Seven Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons continue their open-ended hunger strike against their administrative detention (or, detention without trial), in addition to 250 prisoners who, on Thursday 14 October, began their own mass hunger strike against Israeli prison authorities’ arbitrary measures against them.
The seven detainees hunger-striking against their administrative detention are: Kayed al-Fasfous, who has been on strike for 95 days; Miqdad Al-Qawasmi, for 88 days; Alaa al-Araj for 71 days; Hisham Abu Hawash, for 62 days; Shadi Abu Eker, for 54 days; and Ayyad al-Harimi for 25 days. In addition, Khalil Abu Aram is on his seventh consecutive day of hunger strike in support of the six others. All seven are held in the infamous Ashkelon prison.
All are suffering from various health issues, including severe aches, loss of weight, loss of fluids and salt, and exhaustion.
In a separate campaign, 250 prisoners continue their hunger strike for the fifth day in a row, in a protest against the abusive measures taken by the prison authorities against them, following six prisoners’ escape – through a “Freedom Tunnel” – from Gilboa Prison.
Typically, Palestinian detainees who enact hunger strikes take only water and salt to survive. In the case of the six Palestinians mentioned, the tactic is a means of putting pressure on the Israeli prisons services to end their administrative detention and, ultimately, free them.
Administrative detention is the process of detention without charge or trial, as based on hidden files that neither the detainee nor their lawyer are able to access. The orders are military, rather than civil or criminal, ordinances. An order can last for up to six months, but can be renewed unlimited times.
Since the beginning of 2021, the occupation authorities have issued 869 administrative detention orders, including against four minors. The number of such orders increased significantly from May onwards: 200 were issued in that month alone.
Israel currently holds approximately 4,850 Palestinian prisoners, including 41 female prisoners, 225 children, and 550 administrative detainees, according to groups specialising in Palestinian prisoner affairs.
Last Thursday, Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) called for a solidarity campaign with all Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike: “Citizens the world over must speak with one voice against their detention and in support of their struggle against the Israeli carceral system”, as AOHR UK said at the time.