Palestinian Woman Freed in Shalit Deal Stages Hunger Strike After Re-arrested by Israel

Hana Shalbi says she was subjected to embarrassing body search by a male Israeli soldier, assaulted when she resisted, and put in periodic solitary confinement as punishment for hunger strike.

Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff
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Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff

A Palestinian woman from Islamic Jihad has been on a hunger strike since the Israeli authorities placed her under administrative detention 11 days ago.

This is the second high-profile hunger strike by an Islamic Jihad member in recent months. Khader Adman, a senior official in the organization, ended a 67-day fast last week after Israel agreed to release him from administrative detention on April 17. Administrative detention involves imprisonment without trial for up to six months.

Hana Shalbi. Credit: Panet

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The woman, Hana Shalbi, 30, says she was subjected to an embarrassing body search by a male Israeli soldier upon being detained and was assaulted when she resisted. Shalbi says prison authorities have put her in periodic solitary confinement as punishment for her hunger strike.

Administrative detention can be extended if the courts approve. Israeli security officials say this punishment is sometimes necessary, especially when the presentation of evidence would compromise intelligence sources.

Shalbi is a resident of the West Bank village of Burkin near Jenin. She previously served 25 months under administrative detention; her detentions was repeatedly renewed. She was set free as part of the prisoner-exchange deal that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Other administrative detainees have announced their intention to refuse to appear in Israeli military courts starting on March 1. They say the courts extend administrative detention even when lacking evidence of any involvement in terrorism by the suspects.

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