RAMALLAH, Saturday, August 27, 2022 (WAFA) – Khalil Awawda and two other Palestinian administrative detainees in Israel continue in their open-ended hunger strike demanding an end to their illegal incarceration without charge or trial, according to Palestinian prisoners’ advocacy groups.
Awawda, 40, a father of four children from the town of Idna, in the south of the West Bank, who has been in administrative detention since December 27 of last year, is currently on his 168th day of hunger strike despite a brief interruption in his fast after observing 111 days of non-stop hunger strike when a promise to end his detention in late June was quickly reneged prompting him to resume his hunger strike on July 2 and stay on it despite a military decision to freeze it but not end it.
Awawda’s lawyer and the advocacy groups have warned that after rejecting the freezing order, seen as a ploy to get him to end his strike so that he can recover before reinstating the administrative detention order, Awawda, currently kept at an Israeli hospital, is at risk of sudden death due to a critical deterioration in his health and great loss of weight.
Along with Awawda, the two siblings, Ahmad, 44, and Odal Mouse, 34, from the town of al-Khader, south of the city of Bethlehem, remain on their 20th day of hunger strike also demanding an end to their illegal administrative detention.
Ahmad, according to the advocacy groups, was transferred to Ramleh prison clinic, in central Israel, due to deterioration in his health as a result of the hunger strike, while his brother, Odal, is held at Ofer military camp and detention center near Ramallah.
Under administrative detention, prisoners are held without charge or trial and for an indefinite and renewable period of time. Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy which violates their rights and international law.
The use of administrative detention dates from the “emergency laws” of the British colonial era in Palestine. Israel uses administrative detention routinely as a form of punishment and frequently uses administrative detention when it fails to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.
According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, “Israel routinely uses administrative detention and has, over the years, placed thousands of Palestinians behind bars for periods ranging from several months to several years, without charging them, without telling them what they are accused of, and without disclosing the alleged evidence to them or to their lawyers.”
Administrative detention is the most extreme measure that international humanitarian law allows an occupying power to use against residents of occupied territory. As such, states are not allowed to use it in a sweeping manner, said the Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, recently outlawed and ordered to shut down by Israel along with five other Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations in order to prevent them from exposing Israel’s illegal measures in the occupied Palestinian territories.