News / Middle East

Palestinian Hunger Striker Stirs Emotions

Palestinians hold flags and photographs during a protest in solidarity with Adnan, and for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, in the West Bank city of Nablus, February 8, 2012.
Palestinians hold flags and photographs during a protest in solidarity with Adnan, and for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, in the West Bank city of Nablus, February 8, 2012.
Robert Berger

A lengthy hunger strike by a Palestinian prisoner of Israel is stirring up emotions in the West Bank and Gaza and putting Israel on edge.

A Palestinian prisoner from the Islamic Jihad group, Khader Adnan, was in the 58th day of a hunger strike Sunday. He is protesting Israel’s policy of administrative detention - meaning that he can be held without trial on grounds that he is a terror threat.

Adnan’s lawyer Mahmoud Hassanta says the condition of the 33-year-old prisoner has deteriorated and his life in danger.

The prisoner’s father, Moussa Adnan, is worried.

"My son used to weigh 91 kilos,” he said, “but now he weighs just 54 kilos and his hair is falling out.”

In a brief statement, the Israeli military said Adnan is a terrorist who poses a threat to national security and he is being held according to the law.  The prison service says it wants to keep him alive and has permission to force feed him if necessary.

Islamic Jihad issued a warning.

Appearing on Israeli television, an activist for the group vowed that if Adnan dies, armed Palestinian factions would launch revenge attacks against Israel.

With more than 4,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, the prisoners are an explosive issue on the Palestinian street.  After a long period of calm, Israel fears that a prisoner - become “martyr” could spark violent protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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