Vigil in solidarity with Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan

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On Monday 13th February 2012, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign held a four hour day-time vigil outside the Israel Embassy in Dublin in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoner and hunger striker Khader Adnan.

This action took place on the 58th day of his hunger strike against his administrative detention (internment without trial) by, and physical abuse suffered at the hands of, the Israeli state. Khader was detained on 18th December 2012 and put in prison for four months (despite not being charged with anything). He immediately embarked upon a hunger strike in protest at the conditions and treatment faced by both himself and the over 4,440 other Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons. Physicians for Human Rights – Israel were today allowed to examine Khader, and reported that he remains shackled to his bed, his condition, “already at a life-threatening stage, continues to deteriorate” and he is “experiencing extreme pain.” It is clear that without intervention to secure his release, he will die soon.

Also today it was announced that Khader, had the appeal against his Administrative Detention denied on the basis of secret evidence not available to his lawyers. His claims of pyhsical abuse were dismissed out of hand. This is justice, Israeli Apartheid style.

Speaking at the vigil in Dublin today, IPSC Chairperson Martin O’Quigley, said that “of course, this case is not simply about Khader. What he is putting his life on the line for is the rights of all Palestinian political prisoners, who suffer brutal treatment under the Israeli prison regime. There are over 4,400 such prisoners, including more than 130 children, in Israeli jails. Human rights reports regularly cite cases of torture and other forms of maltreatment. According to the ADDAMEER prisoners’ rights group, some 40% of the adult male population in Palestine have been imprisoned at one time or another since 1967. This is the price Palestinians are forced to pay for demanding their human, national and democratic rights”.

“This is just one aspect of Israel’s Apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. As long as Israel is able act with impunity due to the international community’s failure to take meaningful action, these injustices will continue unabated. The IPSC calls on the Irish government to intervene in this case and ensure that Khader Adnan’s sacrifice is not in vain. Khader, and all other Palestinian political prisoners, be they Administrative Detainees or those convicted in military courts which do not meet international legal standards, must be released. Israel must be forced to cease victimising those who stand against its Apartheid regime”, Mr. O’Quigley concluded.

Current statistics on Palestinian Political Prisoners (ADDAMEER, December 2011)

4,446
Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention, including:
307 administrative detainees, including 3 women and 18 PLC members
6 women
132
children, including 31 under the age of 16
23 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council
52 prisoners who have been imprisoned for more than 20 years
165 Palestinians from the 1948 Territories
445 prisoners from the Gaza Strip, including 2 detained under the Unlawful Combatants Law
153 prisoners from East Jerusalem
751 approximate number of Palestinians arrested by Israel during the fourth quarter of 2011 (1 October – 30 December 2011). This marks no significant  increase over the third quarter of 2011, and a 10 percent increaseover the same period in 2010. 

 

*Detention statistics are based on reports from the Israeli Prison Service and Addameer’s monitoring. Detention statistics are current as of 31 December 2011, except for the number of women and PLC members, which are current as of 15 January 2012 and based on Addameer’s own documentation. Arrest statistics are based on figures from the Palestinian Monitoring Group and are current as of 31 December 2011.

Photo Credit: Tommy Donnellan

(www.ipsc.ie / 13.02.2012) 

Khalifa supports free Palestine

ABU DHABI: President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan reiterated on Monday that the UAE stands by the Palestinian people in their struggle to regain their legitimate rights and the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with legitimate international resolutions.

This was stated as the President received Hamas Chief and Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Welcoming them in Mushrif in the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the President also stressed the importance of unifying the Palestinian ranks.

Kazakh talks

Sheikh Khalifa also received President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Separately, the Qatari envoy delivered a note from Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, to Sheikh Mohammed, on bolstering the bilateral relations in the best interest of the Gulf Cooperation Council of Arab States (GCC). The message also included a number of important issues.

Also present at the Sheikh Khalifa meeting were Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Sheikh Khalifa welcomed the Kazakh President, hoping the visit would further enhance the relations.

The two sides explored the joint cooperation ties and exchanged views on the latest developments at the regional and international levels, as well as, issues of mutual interest.

The President and Sheikh Mohammed greeted Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on the latter’s re-election.

For his part, Nazarbayev expressed his pleasure about visiting the UAE and meeting the UAE President, referring to the growing ties between the two friendly countries.

Sheikh Khalifa hosted a banquet in honour of the Kazakh President and the delegation accompanying him.

