Hundreds of Palestinian detainees begin boycott of Israeli court hearings after 140 days of hunger strike
Palestinians held in administrative detention in Israeli prisons announced they will boycott Israeli court hearings as of 1 January. The announcement was confirmed by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club association on Sunday.
The move comes in protest against the Israeli policy of administrative detention, which gives Israeli military authorities the powers to detain Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable periods of up to six months.
All of the 500 Palestinian detainees held under these rules in Israeli jails, from all political affiliations, joined the boycott, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club. They include four minors and one woman.
"This a unanimous decision that came after internal debate between prisoners' organisations," Amani Sarahnah, spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, told The New Arab.
"Through boycotting court hearings, Palestinian detainees seek to show that the Israeli military court system is a mere formality where there is no hope for defence... especially for administrative detainees, who don't even receive charges and are arrested based on secret information."
Currently, approximately 500 out of the 4,550 Palestinian political prisoners are jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. https://t.co/CTixSUCSd1— Samidoun Network (@SamidounPP) January 3, 2022
The announcement came at the same time that 40-year-old Palestinian Hisham Abu Hawash reached 140 days of hunger strike, protesting his administrative detention.
Abu Hawash was transferred to an Israeli civil hospital last week after a deterioration in his health, while Israeli authorities froze his detention orders to allow family visits.
His brother, Imad Abu Hawash, told The New Arab that Hisham "is dying".
The detainee has lost mobility in his lower body as well as his ability to talk, he said.
"Hisham is losing consciousness every two or three hours and can't even take water properly."
Students at Birzeit University took part in a vigil in solidarity with the Palestinian detainee, Hisham Abu Hawash, who has been on hunger strike for 140 days protesting his administrative detention inside Israeli occupation prisons, in the center of the occupied of West Bank. pic.twitter.com/xbPyGKmen8— Palestinian Eve Network+🇵🇸 (@PalEvePlus) January 3, 2022
Palestinians rallied in the West Bank on Monday in support of the detainees' decision and Hisham Abu Hawash's hunger strike.
In Um Al-Fahm, Israel, security forces dispersed a protest on Sunday held by Palestinians in support of Hisham Abu Hawash.
Protests were also held in Jerusalem and in front of the Israeli Asaf Harofeh Hospital, where Abu Hawash is residing.
Israel has intensified administrative detention orders following the wave of protests in the occupied Palestinian Territories and East Jerusalem last May, with up to 200 detention orders in that month alone, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.