Israel Court Rejects Hunger Strikers’ Detention Appeal

Local Editor

Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab
Jihad Movement: the Occupation Decides to Execute Diab and Halahleh
A Zionist military court on Monday refused an appeal by long-term hunger-strikers Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab to end their detention without charge, prisoners groups said.
Muhjat al-Quds society for the defense of prisoners said Ofer military court rejected the appeal against the prisoners’ administrative detention, on the 69th day of their hunger-strike.
Lawyer Jamil Khatib will now take their petitions to ‘Israel’s Supreme Court’. The rulings show the negotiations to end the prisoners’ hunger strike have failed, as they refused the Zionist suggestion to deport them to Gaza, Addameer Director Sahar Francis told media sources.
Negotiations are more difficult now that over a thousand prisoners have joined the hunger strike, as the Zionist authorities say they refuse to encourage others by agreeing not to renew the hunger-strikers’ administrative detention, Khatib said.

Diab, from Jenin, has been held without charge since August 2011. In February, the Zionist authorities extended the 27-year-old’s sentence for a further six months without a trial.

Halahla, from Hebron, was detained in July 2010. The 33-year-old’s administrative detention order has been renewed several times, most recently on March 5 for another six months.



Hana Al--Shalabi returning to Gaza
New prisoners join the strike in Negev prison



A wave of hunger strikes has drawn attention to the Zionist decades-long use of administrative detention, under which over 300 Palestinians are currently held without charge.
Palestinian prisoner Khader AdnanThe Israeli occupation authority said it refused to disclose accusations or evidence to lawyers or detainees due to security concerns.
The Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR) group slammed the court ruling.
“The court’s decision is a death sentence for both of them,” PHR spokeswoman Amani Daif told AFP.
Detainee Hassan Safadi continues his hunger strike for the 63 days
“Their lives are in danger and their families are still banned from seeing them,” she said. “They could die any moment now.”
Meanwhile, a Zionist official confirmed progress in the case of a mass hunger strike being observed by more than a third of the Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.

As Diab and Halahla entered day 69 of their hunger strike, they were joined by another 1,200 detainees who began refusing food on April 17 in a bid to demand better conditions.

That number has now grown to “approximately 1,600 prisoners on hunger strike,” ‘Israel Prisons Service (IPS)’ spokeswoman Sivan Weizman told AFP on Monday.

Among their demands are increased access to lawyers, family visits, and an end to both solitary confinement and administrative detention.

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Empty Stomach Warriors (III): Omar Abu Shalal Sets His Mind

A Palestinian youth sits in side a mock cage with his hands tied in chains during a protest after Friday prayer to call for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails in Gaza City on 27 April 2012. (Photo: AFP – Mohammed Abed)
Published Monday, April 30, 2012
On 15 August 2011, Omar Abu Shalal was attempting to cross the Allenby Bridge – one of the crossings between the West Bank and Jordan – with his sister Samira, when Israeli authorities promptly arrested him.
Omar was immediately sent to Ofer prison just west of Ramallah. A few hours later he was handed a six-month administrative detention order, without knowing why he was imprisoned or what the charges against him were.
He was travelling to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage when he was arrested. It was in the middle of the month of Ramadan. While his sister continued on the journey, Omar found himself transferred to Megiddo prison near Haifa.
Omar has lived under an occupation regime where adhering to a certain political rhetoric is ample excuse to be arrested for years, or even imprisoned for life.
What makes his story unique is that he was wanted by and imprisoned by the Israeli army and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Politically affiliated with Hamas, Omar was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 36 months in prison. During that period Omar’s mother passed away without seeing her incarcerated son, which as Samira recounted, devastated him.

Following infighting between members of Hamas and Fatah in 2007, Omar fled to Jenin to keep a low profile as he was wanted by the PA for one year. Following June 2007, the month which saw the highest number of casualties in the fighting, 4000 followers of Hamas were arrested as part of the PA’s systematic clampdown on Hamas supporters. Three months later, the PA arrested Omar and he was sentenced to one year and a half in the Jneid prison in Nablus, a facility that was known for human rights abuses and for torturing Hamas affiliates. According to an AP report, these measures have desisted since the year 2010.