Kazakh president welcomed setting up of joint UAE- Kazakh projects and opening of new avenues for economic, investment and tourism cooperation between the two countries.

(gulftoday.ae / 13.02.2012)

Khader Adnan: Portrait Of A Lion

They say internal organs begin to shut down around day 50. Forget about the hunger, which has probably subsided by now. The excruciating pain of liver, kidneys, heart and lungs not able to function properly must be unbearable. Severely deprived of nutrients, 33-year old Khader Adnan is now starving to death.

This fierce, faith-injected and conviction-filled battle that the lone Adnan is waging is one of a kind for Palestinians. Hunger strikes have been a part of the Palestinian struggle for years but this is unprecedented, in its length, its determination and the fact that he is waging it alone. But what Khader is protesting is hardly foreign to Palestinians, especially prisoners, and it is a pride felt across the board for the Palestinians that someone is speaking up with the voice of a lion against these horrible injustices, even at the risk of his own life.

This life we might add, is hanging by a thread as we speak. But unlike the rest of us who may pass on at any given moment, should Adnan perish, his mark on this troubled world will be indelible.

In a rare statement two days ago, Adnan explained why he would not relent. “I am defending my dignity and my people’s dignity and not doing this in vain,” he said.

“The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners. I have been humiliated, beaten, and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey,” Adnan wrote in a letter.

For those less versed in the Israeli occupation’s evil machinations, administrative detention is the imprisonment without charge of a prisoner based on so-called “secret files” from the Israeli intelligence services. A person can be sentenced to up to six months administrative detention, a sentence which can be renewed repeatedly at the military judge’s discretion. During this time you are given no explanation for your incarceration. Khader Adnan is one of 315 administrative detainees currently in Israeli prisons according to Al Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization. Over the 45 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, thousands of Palestinians have been in and out of Israel’s jails under this same arbitrary and unjust policy.

And while Adnan has been tortured, beaten, insulted and threatened by Israeli interrogators, he made it clear that he is not standing up only for himself but for an entire people. His courage and determination has sent tremors throughout Palestine and beyond, with a group of prisoners declaring an open hunger in solidarity with Adnan, some already into their 20th day. Solidarity protests and sit-ins are taking place and international calls are being heard for Adnan’s release as his body begins to collapse in total starvation.

Israel is very unhappy with the situation, that’s for sure. According to his wife Randa, when she visited her husband in the Zif Hospital in Safad, an Israeli interrogator pulled her to the side to try and persuade her to convince him to stop his strike. “For you, for your children and for the baby growing inside you,” he told her. “Tell him to stop.”

Even if she wanted to, she would not have been given a private moment with her husband, anyway. Shackled to the bed, there are Israeli security guards at all times in his room. According to one Israeli human rights physician who saw Adnan, the man could not even lift his head. But he is shackled to the bed nonetheless. Still, Israel does not want Adnan to die because it knows his death may ignite a brushfire of solidarity that will be very hard to smother.

To date, Khader Adnan has lost close to 45 kilograms, literally half his weight. His hair is falling out, he hallucinates and the color has drained completely from his face. These are typical symptoms of a starving body but what most starving bodies do not have is the iron determination that illuminates from within. It is a sheer miracle that Adnan has made it this far, not only because of the lack of food but because of the terrible and humiliating conditions he is forced to live in. Irish Republican Army volunteer Bobby Sands lasted 66 days without food before he perished in 1981, followed by nine others protesting British measures against them. Khader is a mere hairsbreadth away from that fateful number.

We all wish for his release, his recovery and his reunion with his family. We all think about Khader Adnan because even though we do not know him personally, he embodies all that we love about being Palestinian – the pride, the determination and the loyalty to the land.

We do not want Khader to die because he deserves life – probably even more than the rest of us for the simple reason that he would sacrifice it in the name of his people. As his hunger strike closes in on 60 days we offer prayers to whatever and whoever we believe in to spare him. He deserves life because he refuses to live it without dignity. And that is a lesson in gold.

(www.eurasiareview.com / 13.02.2012)

Official: Gaza faces 18 hour power cuts

Gaza’s sole power plant.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza will soon have only six hours of electricity per day if more fuel is not delivered to the blockaded strip, an energy official said on Monday.

