Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners could go on hunger strike over Israel's indefinite detention orders

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners could go on hunger strike over Israel's indefinite detention orders
The Palestinian Prisoners' Club say that Israel has increased the number of administrative detention orders for detainees in recent months.
3 min read
West Bank
19 May, 2022
Currently some 600 Palestinians are held without charges in Israeli jails [Qassam Muaddi/TNA]

ِPalestinian detainees held in Israeli jails without charge could launch a collective hunger strike to demand an end to administrative detention orders, the Palestinian Prisoners' Club told The New Arab on Thursday.

Indefinite detention without charge, known as administrative detention, is used by Israel to jail hundreds of Palestinians without trial and no date set for their release. Renewal orders can keep them detained indefinitely.

Some 600 Palestinian administrative detainees have boycotted Israeli court hearings since January, demanding an end to the practice, and could soon launch a collective hunger strike.

"Israeli authorities have not responded to the detainees' move until now," Ayah Shreiteh, the spokesperson for the Prisoners’ Club, told The New Arab.

"The detainees' leadership communicated to us that they are planning a new series of escalating moves that go all the way up to a collective hunger strike. There will be other protest moves that will be announced at their moment but a collective hunger strike as an option is present."

Administrative detention relies on 'secret information' passed on from Israeli secret services to military courts who often issue renewal orders of up to six months.

"Since the court hearings boycott started, lawyers have stopped attending the hearings on behalf of the detainees," Sahar Francis, director of the Palestinian Addameer prisoner support association, told The New Arab.

"This means that the Israeli military judges meet with the secret services and decide the detention renewals alone, without due process," she pointed out.

"This situation makes a collective hunger strike a real option especially after several detainees underwent individual hunger strikes last year."

Although these detainees won their freedom, the system of administrative detention continues.

In 2021, seven Palestinian administrative detainees went on hunger strikes demanding their release. The longest-lasting hunger strike was taken up by Hisham Abu Hawash, who reached a deal with Israeli prison authorities for his release after 141 days without food.

Currently, two Palestinian administrative detainees are on individual hunger strikes.

Khalil Awawdeh, aged 40, is on his 78th day without food, and Raed Rayan, 27, entered his 42nd day of hunger strike.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, Israel has increased the number of administrative detention orders in recent months, with some 150 issued since April.

Currently, some 600 Palestinians are being held in administrative detention in Israeli jails, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.