 
Fifty-four-year-old Omar is divorced with no children, and lives in one of Nablus’ three refugee camps, al-Ain. He has a two-year diploma in electrical maintenance and works as a porter in the city center, off-loading trucks, and transporting goods on foot. According to Samira, he had no plans to remarry.
On 15 February 2012, Omar’s detention was further extended by six months. Inspired by the hunger strikes of Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, and by the solidarity strikes of Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahleh, Omar began his open-ended hunger strike on March 7.
In the solidarity tent set up in the middle of Nablus’ bustling city center, several posters of Omar Abu Shalal have been put up with small papers taped on top marking the number of days he’s been on hunger strike. On Monday April 30, Omar entered his fifty-sixth day without food.
“When I first heard of his strike, I welcomed it,” Samira confessed. “At the same time, I was scared for him, since I know that when my brother sets his mind to something he won’t back down until he’s achieved whatever it is he wanted. He always had strong faith in undertaking big decisions like this.”
The lawyer representing Omar, Mohammad al-Abed, reported that when he saw Omar on April 22, he was complaining of severe pain in his stomach and head. His blood pressure was low, and his diabetes symptoms were severe. Despite this, Abed insisted Omar’s morale was very high, and that he was unwavering in continuing his strike.

“I’ve requested an appeal for Omar’s case in the Israeli High court,” Abed said. “I’m waiting to hear whether the appeal will be accepted or rejected. Given the dangerous level his health is at, every day that passes without receiving an answer from the court is extremely risky.”

 
An appeal for an administrative detainee revolves around the misuse of administrative detention, thus challenging the prisoner’s imprisonment on that basis. Abed plans to use Omar’s sharply deteriorating health as a pretext for challenging his detention, but the lawyer admits that it’s a long shot that it will be even taken into consideration by the Israeli prosecutor and judge.
Samira is critical of the PA’s silence over the prisoners in Ramleh prison hospital who have refused food for two months, and over the mass hunger strike that began on April 17 with an estimated 2000 prisoners participating.

“I demand that Abu Mazen take a stance on this issue, which is one of the pillars of our cause. He’s been negotiating with Israel for years now and our situation has just gotten worse. He should be negotiating to release prisoners, something that is worthy. I suppose the PA is scared that the current hunger strike movement might hurt its relations with Israel, so that is why they have kept quiet. What does that say about our ‘leadership?’”

Her eyes momentarily glisten over when asked about facing her brother’s impending death. “We hope Omar will come back home to us alive and well. Whatever is written by God will happen. Our faith in Him is enormous.”

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Empty Stomach Warriors (II): Bilal Thiab Chooses the Life He Wants to Live

Palestinian stone-throwers take cover behind a garbage bin during clashes with Israeli troops following a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons outside Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah 26 April 2012. (Photo: REUTERS – Mohamad Torokman)
Published Friday, April 27, 2012
Long and Hard Struggle: Bilal Thiab on 60 Days of Hunger Strike
Even as a young boy, Bilal Thiab despised authoritative oppression. He refused to listen to adults telling him off for innocent mistakes and later that personality trait solidified into one that openly challenged the men in uniform trampling on people’s freedom.
Thiab was just 18 years old and a high school senior when he was first arrested by the Israeli occupying army in October 2003 from his village of Kufr Rai. He was sentenced to prison for seven and a half years for what Israel called his “political activism in the Islamic Jihad group.”
When he was arrested, he defied the Israeli soldiers’ commands to look at the ground instead of at their faces, and when he refused they threatened to shoot him. Thiab was unshaken, and replied scathingly that either way, death is inevitable. These comments caused a significant amount of distress for his mother who was listening in on the exchange from the other room, confined there by the soldiers.
After his release in February 2010, life was never the same for Thiab. He was arrested for short periods of time and was repeatedly summoned by the Israeli intelligence for interrogations, which usually lasted for days. One interrogation in May lasted for seven days. Thiab was also arrested by the Palestinian Authority for 28 days, a subject his mother, 65-year-old Umm Hisham is not keen to discuss.

“There is no point in talking about this now,” she murmured, turning away with one hand on her face. “We need all the support we can get, from President Mahmoud Abbas and [Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad.” She looked up with a worn out smile. “He went on hunger strike for 14 days after the PA arrested him.”

 
Adjusting to “freedom” after prison was a hardship in itself, especially since Thiab found himself being constantly called for interrogations by Israel and intermittently, by the PA.

“He wanted to live his life the way he imagined, but couldn’t because the occupation stole any meaning of life from him,” Umm Hisham said. “He has such a strong respectable character, but he was denied leading a life any young man of his age should be able to, such as starting a family, going to wedding parties outside the village, and visiting other towns and cities.”

Thiab’s restricted freedom of movement was illustrated emphatically in January 2011, after he tried to go to Jenin to visit his sister-in-law after she had given birth to twin boys. A flying checkpoint was waiting for him just outside Kufr Rai, and he was subsequently strip-searched and detained for several hours before being sent home again. “He left prison for a bigger prison,” Umm Hisham underlined.
After apprenticing as a barber, Thiab opened a barbershop in his village. Barely 12 days later, he was taken away by Israeli forces yet again for interrogation, during which they goaded him and made fun of his profession. When he returned home, he never went back to his barbershop again.