Gaza power authority official Ahmad Abu al-Amaren said a small delivery of fuel on Monday staved off a wide-scale blackout, but the authority will soon be forced to introduce a highly restricted schedule, with cuts for 16 to 18 hours each day.

A solution to the electricity crisis depends on Egypt allowing the necessary fuel to pass into the coastal strip, he said.

The Palestinian Authority took over responsibility from the European Union for delivering industrial diesel to the Gaza Energy Authority in late 2009.

While limited amounts of gas, mainly used by individual households, are purchased from Israeli suppliers and permitted to enter the besieged strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, most of Gaza’s energy is brought unofficially from Egypt using underground tunnels.

Egyptian supplies are cheaper than the Israeli companies, which themselves purchase gas from Egypt, a Ma’an correspondent said.

But with Egypt beset by continuing domestic unrest after throwing out Hosni Mubarak a year ago, agreement has yet to be reached on stable fuel deliveries to Gaza, he added.

A recent trip by Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh to Egypt had secured pledges to deliver more electricity, but they are far from being put into effect, an energy official told Ma’an last week.

The fuel shortage has worsened as unrest escalates in the Sinai peninsula bordering Gaza, where Egyptian security forces are battling a Bedouin tribe whose members have attacked police and kidnapped foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the director of Gaza’s only power plant Walid Saad Sayil said Wednesday that the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority’s delay in payments for fuel contributed to the crisis, as well as failures by the energy authority and company in Gaza.

In 2003, a proposal was developed to build a new power station in Gaza, but supporters have failed to commit to their pledges, he said, adding that neither government in the West Bank or Gaza Strip have implemented the project.

Gaza, which is under an Israeli land and sea blockade, struggles to rehabilitate its power infrastructure due to a ban on importing materials for locally implemented construction. The Gaza power plant suffered damage in Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2008 and 2006.

But Abu Al-Amaren pledged that despite the escalating crisis, the plant “will operate until the last available drop of fuel.”

(networkedblogs.com / 13.02.2012)

Kabinet moet zich inzetten voor vrijlating Hamza Kashgari

Het kabinet moet zich inzetten voor de vrijlating van de Saudische journalist Hamza Kashgara. Ik heb minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Uri Rosenthal gevraagd bij Saudi-Arabië te protesteren tegen de mogelijke doodstraf die Kashgari boven het hoofd hangt nadat hij op Twitter kritiek had geuit op de islamitische profeet Mohammed. Mocht Saudi-Arabië daar geen gehoor aan geven, dan ben ik van mening dat Nederland Kashgari asiel zou kunnen aanbieden.

Vragen van de leden Timmermans en Arib (beiden PvdA) aan de Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken over de uitlevering door Maleisië van Hamza Kashgari aan Saoedi-Arabië.

1.Heeft Maleisië de Saudische journalist Hamza Kashgari, die zijn land was ontvlucht nadat hij op Twitter kritiek had geuit op de profeet Mohammed, teruggestuurd naar Saoedi-Arabië?

2.Kan Kashgari in Saoedi-Arabie veroordeeld zelfs tot de doodstraf veroordeeld kan worden vanwege die tweet?

3.Zo ja, deelt u dan de mening dat dit een bijzondere ernstige schending is van fundamentele mensenrechten?

4.Zo ja, bent u bereid hiertegen een krachtig protest te laten horen, zowel bilateraal als via de EU, tegenover de Saudische autoriteiten?

5.Bent u bereid bilateraal en via de EU vrijlating en ontslag van rechtsvervolging voor Kashgari te bepleiten bij de Saudische autoriteiten? Zo nee, waarom niet?

6.Indien de Saudische autoriteiten dit afwijzen, bent u dan bereid Kashgari asiel aan te bieden en ervoor te pleiten dat alle lidstaten van de EU zulks doen? Zo nee, waarom niet?

(nu.pvda.nl /  13.02.2012)

How is it apartheid?

Since the establishment of the state of Israel, Palestinians living under its control have faced restrictions on movement, limits on political organization and freedom of expression, employment discrimination, limitations on legal rights, and lower levels of access to resources. Between 1948 and 1966, all Palestinians within the borders of Israel lived under military rule. Since 1967, Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank and Gaza, granting Palestinians few of the rights and privileges afforded to Israeli citizens.

