Pales­tinian ends 66-day fast that tested Is­raeli poli­cies


A Pales­tinian held with­out charge by Is­rael ended his un­prece­dented 66-day hunger strike Thurs­day, his lawyer said, af­ter the Supreme Court or­dered him re­leased from de­ten­tion.

The de­ci­sion by Mo­hammed Allan to halt his fast ap­peared to avert a cri­sis over two con­tro­ver­sial Is­raeli ac­tions that threat­ened to un­leash Pales­tinian vi­o­lence as his health de­te­ri­o­rated.

Allan’s case tested a new Is­raeli law al­low­ing fast­ing in­mates to be force-fed, a mea­sure that many doc­tors say amounts to tor­ture. It also cast light on Is­rael’s use of ad­min­is­tra­tive de­ten­tion — the hold­ing of sus­pects in spe­cial cases for long pe­ri­ods with­out charge.

Allan, 31, ended his strike Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to his lawyer, Jamil Khatib, who added that his client was still in se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion in Barzi­lai hos­pi­tal in the south­ern Is­raeli city of Ashkelon. He said it could take sev­eral weeks to de­ter­mine how much Allan’s health was dam­aged by the pro­longed fast.

Allan, who lost con­scious­ness Aug. 14, was show­ing “great im­prove­ment,” said Dr. Hezy Levy. He had re­gained con­scious­ness Mon­day, and he was said to have suf­fered some brain dam­age as a re­sult of the fast.

“We took him off the res­pi­ra­tor. He’s no longer se­dated,” Levy said. “He is start­ing to com­mu­ni­cate and I am happy that med­i­cally he is on the right path.”

Levy said he hoped that Allan would soon start eat­ing again on his own. Allan’s body can­not yet process food af­ter such a pro­longed fast.

Dur­ing his hunger strike, Allan was not force-fed, which en­tails in­sert­ing a feed­ing tube into his stom­ach. He was, how­ever, given in­tra­venous flu­ids, vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents as his con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated.

Allan was now “a free man,” Khatib said, adding that he does not be­lieve Is­rael would re­new Allan’s de­ten­tion pe­riod when it ends Nov. 3.

The Supreme court sus­pended the de­ten­tion or­der Wed­nes­day, re­leas­ing Allan while he re­ceives med­i­cal care. The court did not spec­ify what would hap­pen to Allan if he re­cov­ers, say­ing only he can pe­ti­tion for his re­lease if his con­di­tion im­proves.

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