As Palestinian’s Hunger Strike Passes 41st Day, Cabinet Advances Force-feeding Bill

Other prisoners vowing to join Khader Adnan in protest against conditions.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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Palestinians hold pictures of Khader Adnan, a jailed senior member of Islamic Jihad.
Palestinians hold pictures of Khader Adnan, a jailed senior member of Islamic Jihad.Credit: AFP
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

On the 41st day of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan’s hunger strike, and with other prisoners vowing to join him, Israel's cabinet advanced the bill Sunday calling for the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners. Adnan, an administrative detainee, has been forcibly hospitalized for 11 days at Assaf Harofeh Hospital.

Four years ago, Adnan forced the authorities to release him from his previous administrative detention after 66 days. His hunger strike at that time spurred other Palestinian administrative detainees and prisoners to hold an extended mass hunger strike, which scored limited achievements (for example, the elimination of lengthy periods of solitary confinement and of suspension of family visits, as well as a reduction in administrative arrests). Adnan was arrested on July 8, 2014 and has been held without trial since then. This is his ninth administrative detention and he is demanding to be either released or tried. In addition to refusing food supplements, he refuses to be examined by prison or hospital doctors, whom he says are part of the detention system. At his request, Physicians for Human Rights is working to have one of its doctors sent to examine him.

Last week, other Palestinian prisoners and detainees announced that they intended to go on another hunger strike because they say the authorities have gradually gone back to their previous practices and reneged on understandings reached at the time.

The authorities believe Adnan is an Islamic Jihad activist, but have not indicted him. At least until last Wednesday, when his attorneys last saw him, Adnan was cuffed hand and foot to his bed at Assaf Harofeh. The prison service and the hospital told Haaretz that cuffing was in keeping with the rules; however, Physicians for Human Rights harshly criticized the hospital for keeping him cuffed, saying that it went against medical ethics as well as the prison service rules.

Female activists against the occupation were able on Saturday to visit Adnan and saw him being moved by his guards in a wheelchair near his hospital room. The activists brought him regards from his family and told him that during their visit a protest demonstration was being held outside the hospital against administrative arrests and his being cuffed to his bed.

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