Currently, in the words of former Human Rights Watch researcher Darryl Li, Israel has instituted “a hierarchy of legal exclusion that encompasses the half of the population of Israel/Palestine that is not Jewish, and which is fragmented into citizens of Israel, residents of East Jerusalem, and West Bankers,” with Palestinians in Gaza at the lowest rung. In other words, Israel divides Palestinians into different categories, with different sets of laws governing the rights of each group.

The existence of this legal hierarchy has compelled a number of legal observers to argue that Israel is in violation of theInternational Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. In this legal context, Crimes of Apartheid are defined as “inhumane acts…committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

Israeli apartheid affects many aspects of Palestinian life, including marriage and family unification. For example, Palestinians with Gaza residency are banned from entering the West Bank for any purpose, including marriage. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza also face huge obstacles to reuniting with family members who were expelled, fled, or were residing outside the country during the June 1967 war during which Israel revoked the right of some 300,000 Palestinians to reside in the newly-occupied territories.

These laws and restrictions have culminated in a more recent episode of direct discrimination toward Israel’s indigenous Palestinian citizens. In 2003, the Israeli parliament passed the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, banning Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza from living with their spouses in Israel. The Israeli High Court extended this once-temporary order on January 11, 2012 by denying human rights organizations’ attempt to overturn the legislation. This ruling affects affects thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel who must now either leave their homes, live apart from their families, or risk living with their spouse illegally.

Despite Israel’s entrenched system of segregation, Palestinians are working to fight for their rights and to remain connected to one another. Taiseer Khatib, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, now faces the potential deportation of his wife Lana, a Palestinian from Jenin, and his children Adnan (4) and Yousra (3). Together they are mobilizing, as are many other Palestinians and civil rights groups, to contest the discriminatory ruling. Taiseer insists, “We have the right to love and live just like any other people in the world.”

(loveunderapartheid.com / 13.02.2012)

Olympics-Gaza runner ready to fly Palestinian flag in London

  • * Two athletes, two swimmers “to represent all Palestinians”

* Symbolic Olympic participation more important than results

* Athletes complain of dearth of money for Olympic ambitions

Gaza runner Bahaa al-Farra treads carefully, braving the elements and potholed roads ravaged by years of conflict between Palestinian militants and the Israeli army, as he prepares to race at the London Olympics.

The 19-year-old trains for three hours a day in Gaza’s Yarmouk soccer stadium, along the dusty streets and on the beach in well worn trainers that were donated to the Palestine Olympic Committee by wealthy Gulf state, Qatar.

Palestinian athletes complain of a paucity of financial support at home and a lack of vital equipment and coaches that are crucial for success and to nurture talented youth, but by competing in London, a national dream will be realised.

The Gaza Strip is a narrow coastal enclave in the eastern Mediterranean that borders on Israel and Egypt and which Palestinians want as part of a future state along with the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem.

In 2007, Islamist Hamas ousted Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from the strip in a brief and bloody civil war that split Palestinian society, but the two factions are currently trying to implement a signed reconciliation pact.

Abbas, who leads the more secular Fatah faction, holds sway in the West Bank.

Israel deems the Gaza Strip hostile territory and along with Egypt strictly controls access to it, limiting imports. Israel bans most travel through its crossings because Hamas and other militants who call for the Jewish state’s demise have launched attacks at Israeli towns from the territory.

 

OLYMPIC PARTICIPATION

The Palestinian flag first flew at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 when one athlete took part, Sydney 2000 welcomed two competitors and three went to Athens in 2004. All got a roaring welcome, but it was for participation rather than achievement.

A party of four travelled to Beijing four years ago – two track athletes and two swimmers – but as in previous Games, none got there by attaining the minimum Olympic qualifying standard, they were entered under rules for fledgling nations.

Four Palestinians will also participate in London. Joining Farra will be Cairo-based swimmer Ahmed Jabreel and two West Bank women, swimmer Sabeen Kharyoon from Bethlehem and runner Worood Maslaha from Nablus.

Hani al-Halabi from East Jerusalem who will head the Palestinian delegation, said the makeup of the current squad was representative of all Palestinians wherever they live.

“We want to embody the Palestinian issue by including participants from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jerusalem and the diaspora. Each of us represents a part of our home,” Halabi said.

FANTASY AND REALITY

Farra, a 400 metres runner, said he could not wait to get to London and dreamt of standing on the winners’ podium.

“It’s going to be a beautiful feeling to represent Palestine … like all the other athletes, I dream of winning a medal … I hope to carry the flag and tell the world that regardless of all the difficulties, we exist”, he told Reuters.

