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.