Nine Palestinian political prisoners are continuing their hunger strikes for freedom inside Israeli occupation prisons. Three detainees striking to end their administrative detention – Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial — suspended their hunger strikes after extracting a concession to end their administrative detention and set a final date for their release. Mohammed A’mar, from Tulkarem; Amjad Nammoura, from Dura, near al-Khalil; and Fadi al-Amour, from al-Khalil.
At the same time, Ahmad Hamamra, who has gone without food for 17 days, was ordered once again to another six months in administrative detention by Israeli military officials as his strike continues. He has been detained without charge or trial for over one year, since 17 August 2020. He was previously jailed without charge or trial and participated in the 2017 collective hunger strike of thousands of Palestinian detainees.
Salem Zeidat and Mujahed Hamed have been on hunger strike for 36 and 34 days, respectively; they are held in the notorious Ramle prison clinic after the deterioration of their health. Kayed al-Fasfous has been on hunger strike for 33 days, while his brother, Akram al-Fasfous, has been on hunger strike for 12 days. Akram joined the strike after their third brother, Mahmoud, was forced to end his hunger strike after a serious deterioration in his health.
Rafat Darawish has been on hunger strike for 33 days, and is held in Ohli Kedar prison, while Miqdad Qawasmeh has been on hunger strike for 26 days. Qawasmeh is a university student who has been jailed without charge or trial since January 2021. Yousef al-Amer has been on hunger strike for 19 days, while Alaa al-Araj has gone without food for 9 days.
What Is Administrative Detention?
Administrative detention was first used in Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist regime; it is now used routinely to target Palestinians, especially community leaders, activists, and influential people in their towns, camps and villages.
There are currently approximately 540 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of 4,850 Palestinian political prisoners. These orders are issued by the military and approved by military courts on the basis of “secret evidence”, denied to both Palestinian detainees and their attorneys. Issued for up to six months at a time, they are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians — including minor children — can spend years jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.
On Wednesday, 11 August, Palestinians in Gaza protested outside the UN High Commission for Human Rights’ office in Gaza in support of the hunger strikers, demanding that international institutions carry out their responsibilities to protect Palestinian detainees and hold Israeli officials accountable in international courts.
Who Are the Hunger Strikers?
1. Salem Zeidat: from Bani Neim – Hebron, started the strike 36 days ago. Salem Zeidat is 40 years old and has been jailed without charge or trial since 22 February 2020; he is married andd the father of 5 children, held in the Negev Prison.
2. Mujahed Hamed: from Silwad – Ramallah, started the strike 34 days ago. He has been detained since 22 September 2020 and married with a son, who was only one month old when he was seized from his home; he is held in the Negev prison.
3. Kayed Fasfous: from Dura – Hebron, started the strike 33 days ago. He is 32 years old, detained without charge or trial since October 2020, and held in Ramon prison.
4. Rafat Darawish: from Dura – Hebron, started the strike 33 days ago. He is 28 years old, detained since October 2020 without charge or trial. He is married with one child and suffers from health problems; he is jailed in Ramon prison.
5. Miqdad Qawasmeh: from Hebron, started 26 days ago. Miqdad Qawasmeh is a Palestinian university student, 24 years old. He has been jailed without charge or trial since January 2021 and is held in Ofer prison.
6. Yousef al-Amer: Jenin, started 19 days ago. Yousef al-Amer is 28 years old, and previously launched a hunger strke against his administrative detention. He has been jailed since June 2020 and was sentenced to one year in Israeli prison; after his sentence ended, he was transferred to administrative detention in May 2021 rather than being released.
7. Ahmad Hamamra: from Beit Sahour, started the strike 17 days ago. He has been imprisoned without charge or trial since 17 August 2020 and previously participated in the 2017 collective hunger strike while detained.
8. Akram Fasfous: from Dura, al-Khalil (Hebron), launched his strike 12 days ago. He is the brother of Kayed Fasfous, on hunger strike for 28 days, and of Mahmoud Fasfous, who was previously on strike before suspending due to severe heatlh deterioration. He has been jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention since October 2020. He is 38 years old, married and the father of four children.
9. Alaa al-Araj: from Tulkarem, launched his strike 9 days ago. He has been jailed since 30 June without charge or trial under administrative detention and is held in Megiddo prison. He is 34 years old.