But with a personal-best time of 49.04 seconds, almost six seconds slower than Michael Johnson’s world record of 43.18, and more than three seconds slower than the Olympic B-standard minimum qualifying time, Farra’s medal ambitions will remain a fantasy.

His top time was achieved at last year’s IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea where he finished 34th out of 37 starters.

Farra’s coach, 48-year-old Majed Abu Maraheel, who was the first Palestinian Olympian in Atlanta where he ran in the 10,000 metres, said Farra would be a source of pride for his countrymen but that it was time to aspire to more meaningful achievements.

“Bahaa is still young and full of energy and defiance and I expect him to carry out his mission as required, but we need to rise above symbolic participation. We want to improve records but to do that we need of all the help we can get.”

Abu Maraheel treasures the trainers he wore in Atlanta and says he rescued them along with other trophies and mementos when his home was hit during Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip three years ago.

“The house was hit … and we escaped, but I made sure I took the shoes with me”, he said.

Farra needs $12,000 to finance his training and special diet in the final six-month buildup period to London but he has not seen a penny of funding, said Abu Maraheel, who will accompany him.

“Ideally, if we want to improve results we need to fund a two-year preparation plan to an Olympics or any major competition, but we don’t have a proper budget, we don’t have a track or other vital facilities. We are trying to achieve something out of nothing,” he said.

Farra said he realised the importance of what he was doing for his local community.

“In my neighborhood people know how important it is for one of their own to take part in such a competition and they are happy for me,” he said.

Abu Maraheel said participation in major sporting events was no less important than political struggle.

“We want to use sport as a language that everybody understands to tell the world that the Palestinian people exist,” he said.

(uk.eurosport.yahoo.com / 13.02.2012)

Tunisia says it has broken up a terrorist organization

A protesters waves a flag and shouts “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) during a demonstration outside the parliamentary building in Tunis Dec. 3, 2011. (Reuters)

A protesters waves a flag and shouts “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) during a demonstration outside the parliamentary building in Tunis Dec. 3, 2011.

Tunisia has broken up a “terrorist organization” and arrested 12 members who had received military training in Libya and were seeking to set up an Islamic state, Interior Minister Ali Larayed said on Monday.

Larayed, a senior member of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party that now leads Tunisia’s government, said that a further nine members of the group were on the run inside Libya.

“Those accused in this case had mostly been in prison on terrorism charges and a number of them received training in Libya during the Libyan revolution,” he told reporters.

“We have confiscated several weapons including 25 Kalashnikov rifles and 2,500 bullets … They were intending to establish an Islamist state.”

It was not immediately clear whether the group was plotting any specific attacks.

(english.alarabiya.net / 13.02.2012)

Israeli court rejects Adnan appeal, 23 injured at protest

An officer from an Israeli special police unit aims a grenade launcher during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators at a protest held in solidarity with prisoner Khader Adnan, a member of the Islamic Jihad militant group, outside Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Feb. 13, 2012.

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court rejected the appeal of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan on Monday, as 23 people were injured in a nearby protest against his continued detention.

Israel’s Ofer military court ruled against Adnan’s appeal of his four month administrative detention order. The Islamic Jihad leader has refused food for 58 days to protest his treatment by Israeli authorities, and the practice of detention without charge.

His lawyer Jawad Bulus accused the court of failing to pay any attention to Adnan’s deteriorating health.

Prisoners society head Qadura Fares slammed the ruling and called on international organizations to intervene in order to save the prisoner’s life.

Meanwhile dozens of students from Ramallah’s Birzeit University gathered outside the Ofer military base to call for Adnan’s release.

Israeli forces fired tear gas grenades and rubber bullets at the crowd, injuring 23 students, a Ma’an correspondent said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said “150 Palestinians gathered and hurled rocks at security forces who responded with riot dispersal means.”

Health experts: Adnan in critical condition 

Health experts told Ma’an on Monday that after 58 days without food, Adnan’s condition is likely to be critical.

Biochemistry lecturer at Birzeit University Munir Nasser said a build-up of acids would result in Adnan loosing his sight, and eventual kidney failure and coma.

Health expert Dr. Amr al-Hussaini said his body would be vulnerable to infection as his immune system lost protein, while Al-Azhar University nutritionist Dr. Samir Radi warned Adnan’s heart muscles could hypertrophy, leading to his death.

