Middle East Monitor / May 2, 2023
Palestinian detainee, Khader Adnan, died inside an Israeli prison on Tuesday after an 86-day hunger strike in protest of his detention, Anadolu News Agency reports.
The Israel Prison Service (IPS) said Adnan was found unconscious and was taken to hospital, but attempts to resuscitate him failed.
Adnan, 44, from the town of Arraba, west of Jenin, started his hunger strike on 5 February, to protest his detention by the Israeli authorities.
He was accused by Israel of membership in the Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, and support to “terrorism”. He had not been tried at the time of his death.
According to the Palestinian Prisoner Society NGO, an Israeli military court, last month, rejected a request by Adnan’s lawyer to release him on bail while he was on the 78th day of his hunger strike.
Adnan was repeatedly detained by Israeli forces and had staged multiple hunger strikes to protest his detention.
Searching for freedom
Adnan was a prominent member of Islamic Jihad group in the Occupied West Bank.
A father of nine, he became a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israeli detention policies.
“I am on a hunger strike to protest my arrest and the policy of administrative detention,” Adnan told Anadolu in an interview.
The policy of administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to detain anyone for six months without charge or trial, which can be extended indefinitely.
Adnan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Economic Mathematics, has been arrested at least 12 times since 2004, and held five hunger strikes. He spent a total of eight years in Israeli jails, mostly under administrative detention.
In 2004, Adnan staged a 25-day hunger strike.
In 2012, he went on a 66-day hunger strike in protest of his detention, forcing the Israeli authorities to release him. He staged similar hunger strikes in 2015 for 56 days, and in 2018, for 58 days.
He also staged a 25-day hunger strike in 2021 to protest his detention by Israel.
Adnan’s hunger strikes from prison became a rallying cry for Palestinians, who staged multiple rallies of support in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
According to Palestinian figures, there are 4,780 Palestinians held by Israel, including over 1,016 prisoners held under Israel’s administrative detention policy.
Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, accused Israel of assassinating Adnan.
“The [Israeli] occupation, its prison administration and judiciary have implemented a deliberate assassination against Sheikh Adnan by refusing to release him and neglecting him medically by keeping him inside prison despite his serious health condition,” Shtayyeh said.
The Palestinian Prisoner Society and the Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) also accused the Israeli Prison Service of “premeditated murder” of the Palestinian detainee.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, for its part, said it will take the issue of Adnan’s death in prison to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Last month, several Palestinian groups warned that Adnan would be at risk of “losing his life due to his serious health conditions.”