Pales­tinian set to end 55-day hunger strike


A Pales­tinian held with­out charges by Is­rael for the past year is end­ing a 55-day hunger strike and in ex­change will be re­leased in two weeks, his wife and an ad­vo­cacy group for pris­on­ers said Mon­day.

Rights groups have warned that Khader Ad­nan, 36, a se­nior ac­tivist in the mil­i­tant Is­lamic Ji­had group, is near death. His wife Randa said Mon­day, af­ter vis­it­ing her hus­band in an Is­raeli hos­pi­tal, that he lost a lot of weight and “looked like a small child.” She said he was un­able to hold their 15-month-old son.

Si­van Weiz­man of Is­rael’s Prison Au­thor­ity con­firmed that Ad­nan agreed to end his hunger strike as part of a deal, but had no de­tails. The Is­raeli mil­i­tary, which would be in­volved in any agree­ment to re­lease him, had no com­ment.

It marked the sec­ond hunger strike for Ad­nan whose protests have trained a spotlight on so-called ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion, a prac­tice un­der which Is­rael holds Pales­tini­ans with­out trial or charges.

In a pre­vi­ous stint in ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion in 2012, Ad­nan went on a 66-day fast to press for his free­dom, spark­ing weeks-long hunger strikes by hun­dreds of Pales­tinian de­tainees.

Un­der a deal reached late Sun­day, Ad­nan ends his hunger strike and will be re­leased July 12, said Kadoura Fares of the Pales­tinian Pris­on­ers’ Club, an ad­vo­cacy group.

Is­lamic Ji­had is a group that has been re­spon­si­ble for deadly at­tacks on Is­raelis. Last July, Ad­nan was given six months of ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion, fol­lowed by a four-month ex­ten­sion. When he re­ceived another four-month ex­ten­sion, he launched his hunger strike.

Is­rael says ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tions are an im­por­tant tool against Pales­tinian mil­i­tants. The Is­raeli rights group B’Tse­lem says Is­rael’s large-scale use of the prac­tice vi­o­lates in­ter­na­tional law which only per­mits it only in rare cases.

At the end of April, Is­rael held about 5,500 Pales­tinian se­cu­rity pris­on­ers, in­clud­ing 396 in ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion, ac­cord­ing to B’Tse­lem, which pub­lishes of­fi­cial fig­ures.

Af­ter a drop in 2012, fol­low­ing the mass hunger strike, the num­ber has been ris­ing again over the past year to monthly lev­els rang­ing from 363 to 473 ad­min­is­tra­tive de­tainees.

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