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Two ex-hunger-striking Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons embrace freedom

Occupied Palestine – Two former hunger-striking Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons were released on Thursday, embracing freedom after a long-term protest against their unfair administrative detention without a charge or trial.

41-year-old Hisham Abu Hawash from Dora in occupied Hebron, was arrested on October 27, 2020, and held under administrative detention. He had been on hunger strike since August 17, 2021 in protest against his administrative detention without a charge or trial by Israeli occupation authorities.

On January 4, 2022, Abu Hawash, a father of five, ended his hunger strike after 141 consecutive days while his health condition had been deteriorating severely, after reaching an agreement with the Israeli occupation authorities to release him in February.

Midqdad Qawasmi, a 24-year-old resident of the southern occupied city of Hebron, was detained in January 2021 and had been on an open-ended hunger strike since July 20 in protest against his unfair administrative detention without a charge or a trial by Israeli occupation authorities. Qawasmi has previously spent a total of four years in Israeli jails for resisting the occupation.

On January 11, 2022, Qawasmi broke his hunger strike after 113 days, after reaching an agreement with the Israeli occupation authorities to release him in February.

Both Abu Hawash and Qawasmi were released yesterday from Israel’s Naqab prison.

Soon after Qawasmi left prison yesterday, he was re-detained by Israeli occupation for hours before he was released again.

Over 45 Palestinian detainees started hunger strike since in 2021, in protest against Israel’s detention without a charge or trial.

Administrative detention is illegal under international law, however, the occupation state uses it to repress the Palestinian people.

‘Israel’ routinely uses administrative detention and has, over the years, placed thousands of Palestinians behind bars for periods ranging from several months to several years, without charging them, without telling them what they are accused of, and without disclosing the alleged evidence to them or to their lawyers.

Thus, the hunger strike is a method of a non-violent resistance which the prisoners use to protect their lives and their fundamental rights and a response to the occupation racist policies which they face in the prisons.

According to Palestinian prisoner advocacy groups, in 2020 only, the Israeli occupation authorities issued 1,114 administrative detention orders while in 2021, 1595 administrative detention orders were issued.

In January 2022, ‘Israel’ issued 96 administrative detention orders: 51 new orders and 45 renewal orders.

Currently, in protest against their administrative detention without charges or trial by the Israeli occupation authorities, 500 Palestinian administrative detainees have been boycotting the Israeli Military Courts since January 1, 2022.

Among the 500 administrative detainees are 3 minors and a female.

The boycott includes the initial hearings to uphold the administrative detention order, as well as appeal hearings and later sessions at the Supreme Court.

Under the banner, “Our decision is freedom … no to administrative detention,” administrative detainees said in a statement their move comes as a continuation of longstanding Palestinian efforts “to put an end to the unjust administrative detention practiced against our people by the occupation forces”.

They also noted that Israel’s use of the policy has expanded in recent years to include women, children and elderly people.

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