On 17 August 2011, Thiab was hanging out with four of his neighbors on his brother’s roof. It was in the middle of the month of Ramadan, and the villagers have a habit of staying up late during the holy month. At 1am, sound bombs suddenly went off around the house, and the courtyard was rapidly swarming with a special unit of Israeli soldiers, all dressed in civilian clothes. Another group of soldiers, this time easily distinguishable from their uniforms, made their way up to the roof and detained all of the five young men. The soldiers then rounded up all the women and children into one room. Isam, one of Thiab’s brothers, was handcuffed in a different room, and the soldiers kept stomping on his body. The soldiers released the four men who were with Thiab, but handcuffed and blindfolded him and proceeded to drag Thiab on his knees to where the army jeep was standing, about 200m away.

Thiab went on 14 days of hunger strike in solidarity with Khader Adnan, and later for another 12 days in solidarity with Hana Shalabi. When the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) renewed his detention for another six months at the end of February 2012, Thiab immediately began his hunger strike with his friend and fellow inmate Thaer Halahleh. They were separated and placed in different cells, and when it became clear they were not going to end their hunger strike the IPS moved them both to solitary confinement. On March 28, Thiab and Halahleh were hospitalized, and are currently in the Ramle prison hospital.

Jamil Khatib, the lawyer for Thiab and Halahleh and other hunger strikers who have also been hospitalized, last visited them on Wednesday, April 25.

“On the 59th day of his hunger strike, Bilal’s health is at a very dangerous level,” Khatib stressed. “He has lost 25kg, has difficulty speaking, a low blood sugar level, and constant pain in his stomach. His hair is falling out, and suffers from frequent dizziness in addition to falling unconscious at times. He is very weak, and can’t move on his own.”

On Monday, April 23, the Israeli military court rejected Khatib’s appeal to release both Thiab and Halahleh. The next day, Khatib appealed to the High Israeli court in Jerusalem and demanded two things: to process the appeal as soon as possible, and to transfer Thiab and Halahleh to court in ambulances, not military jeeps.

Thiab and Halahleh have made it clear that they refuse to be exiled anywhere outside their own villages.

Khatib says that a deal to exile both prisoners in return for an end to their hunger strike wasn’t officially presented to him by the Israeli intelligence, since he has made it clear to them that he will not negotiate on this condition. Furthermore, Thiab and Halahleh have made it clear that they refuse to be exiled anywhere outside their own villages.

 
“I expect them to continue with their hunger strike, on the path that Khader Adnan spearheaded,” Khatib said. “They are determined to hunger strike until freedom or martyrdom. This is their latest message to us. They also ask for more positive support and for a clear strategy from media and organizations in covering their case.”
Azzam, another of Thiab’s brothers, is on his 30th day of hunger strike in solidarity with his brother, regardless of the fact that he is carrying out a life sentence since 2001.
“Bilal is the youngest of my 13 children,” Umm Hisham said. “His father died when he was 8 months old, so he was always spoiled by his brothers and sisters. I ask everyone, anyone whose human rights means something to them, to help us, to release Bilal, to free Bilal.”

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Jewish Man Exposes Israel’s Lies – The General’s Son

By Miko Peled | Miko Peled Weblog | Jan 14, 2012

As I write these words I am in Jerusalem and it is a cold, windy and rainy day. Yesterday at the protest in Nabi Saleh, facing the IDF terror squads and in full view of the villas of the settler terrorists, we were drenched in rain and then frozen by the cold wind. Some of the protesters, a group of young women who were gutsier than most, did not run like most of us but stood firm as the IDF terror squad operated its “Skunk” and sprayed them with a foul smelling substance that remains on the skin for days. Now, in this horrid weather, tweeting from the Mukata’a, young Palestinians are protesting against the useless, demeaning process of the PA negotiations with Israel.

The injustices all over Palestine are more obvious than ever. Israeli children in West Jerusalem get more of everything that Palestinian children in East Jerusalem, particularly if they live in Sho’afat refugee camp for example. Settlers in the West Bank can take the land of the people of Yanun in the West Bank at any time, and are not held back by any law while the people of Yanun have no law and no authority that protects their rights. People in Gaza are bombed and left to die as the world watches and here too there is no one to whom they can turn. Equal rights in a single democracy is the one demand that covers all the demands and deals with all the injustices.