‘National hunger strike’ 

A prisoners group called on Sunday for a national hunger strike on Wednesday to support Adnan. The Prisoners Affairs Institution urged demonstrators to gather outside International Red Crescent headquarters from 9 a.m.

Hundreds of prisoners in Israeli jails have joined the hunger strike, and solidarity demonstrators in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as the US, have gathered to call for his release.

On Saturday, Israeli forces detained four people at a demonstration supporting Adnan in southern West Bank town Beit Ummar, and 16 Palestinians were injured when forces shut down a protest outside Ofer prison.

Adnan has refused food since his Dec. 17 detention in northern West Bank city of Jenin. It is the longest hunger strike any Palestinian prisoner has undertaken.

He says prison officials mistreated him during interrogation, and he is protesting the practice of detention without charge against Palestinians.

There are an estimated 307 Palestinians in Israeli administrative detention — held without charge — in Israeli jails.

The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said on Friday he is following the case “with concern”, calling on Israel “to do everything in its power to preserve the health of the prisoner and resolve this case while abiding by all legal obligations under international law.”

(www.maannews.net / 13.02.2012)

Randa Adnan: The world must intervene to save my husband


Randa and Khader Adnan’s daughter Ma’ali, age four

As Khader Adnan entered his 59th day on hunger strike, his wife Randa appealed for the international community to end his isolation and save his life.

“My husband is dying inside an Israeli jail. The world should make sure I am able to see him,” she said. “And it should pressure the Israeli government to release him before it’s too late.”

Khader, a 33-year-old baker, graduate Birzeit University economics student, and Islamic Jihad Movement activist, was detained in a 3:30 am raid on his home in Arraba, Jenin on December 17. Israel’s forces have arrested him eight times, and he has spent over six years in its prisons, mostly under administrative detention orders. He has been unable to complete his studies because of these repeated imprisonments.

He began a hunger strike the same day to protest Israel’s administrative detention policy and the brutality of his captors, and to demand his freedom. Israeli interrogators responded by continuing the beatings that began during his arrest, tying him into painful positions for hours, ripping hair from his beard, smearing dirt onto his face, throwing him into a “punishment cell” with bright lights and loud noises intended to prevent sleep, and denying him treatment for his gastric illness, the disc problems in his back, and the injuries their fellow soldiers had inflicted on him. After they graphically insulted members of his family, including his two young daughters and elderly mother – a form of psychological torture used by Israeli troops to extract information from Palestinian suspects – he launched a speech strike, refusing to talk with them as well.

On January 8, an Israeli military court sentenced Khader to administrative detention until May 8. Israel holds 310 Palestinians under this extrajudicial measure, which allows its military to detain prisoners indefinitely without presenting accusations or evidence against them. Like other Palestinian prisoners, administrative detainees have minimal access to their families, whom Israel denies basic information about their relatives’ cases and conditions.

“I didn’t know what had happened to him until December 30, when the court held his first hearing,” Randa said. “My security application was rejected, so the prisons administration wouldn’t allow me to see him until a human rights organization coordinated our family’s first visit to him in the hospital last Tuesday. They refused to allow us to stay with him for more than 15 minutes.”

By then, she said, her husband could barely move to greet her.  His shrunken, ulcerated body seemed like a shell, with its life already gone. She was shocked, and her daughters Ma’ali (four years old) and Bissan (one and a half) frightened, by the sight of his long nails and his beard and hair, which were overgrown, disheveled, and falling out in clumps. He told her that his captors had prevented him from bathing, grooming, or changing his clothes since his arrest, 52 days earlier.

“Israel has treated my husband without any humanity or compassion for his deteriorating health,” Randa said. “It’s obviously very bad, yet they’re not only preventing him from receiving any treatment, but also attacking his basic dignity as a human being.”

A letter from Khader’s cell in the Ramleh prison hospital Saturday seemed resigned to his likely fate. “The only thing I can do is offer my soul to God as I believe righteousness and justice will eventually triumph over tyranny and oppression,” he wrote. “I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on.” On Monday, a military court rejected his appeal and approved his administrative detention.

Yet Randa seemed to hold onto a glimmer of hope, for her husband’s life and for the world.  “Israel denied Khader any fairness or decency,” she said. “But maybe the rest of humanity will show more mercy.”

Joe Catron is an international solidarity activist and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) organizer in Gaza, Palestine.

(palsolidarity.org / 13.02.2012)