After being rearrested, Palestinian restarts hunger strike

Middle East Monitor  / August 24, 2023

Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras has launched an open hunger strike in solidarity with ten fellow prisoners after his arrest yesterday by Israeli occupation forces, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS).

Fifty-two-year-old Al-Akhras, from the West Bank city of Jenin, launched a hunger strike in protest of being detained under administrative detention – without charge or trial.

Al-Akhras was previously arrested in 2018 and then again in 2020 during which he spent 103 days on hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention. He ended his hunger strike only after occupation authorities agreed to release him.

The ten other Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strike for nearly three weeks, they include eight administrative detainees, said the PPS. Among them are Sultan Khalouf and Kayed al-Fasfous, who have been on strike for 21 days, and Osama Daqrouq, who has been on strike for 17 days.

Mohammad Tayseer Zakarneh, Anas Ahmed Kamil, Abdul Rahman Iyad Baraka and Zuhdi Talal Abido have been on strike for 14 days, and 22-year-old Saif al-Din Dhiab al-Amarin from the town of Beit Awa has been on strike for four days.

Last week, nearly 1,000 Palestinian prisoners detained in a number of Israeli prisons launched an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the Israeli prison administration’s aggression against them, including the latest campaign of raids of their cells.

The Israel Prison Service (IPC) recently escalated the targeting of Palestinian prisoners with a campaign of raids, the latest against sections 3 and 4 in the Negev Prison, preceded by a break-in into section 26 several days ago in the same prison, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club and the Prisoners Affairs Authority said in a joint statement.

According to the statement, the prison administration also transferred several prisoners to Raymond Prison.

There are currently just under 4,800 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, including 160 children, 29 women and 914 being in administrative detention. The Israeli occupation authorities have issued or renewed 1,302 administrative detention orders since the start of the year.

Israeli officials claim that detention without trial is sometimes necessary to protect the identities of undercover operatives, however, human rights groups have said it is used to hold even peaceful activists.