Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh ended his hunger strike after 182 days on Wednesday to protest his indefinite detention in an Israeli prison.
Awawdeh announced he was ending his strike from his hospital bed at the Shamir Medical Center in central Israel, sending his greetings to the Palestinian people before sipping a cup of tea – his first drink without water in 182 days.
In a video widely shared on social media, an emaciated and breathless Awawdeh told the camera: “Thank you for your support, thank you all. You are a great people. And it’s a just cause.
In another video announcing the end of his strike, Awawdeh said, “This is a resounding victory, and it is a continuation of the great victories won by great and honorable people in this nation.”
“I am deeply grateful to the people who supported, supported, strengthened and prayed for me, thank you,” he said, adding that he would remain in hospital for treatment until his release on October 2.
Egyptian authorities played central role in arranging Awawdeh’s release, reportedly a condition of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended the deadly three-day offensive, Haaretz says of Israel to Gaza in early August.
Haaretz also quoted an Israeli security official, who said Awawdeh had signed that he would not return to “terrorist activities” as a condition of his release, and that Israel “will release him as long as there is no will have no reason to believe otherwise”.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement welcomed the news of the Awawdeh release agreement, saying “the historic campaign he waged will be recorded in the annals of the Palestinian struggle.”
A video of Awawdeh’s mother celebrating the news of her son’s release has spread widely on social media. In the video, she can be seen talking to Awawdeh on Facetime and jumping excitedly.
“We are so happy, we cannot describe it,” said Awawdeh’s father, Mohammed Awawdeh. Mondoweiss. “For months we have waited impatiently to receive terrible news. We thought Khalil was going to die.
“But now we can feel some relief knowing that he will soon be with us again, alive.”
Awawdeh was arrested at his home in the middle of the night by armed Israeli soldiers on December 27, 2021. Following his arrest, he received a six-month administrative detention order.
After three months of detention, on March 3, he announced that he was going on a hunger strike to protest his detention. When the first administrative detention order expired in June, more than three months after his hunger strike began, the court renewed it for another four months.
Administrative detention is a policy used by the Israeli government, almost exclusively against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to imprison Palestinians deemed “threats” by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, without charge. no trial.
The policy allows the Shin Bet and the Israeli military prosecutor to present secret evidence against Palestinian “suspects” to an Israeli military judge, who can then impose indefinitely renewable administrative detention orders.
Under this policy, Palestinian administrative detainees are never formally charged with a crime and are unaware of the alleged secret evidence used against them. Some prisoners spend years in Israeli jails under the policy, which has been widely condemned by rights groups and human rights experts.
“It is a cruel, inhumane and unjust policy,” said Mohammed Awawdeh. Mondoweiss.
“Whenever the Shabak (Shin Bet) agent decides he wants to imprison my son, he can do it without any evidence or reason. He just does it because he can,” Mohammed said.
Awawdeh, who is 41 and a father of four young girls, has spent more than 13 years in Israeli prisons on several occasions. According to his father, three of these stays, representing more than five years in prison, were spent in administrative detention.
“It’s an oppressive policy, and it must stop,” he said. “The world must fight against this oppression and the apartheid system that is being used against us Palestinians.”
According to the prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 670 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons under administrative detention.
Photos of a frail Awawdeh shocked the world earlier this week as images of his bones protruding from his skinny body spread across social media.
During his strike, Awawdeh lost more than half his body weight, his family said, as he refused all forms of food and medically administered vitamins and nutrients, surviving on water alone.
When he started hitting, he weighed nearly 190 pounds. Today, he weighs approximately 75 pounds and suffers from severe pain, weakness, and cognitive and visual loss.
“I cannot describe how I feel seeing the state my son is in. He is skin and bones,” said Mohammed Awawdeh. Mondoweiss. “He suffered a lot and it will take a long time for him to recover.”
Mohammed said that although it pained him to see his son suffer, he was proud of him for his “strong will” and his “fight for justice”.
Hunger strikes were used as a form of peaceful protest by Palestinian political prisoners as early as the 1960s, to challenge the inhumane conditions and policies imposed on them in Israeli prisons.
The practice became more common in its use to protest administrative detention in the 1990s, according to Addameer, and in 2012 a massive hunger strike by more than 200 prisoners succeeded in limiting Israel’s use of the policy. , even if it was only temporary. Another massive hunger strike to protest administrative detention was launched in 2014 with similar results.
On Thursday, September 1, just an hour after Awawdeh ended his strike, Palestinian prisoners launched an open collective hunger strike to protest the Israeli Prison Service’s (IPS) reinstatement of a series of measures collective, punitive and retaliatory acts against Palestinian prisoners.
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