By James M. Wall. This article first appeared on Wall Writings
Khader Adnan is a 33-year-old Palestinian graduate student, who, until he was arrested by Israeli police on December 17, 2011, lived in the occupied West Bank with his wife and two young daughters.
Their home is in the village of Arrabe, near Jenin.
Adnan has not been charged with any crime. Instead, he has been placed under administrative detention, the set of laws that are hideous holdovers from the British Mandate era.
Israel uses administrative detention to arrest and hold Palestinians for any purpose. Eight weeks after his initial arrest, Adnan has still not been charged.
The day after his arrest, Adnan began a hunger strike to protest the administrative detention laws under which he was placed, literally, in chains.
Eight weeks later, he continues his hunger strike and by so doing has become a hero to Palestinians who know the power and brutality the laws inflict on persons under total control of the Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA).
In The Palestine Monitor, Dylan Collins writes:
Khader Adnan has quickly become the focal point and symbolic face of the inherent injustice thousands of Palestinians face on a daily basis within the Israeli penal system. Entering into the 56th day of his hunger strike, Adnan is protesting the Israeli Occupation Authority’s (IOA) illegal application of administrative detention and its inhumane treatment of Palestinian detainees.
Israel bases its administrative detention laws, illegal under international law, on Mandate laws, which even Menachem Begin, when he was a political opposition leader before becoming prime minister, denounced as “worse than the Nazi laws.”
Under detention, Israel may hold a prisoner for up to six months without revealing any evidence against him or her. Israeli NGO Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) considers indefinite detention without charge, to be a form of psychological torture.
According to B’Tselem spokesperson Sarit Michaeli, the number of Israel’s administrative detainees is on the rise. In January 2011, Israel held 219 Palestinians in administrative arrest; by December, 2011, that number rose to 307.
Khader Adnan has appealed his current four-month administrative detention order. On February 9, an Israeli court held a day-long special appeal session for Adnan at Zeif medical center. The Israeli military appeals Judge Moshe Tirosh concluded that she was unable to reach a decision on Adnan’s appeal.
The Addameer (Arabic for conscience) Association for Prisoner Support and Human Rights reports that Judge Tirosh is expected to make her decision soon, “though any delay may prove fatal.”
Addameer’s report indicates that Khader Adnan has not been allowed to shower, or change his clothes or underwear since his arrest. On February 7, Adnan’s wife, Randa, and his two young daughters were given permission to visit him for the first time.
His emaciated stature and the boils covering his face and tongue reportedly shocked the family, but he was “mentally aware” enough to “fully express his love.”
This weekend, Adnan will have been on his hunger strike for eight weeks. His health is now considered to have reached a seriously dangerous stage.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) denounced the fact that the Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Centerm has allowed Adnan to be hospitalized in chains, noting that in doing so the hospital is in violation of medical ethics, as well as the instructions of the Israeli Health Ministry and Israeli physicians organizations.
PHR-I’s president, Dr. Ruhama Marton, demanded that the chains be removed. She noted that “the chaining of a prisoner to bed is intended solely for the purpose of humiliating him and causing him physical and mental hardship. The security argument is invalid in this case. The chaining of a patient to a bed is contrary to international law.”
The medical center where Adnan has been chained to his bed, has this to say about itself on its website:
Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Center was founded in Bnei Brak in 1990 by Dr. Moshe Rothschild, as a public/private hospital, in order to provide advanced medical services in the spirit of Halacha (Jewish religious law).
For Dr. Rothschild, a man rich in public service, the Medical Center was his life’s crowning achievement – a modern hospital meeting the highest standards of medicine and technology, and run, down to the smallest details, according to the most meticulous dictates of Halacha, which would provide a warm home for patients in many and varied fields.
In a letter Khader Adnan wrote this weekend from Zeiv Hospital, where he is now receiving treatment, Adnan vowed to continue with his strike.
“I started my battle offering my soul to God almighty and adamant to go ahead until righteousness triumphs over falsehood. I am defending my dignity and my people’s dignity and not doing this in vain.
“The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners. I have been humiliated, beaten, and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey.”
His letter, delivered by Jalal Abu Wasil, a lawyer from the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoner Affairs, who visited him in hospital, added that Adnan refused to be examined by doctors.
“Here I am in a hospital bed surrounded with prison wardens, handcuffed, and my foot tied to the bed. The only thing I can do is offer my soul to God as I believe righteousness and justice will eventually triumph over tyranny and oppression.”
I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on.
“It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and forces the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans.”
Administrative detention as an Israeli policy is the target of Adnan’s hunger strike. Young people (see picture at top) gather in Ramallah to protest Adnan’s detention. Musa Adnan, Khader’s father, had joined his son in the hunger strike. Musa Adnan is pictured at right, talking with a reporter.
On Friday, the Palestinian Authority’s prisoners affairs minister Issa Qaraqe told Ma’an News that Egypt was “intervening with Israel to free Khader Adnan”.
He added that the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad have made calls to several countries asking for their assistance in calling for Adnan’s release.
Issa Qaraqe also announced that Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons have announced that in support of Adnan, they will hold a hunger strike on Sunday
These detainees warned in a letter to the general director of Israel’s prisons, that the situation may escalate if anything happens with Adnan.
They also demanded his release, adding that the prison administration and the Israeli government would be held responsible for his fate. A court ruling on Adnan could be released on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have refused to allow Qaraqe and Adnan’s family members “to check up on his health”.
Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said he is following the case “with concern”. He said he is calling on Israel “to do everything in its power to preserve the health of the prisoner and resolve this case while abiding by all legal obligations under international law.”
There is no indication that any appeals have been made to, or have come from, US authorities.