Israelis Attempting to Visit Hospitalized Palestinian Hunger-striker Detained

Activists trying to visit Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi are ejected from hospital and stopped by Israeli police.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Police detained two left-wing activists who tried to enter Kaplan Hospital with the intent to visit Samer Issawi, the Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for the past eight months.

On Saturday morning, twelve activists attempted to visit the hospitalized Issawi, who is receiving intravenous nourishment and is under constant watch by Israeli Prison Service guards.

Two women succeeded in making their way to the room where he is being held before they were blocked by hospital security. A commotion subsequently arose, after which security stopped the other activists from entering the building. Police who were summoned to the place demanded the group leave the place, and eventually detained two activists: the author and translator Ilana Hammerman, and Chava Lerman. The two were put into a police vehicle, which later deposited them on the side of a highway.

The activists plan to undertake additional actions to protest the holding of Issawi.

Hammerman told Haaretz "I have decided on a path of civil disobedience. I have been doing it for some time. I think one can't hold a dying man in prison, that's illegal. I refuse to obey these laws. I entirely identify with his struggle."

Issawi, who was one of the 1,027 prisoners released from Israeli prison in the deal for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, was re-arrested last August for violating the terms of his release. Shortly after his return to prison, he began a hunger strike, and now receives only liquids fortified with vitamins, which are keeping him alive. The doctors treating him say his condition has deteriorated drastically and there is a real threat to his life.

Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi's case reached the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in 2012.Credit: Oren Nachshon

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