administrative Detention by the numbers. From a Voices of Palestine WordPress article on the Israeli practice of administrative detention:
At least 500 Palestinians are held in administrative detention in several Israeli prisons, including Ofer, Megiddo and Al-Naqab. These detainees are held without charge or trial, and often their detention is extended in the final minutes of their captivity, which increases their suffering and that of their families. Among the 500 administrative detainees, there are 12 MPs including the Speaker of the Palestinian Parliament.
During the first four months of 2015, 401 administrative detention orders were issued, mostly as renewals; distributed as follows: 109 orders in January, 89 orders in February, 121 orders in March, and 82 orders in April 2015. This constitute an increase of more than 600% compared to the same period last year, in which administrative detention orders amounted to 65 decision only, clearly indicating a increase in the number of Palestinians held captive by the Zionist entity.
Of the 401 orders, 92 administrative decision orders were new orders, 309 were renewals for different periods, constituting up to the 6th renewal for some prisoners, and ranging from two to six months.
Hebron has the largest share of these orders, amounting to 175. Additionally, in May 2015, 92 administrative detention orders were issued by the Israeli occupation authorities in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. Consequently, the number of administrative decision orders issued since the beginning of 2015 is 493 orders.
And if there is anything to be demonstrative of the Israeli government’s desire to quell Palestinian culture, liberation and empowerment, let it be the fact that currently 12 Palestinian members of parliament are in Israeli prison. This includes Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. A list of other currently imprisoned Palestinian members of parliament and summations of their cases can be found in this 972mag article. Click here.
Several other Palestinian prisoners have joined Khader on hunger strike. And, inspired by those in Gaza who stood before the International Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City on June 10th declaring a 24 hour solidarity hunger strike with Adnan, many across the world decided to launch a mass action to bring awareness to a crisis that is playing out in a vacuum.
Speaking to the demands of those fighting for Khader’s release, one of the organizers of the strike, a woman deemed a security threat to the state of Israel and banned from entering after being suspected of acting in a human rights capacity with the international Palestine solidarity organization the International Women’s Peace Service stated, “The people of the world are crying out for an end to Israel’s criminal system of detainment of Palestinians called administrative detention and for the immediate release of Khader Adnan.”
Khader’s struggle for the liberation of Palestinians resonates from his hospital bed to the minds and hearts of every human being concerned with the tragedies of injustice. Given Israel’s failure to live up to agreements that were made during Khader’s last hunger strike, it should serve as no surprise that he is again being chained to his hospital bed, which is a practice that a judge ordered the Prison Service to stop particularly in Adnan’s case during his 2012 hospitalization.
“This decision (to cease the chaining) came as a result of an appeal by two NGOs, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel and Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner-support and human rights NGO. PHR considers this decision to be a precedent, and notes it has been fighting the procedure of handcuffing prisoners in hospitals for years,” organizers said.
The moderator of the Khader Adnan Facebook support page called for international solidarity, saying, “All over the world you can conduct protests at Israeli embassies and try to make international consciousness about this strike through media and social media.”
The people of the world are rising up – even as world governments are not.
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