The levels of injustice and despair here are only matched by the great possibilities that a single democratic state with equal rights offers to all people who live here. Equal rights means equal rights to land, water, immigration, education, work, and above all life. When the apartheid state of Israel is transformed into a single political entity with equal rights for all of its people, residents of Jenin and Deheishe will vote in the same elections as those in Tel Aviv. The results will then reflect the will of all people who live in Palestine/Israel, our shared homeland, not only the ruling class which happen to be Zionist Israeli Jews.

People often claim that it is an unrealistic, utopian dream and hope for a compromise, for a “moderate” Zionist government that will curb the settlers and reign back the army. However, it was a “moderate” Zionist government that allowed the settlers to terrorize Palestinians and take their land, it was a “moderate” Zionist government that attacked in and murdered innocents in Gaza, and “moderate” Zionists did nothing when less “moderate” Zionists continued to massacre in Gaza. The settler terrorists are the foot soldiers, they are the trail blazers of Zionism, they were created by “moderate” Zionist governments and are now being rewarded with villas on choice Palestinian land in the West Bank.

There are those who hope that if elected to a second term, President Obama will turn his attentions to Israel/Palestine but this is quite naive. Had he or any other president been serious about this issue they would have to come down on Israeli human rights abuses, denial of civil rights, incarceration of political prisoners and massive assaults on civilians resulting in thousands of innocent deaths. It is naive to assume that the political climate in the US allows any of these issues to be brought up. So anyone out there that is banking on a solution coming from the US, will surely be disappointed.

The quest for equal rights is not a easy one and will not be easily won. Indeed, any fight against the brutal militant Zionist behemoth is not easy and calls for great sacrifice. But the people in Palestine and abroad who are engaged in the struggle are dedicated and determined and if they put their minds and efforts towards a single demand of complete equal rights within a single democracy, they are sure to succeed.

Source and more at the weblog of Miko Peled.
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by the Editor
Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Biggest Hunger Strike Ongoing, One Pal. Transferred to Hospital

Local Editor

A Palestinian prisoner has been transferred on Saturday night to Ramleh prison medical center after twelve days of hunger strike.

Thaer HalahlaMohammad Halas is the latest prisoner to be transferred to the prison medical facility after his health began to deteriorate from the extended hunger strike in which he joined seven other long-term hunger strikers, including two that have had no food for sixty days.

1200 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike on April 17th, Palestinian Prisoners Day, joining eight prisoners who began hunger strikes in March. In the days since, they have been joined by hundreds more prisoners.

The West Bank-based Palestinian Prisoner’s Club said that 75 prisoners in one detention facility joined the strike on Saturday, in addition to another unspecified number of detainees in Ofer prison.

The open-ended hunger strikes are meant to challenge Israel’s policy of administrative detention.

Two prisoners, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab, marked their 60th day of hunger striking on Saturday. Both men are facing organ failure and death in a matter of days, but have both pledged to continue their hunger strikes until death or until their release.

Palestinian Prisoners organization, Addameer, criticized the Zionist entity’s decision to transfer many of the prisoners on hunger strike to solitary confinement, where they have been held in violation of international law.

Source: Websites
29-04-2012 – 14:26 Last updated 29-04-2012 – 14:28

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Khader Adnan to Hunger Strikers: Go Forth and Be Victorious

Former Palestinian hunger strike prisoner Khader Adnan (L), a senior member of Islamic Jihad who was jailed in Israel, is greeted by members of the crowd in the village of Arraba near the northern city of Jenin, in the Israeli occupied West Bank on 18 April 2012. (Photo: AFP – Saif Dahlah)
Published Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Ramallah – Khader Adnan defied everything related to the Israeli occupation, its prisons, and jailers. He rose up against interrogators and informants, and against all kinds of intimidation and humiliation. He put his body on the line with a 66-day hunger strike until the occupation relented. Adnan spoke to Al-Akhbar about the details of his historic hunger strike.

Fadi Abu Saada: Why did you decide to go on the hunger strike the day of your arrest?

Khader Adnan: I decided to go on a hunger strike based on four main reasons. The first reason concerns the period before I was detained. There were several failed attempts to arrest me through requests by the Israeli secret service calling for a meeting. But I refused. Being humiliated and having to see Israel flexing its muscles does not disturb me at all.
The second reason concerned being abused during my arrest, including when the jailers assaulted me physically.

The third is the type and methods of interrogation.

The fourth and last reason is my repeated administrative detention without reason. My rejection of administrative detention complements my rejection of the occupation itself and my search for dignity which was stolen from us by the Israelis.

FAS:What is administrative detention?

