Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan is near death.
Adnan, a 33-year-old Palestinian, has been on a hunger strike since December 18 after he was arrested in a nighttime IDF raid on his home in the village of Arraba, Jenin. Khader has been held without trial and charged, without any evidence presented, of affiliation with Islamic Jihad.
Yesterday, an Israeli military court rejected Khader’s appeal. In his decision, Judge Moshe Tirosh disregarded Khader’s lawyers’ numerous arguments, including the lack of evidence that Khader Adnan has carried out any activities providing grounds for detention; that administrative detention is used in an arbitrary manner; and that affiliation to a political party is aligned with the right to freedom of expression, assembly and political association.
Judge Tirosh further dismissed Khader’s claim that he was subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment while in custody, adding that only Khader is to blame for his physical health deterioration and that his grave medical condition will not influence the court’s administrative detention decision.
And so Khader remains chained to his hospital bed by Israeli authorities, despite warnings that his death is essentially imminent. Human Rights Watch has called upon Israel to “immediately charge or release” Adnan – a demand Israel stubbornly continues to refuse.
Khader Adnan is but one of thousands of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel’s practice of arbitrary imprisonment According to a January 1 report by Addameer, a Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights NGO, there are currently 4417 Palestinians held as political prisoners, 310 of whom are being held in “administrative detention” without trial or formal charge.
In a recent op-ed, Ali Abunimah notes the appalling silence of the international community over Khader Adnan’s hunger strike – and Israel’s egregious practice of administrative detention in the West Bank:
Khader Adnan’s struggle reminds us that nonviolence is not the easy choice. It is often the harder one.
Yet the world is still failing to act. The Palestinian prisoner’s group Addameer undoubtedly spoke for many when it declared that it “holds the international community responsible for not taking action to save Khader’s life.” It demanded “that the European Union, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross intervene with Israel immediately before it is too late.”
And there has been silence too from prominent voices such Nick Kristof, the New York Times columnist famous for using individual stories to draw attention to human rights abuses around the world. In a 2010 column titled “Waiting for Gandhi,” Kristof scolded Palestinians for not adopting nonviolent tactics.
Of course Kristof was ignoring or simply ignorant of the rich history and present of such popular resistance in Palestine… Last Autumn hundreds of Palestinian prisoners spent weeks on hunger strike against punitive Israeli prison conditions, and many are on hunger strike now in solidarity with Adnan.
But if Kristof and others claim to be “waiting for Gandhi” why haven’t they spoken up for Adnan? After all it was Mahatma Gandhi himself who when repeatedly imprisoned by the British famously used hunger strikes to draw international attention to his people’s cause.
BTW: readers of this blog may remember the heartbreaking post I shared last December by Palestinian businessman Sam Bahour, who described the plight of his dear friend Walid Abu Rass. Abu Rass, Finance and Administration Manager for Health Work Committees (HRW) – one of the largest community health service providers in the occupied Palestinian territory – was taken from his home in front of his wife and two daughters at 1:30 am on November 22.
Here’s Addameer’s update on Walid’s situation:
Walid’s administrative detention (hearing) took place in two phases. In the first session, the military judge allowed Walid and his lawyer to be present in court with the prosecution. The second session was a closed session, during which Walid and his lawyer were not allowed to be present while the judge read the classified material on which his administrative detention is supposedly based. The judge claimed that this material contains trusted information that Walid is an activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and that administrative detention is the “only way to prevent the danger posed by the detainee.”
When the judge confirmed his administrative detention order on 1 December, Walid’s lawyer filed an appeal, emphasizing that Walid is an employee in a humanitarian institution providing necessary medical services to many individuals and that his detention negatively affects his work and beneficiaries. He noted that Walid’s previous arrests were also all based on classified material and vague reasoning and that there was never any proof or official charges made regarding his alleged PFLP activity. The appeal was rejected by the judge on 15 January 2012.Addameer believes that Walid’s detention is also connected to his work with the HWC and their support of the prisoners’ hunger strike launched on 27 September. The HWC actively coordinated solidarity events and other support of the prisoners during their 22-day hunger strike. Furthermore, as the hunger strike was initially launched by PFLP members in prison, this affiliation may cast light on why Walid has been accused by the military judge of being active in the PFLP.
Click here to sign a petition urging the International Committee of the Red Cross to take active steps to save Khader Adnan’s life “by applying pressure on the Israeli government to release him.”