'Do not despair, no matter what the occupiers do': Palestinians react to Khader Adnan's last will

'Do not despair, no matter what the occupiers do': Palestinians react to Khader Adnan's last will
"The occupation did not kill Khader once, but killed him for 86 days, with every moment of pain. His will was not to let the occupiers touch his body, and to be buried beside his father," said his wife.
6 min read
West Bank
02 May, 2023
Khader Adnan, 45, died in Israeli prison after 87 days of hunger strike. [Getty]

"My people, I send to you all in this last will a salute of love, confident in victory, for this land is God's and ours," Palestinian social media accounts quoted the last will by Palestinian leader Khader Adnan shortly after his death was announced in the Israeli Ramleh prison early on Tuesday, after 87 days of a hunger strike.

"Do not despair, no matter what the occupiers might do," read Adnan's final letter. "Victory is close, and God's promise is closer. My salutes go out to our martyrs, to our prisoners, and to all free people and revolutionaries of the world." 

Palestinians have been reacting to Khader Adnan’s death since its confirmation on Tuesday morning, in an official statement by the Israeli Prison Services, shared at first by Israeli media.

From the early hours of Tuesday, a general strike was declared by all public institutions, universities and cultural and social organisations throughout all cities in the occupied West Bank. 

Youth and student groups also called for protests at Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank through social media outlets. At noon, confrontations erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians protesting Adnan's death at the Beit El checkpoint, at the northern entrance of Ramallah, at the entrance of Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, in Hebron's old city and in Nablus.

In the Israeli Ofer detention centre, near Ramallah, Israeli prison security forces used tear gas to control Palestinian inmates who protested the death of Khader Adnan, according to the Palestinian Prison Club.

The Palestinian prisoners' leadership announced a full alert in Israeli jails, in a statement made public by the Prisoners' Club, which declared that prisoners are considering a massive hunger strike by administrative detainees in response to Adnan's death.

For his part, Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh remarked to the press that "Israeli authorities have committed an assassination against Khader Adnan, by refusing to release him and neglecting him medically."

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to which Adnan belonged, also described Adnan's death as "an assassination crime that the occupation committed in front of the eyes of the world, which accepts its crimes and provides it with protection."

Meanwhile, a Hamas spokesperson told Palestinian media that Khader Adnan represented "a legend in confronting the occupation, and this crime will not pass without response by the Palestinian resistance."

The PFLP also condemned Adnan's death, saying in a statement, "Khader Adnan's assassination demonstrates the occupation’s crimes against Palestinian prisoners, especially ill prisoners who are subjected to medical neglect."

Israeli forces arrested 45-year-old Khader Adnan from his home in Arraba, near Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank on 5 February. Adnan launched an individual hunger strike immediately after his arrest, demanding his release.

"Khader Adnan's health deteriorated very fast, especially that he performed a full hunger strike, without the help of salt and water or any supplements, as hunger strikers often do," Ayah Shreiteh, spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, told The New Arab on Tuesday.

"The occupation authorities knew his condition after he was placed under medical attention in the Ramleh prison clinic, and yet they transferred him back to a cell in Ramleh, practically exposing him to death," Shreiteh said.

"Adanan was charged with political activism and was taken twice to court, despite his health condition, but he insisted on continuing his hunger strike, accepting no less than immediate release. Last Thursday, Adnan received a last visit by medics from the Doctors For Human Rights Organization, who clearly concluded that his life was in danger," she added.

"Khader Adnan needs immediate transfer to a hospital to be placed under medical care," the Doctors for Human Rights report stated last Thursday.

"Adnan faces difficulty to move and to hold simple conversations. He is pale, weak, and very exhausted, having lost around 60 kilos of his weight," the report added. 

The medical report also found that Adnan suffered muscle decrease, and high stomach sensitivity and expected the effects of older hunger strikes to deteriorate.

Adnan's final hunger strike was his sixth. In 2012, he stopped taking food for 66 days, protesting his detention without charges under the Administrative Detention Israeli system. It was the first Palestinian individual hunger strike against Israeli administrative detention, which sparked a worldwide wave of support. More Palestinian administrative detainees followed Adnan's example for the years to come, protesting their detention by refusing to take food.

He was arrested again in 2015 without charges and refused food for 56 days until Israeli authorities agreed to release him. Adnan protested by hunger strike again in 2018 for 58 days and in 2021 for 25 days against his detention without charges.

Khader Adnan was father to nine children, the youngest aged a year and a half and the oldest 14. In his last letter, he asked his family "to forgive me for being away, and know that I was distracted from you only by the call of duty."

Adnan also requested "to not let the occupation cut my body open, and bury me beside my father."

"The family is going through very difficult moments since they received the news, especially the children," former Palestinian prisoner and friend to Adnan’s family, Muna Qaadan told TNA early on Tuesday. "They will not speak to the media, other than the public statement by Khader's wife."

"We, Khader Adnan's family, will not receive any condolences, and will not open our house for mourners, but for congratulations for Khader's martyrdom," Adnan's wife said in a brief speech in front of the media at the family's home in Arraba, Jenin.

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"We don't want anybody to take revenge for Khader, especially those who did nothing to support him while he was alive'," stressed Adnan's wife. "He raised his children to the struggle, and they will one day show the occupation what they didn't see from Khader."

"The occupation did not kill Khader once, but killed him for 86 days, with every moment of pain," his wife continued. "His will was not to let the occupiers touch his body, and to be buried beside his father, and it is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority and all Palestinian factions to fulfil this will."

Khader Adnan is the 237th Palestinian to die in Israeli jails, and the 113th among them to have his body withheld by Israeli authorities.