KA: I believe Britain is responsible for this type of detention and its idea. It comes from the British mandate in Palestine. They used to call it the “emergency regulations.”
This type of detention starts with a letter from the intelligence officer in a particular region. He would send it to the region’s military commander requesting the arrest of a particular person based on “secret information” that cannot be divulged. In other words, it is “information received from a collaborator with the occupation.”
This type of detention can be renewed several times. In the case of brothers Mohammad Jaradat, Usama Barham, and martyr Ayman Daraghmeh, it was up to five or six years. Renewal is like a hammer hanging over the heads of the detainee and his family. The psychological torture has no equivalent and the worst thing is that the detainee and his family know that there will be no specific date for his release.

FAS: How did you spend your day during the hunger strike?

KA: I did not just stop eating. I also took a vow of silence for more than 20 days and refused to bathe for 65 days.
I prayed a lot and read the Koran when I was able to get a copy. I never slept during the day. People thought that was strange, but I preferred to sleep at night and wake up for morning prayers.
The daily search was always “amusing” because I used to confront the jailers who conducted the search.
FAS: How did they try to break your will and pressure you to end the hunger strike?

KA: They basically tried this by transferring me from one Israeli hospital to another for tests. First they took me to Ramleh hospital, then to “Tal al-Rabi” in Tel Aviv, then to occupied Jerusalem, then Safad, then the isolation in Ramleh again. It was very exhausting.
Then they turned the hospitals where they took me into courts for my case.
The main method they used was isolating me from the outside world and assigning three or four jailers in my room to pressure me.
They deliberately tied one of my hands and one of my feet for hours, even when I had to use the bathroom. They said it was so I would not escape, even though there is no window or exit anywhere.
The occupation soldiers tried to provoke me by turning my confinement cell into a “restaurant” full of all kinds of food that one might crave.
They tried to break my will but I was stronger, thank God.

FAS: What about threats to your family and friends?

KA: True, a secret service officer came to me and told me, “Say hello to your father.” He had said the same thing when they came to arrest me once. They threatened to arrest all my family and friends and actually arrested four of my friends from my town, Arrabeh, a few days before my release.

Occupation soldiers are not satisfied with all of that. They criminalize everyone who speaks about me or my experience.
The best example is what happened with the Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein who mentioned me in his Friday sermon at al-Aqsa mosque.
The Israeli government responded by starting a felony case against him, as if he was a criminal, just because he spoke about me.

FAS: What do you say to the 2,000 detainees who followed your path and are now in their second week of a hunger strike?

KA: I tell them, go forth under the grace of God for you shall be victorious. You named it the “battle of dignity,” so do not fail your families or the remaining prisoners. Continue until you are granted your demands.
A hunger strike is a matter of destiny and it is of utmost importance. We ask God to grant us victory.
I conclude my message by saying, do not drop the banner of the eight knights, especially Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla. They have been on a hunger strike in detention for 58 days, continuing the battle of Sheikh Khader, Hana Shalabi, and the others.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Number of Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Striking to Reach 3000

Local Editor

The number of Palestinian political prisoners, held by “Israel” in various prisons, detention camps and interrogation facilities, will likely reach 3000 as waves of detainees intend to join the strike, demanding their internationally-guaranteed rights.

In their battle of empty stomachs declared a week ago, Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike are escalating their move till achieving their goals.

Head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), Qaddoura Fares, told Maan News Agency that the first group of detainees, held under administrative detention without charges, have reached the “no return point” as they have been on hunger-strike since 56 days, and insist on not breaking their strike until they are released.

Fares added that “the second group of detainees has been on hunger strike since seven days now”.

The strike aims at ending “Israel’s” illegal administrative detention polices, halting all violations against the detainees and their families, improving the living conditions of the detainees , allowing visitation rights, ending all solitary confinement policies, allowing prisoners the right of education, and ending all night raids targeting them and their rooms.

“The current number of detainees who are on hunger-strike is around 1600, and will likely increase to 3000 in the coming few days,” Fares announced, clarifying that ” the striking detainees are from different political factions and groups.”

“They are all united in their legitimate demands regardless of their political affiliation,”he confirmed.

It is worth mentioning that “Israel” is conducting punitive measures against 1200 Palestinian detainees by denying their visitation rights, and isolating them from the detainees who are not part of the protests yet.

Furthermore, a spokeswoman of the “Israeli” Prison Administration, stated that “all privileges have been taken away from the detainees, including family visitations, and all electric equipment have been removed.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian national football squad detainee- who is four weeks on his hunger strike inside “Israeli” bars-is seriously ill.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org

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