Mustafa Abu Sneineh
Middle East Eye / November 1, 2021
Miqdad al-Qawasmi and Kayed al-Fasfous have been on hunger strike for over 100 days protesting their imprisonment without charges or trial by Israel.
Several Palestinian political prisoners have been on hunger strikes in Israeli jails for more than 100 days as they protest against their administrative detention and harsh prison conditions.
Miqdad al-Qawasmi, a 24-year-old Palestinian from Hebron city, has been on hunger strike for 103 days protesting his administrative detention, a form of imprisonment without charge or trial imposed by Israel.
The highly controversial policy, used almost exclusively against Palestinians, allows for detention without charge or trial for renewable periods of three to six months, without the possibility of appeal or knowing what accusations are being levelled against the detained.
Many Palestinian prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes to protest against the policy.
In October, Qawasmi was admitted to the intensive care unit in Kaplan Medical Center following a deterioration in his health condition. His mother said then that “his limbs are as cold as ice with a pale face.”
Qawasmi has been arrested several times by Israel since 2015 and has spent four years in Israeli jails. His last arrest was in January from the city of Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank.
The university student has launched a hunger strike in the summer after Israel renewed his administrative detention.
In October, Israel froze Qawasmi’s administrative detention but did not eliminate it. Qawami’s family and his lawyer said that the Israeli decision meant that he was detained in the hospital instead of prison.
Jawad Boulous, Qawasmi’s lawyer, said that Israel Prison Service (IPS) and Shin Bet, the internal intelligence, have turned Qawasmi into an “unofficial prisoner” in a hospital watched by security guards and that Israel will disclaim any responsibility for Qawasmi’s life and “destiny.”
Though Qawasmi could receive visits in the hospital “under heavy security presence”, his family still cannot move him to his home, despite the Israeli decision to freeze his administrative detention, according to his lawyer.
100 days of hunger strike
Kayed al-Fasfous, a 32-year-old from Dura village near Hebron, has been on a hunger strike for 110 days in protest against Israeli administrative detention.
Fasfous has said that he will not cease his hunger strike until he is released to his home.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Sunday that Israel had issued a new six-month administrative detention sentence against Fasfous on Friday.
It added that Fasfous is currently being hospitalised in Barzilai Medical Center, and he suffers from body pain, fatigue and emaciation, and his memory is getting weaker.
B’Tselem, an Israeli group documenting human rights abuses against Palestinians, said in October that Fasfous “faces an immediate risk to his life”.
Fasfous, a bodybuilding champion in Dura and an avid sportsman, has lost 40 kilograms in weight since he launched his hunger strike on 15 July.
Khaled, his brother, told B’Tselem that “none of the family members is allowed to visit him”. Fasfous had also been arrested three times in the past by Israel and was held for five years in Israeli jails.
“Ever since I was growing up, our family has never been whole,” Khaled, his brother said. “We’ve never all gathered together around the dinner table. One of us is always locked up,” he said.
There are 4,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, 544 of them serving administrative detention.
Other Palestinian prisoners who launched hunger strikes against their administrative detention are Alaa al-Araj, who has been without food for 85 days.
Hisham Abu Hawwash has been on hunger strike for 76 days, Shady Abu Akar for 69 days, and Ayad al-Harimi for 40 days.
Louay al-Ashqar and Ratib Hreibat launched a hunger strike last month in solidarity with other prisoners, for 22 days and 24 days subsequently.
Mustafa Abu Sneineh – journalist, poet and staff writer at Middle East Eye