Israel Agrees to Release Hunger-striking Palestinian Soccer Player

Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Sarsak ends three-month hunger strike after Israel agrees to release him on July 10.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for 88 days ended his fast Monday, after the Israeli authorities agreed to release him on July 10, Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi said.

Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, a member of the Palestinian national football team, had begun taking liquids, preparatory to ending his hunger strike, last week.

Sarsak, from the Gaza Strip, was arrested in July 2009 while on his way to take part in a football match in the West Bank. Israel accused him of being affiliated with the radical Islamic Jihad organization.

He received on-off intravenous drips throughout his fast, but rejected a May 14 deal which ended a mass month-long hunger strike by other Palestinian prisoners.

He insisted on being given prisoner-of-war status, since he was detained under Israel's Unlawful Combatants Law, which allows for Palestinians from Gaza to be detained indefinitely without charge or trial.

The law authorizes the state to detain foreign nationals who belong to terrorist organizations or have participated directly or indirectly in hostile actions against the state of Israel.

The Islamic Jihad, which rejects Israel's right to exist, has carried out scores of attacks - including suicide bombings - against Israelis.

Al-Sarsak also rejected an Israeli offer to exile him to Norway for three months.

Palestinians hold posters showing Mahmoud Sarsak, center, a former player with the Palestinian national football team in Jenin on June 9, 2012.Credit: AP



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott