Victory for Khalil

182-day Palestinian hunger striker to be released

madison4pali on Instagram

Yesterday, we planned to hold a demonstration to #FreeKhalil, the 182-day Palestinian hunger-striker protesting his evidence-free incarceration — but then we learned that Khalil suspended his hunger strike in exchange for an October 2 release, so we canceled our demonstration and instead a handful of us went to the Capitol and covered the State Street entrance with pro-Palestine, pro-resistance, and messages of victory 🇵🇸❤️‍🔥

Khalil Awawdeh Announces End to Hunger Strike

The Palestinian hunger striker, whose images shocked the world amid his more than 170-day strike, has ended his strike after striking a deal to be released


Palestinian administrative prisoner Khalil Awawdeh, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 170 days with a two week pause, is seen at Assaf Harofeh hospital in Be’er Ya’akov, Israel, last week. Credit: Sinan Abu Mayzer/Reuters

Hagar Shezaf, Haaretz, Aug 31, 2022

Khalil Awawdeh, whose lawyers have warned he could die at any moment over 170 days into his hunger strike, announced that he is ending his strike after an agreement was reached to end his administrative detention on October 2nd.

In a video, Awawdeh said he will stay in the hospital for treatment and supervision until he recovers.

“This is another victory in the series of wins for administrative detainees who led a struggle for their release and freedom. I am ending the strike after I received word of my victory.”

Awawdeh’s wife celebrated the news of her husband’s release. “Khalil proved that the Palestinian prisoner can achieve victory over the occupation.”

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad said the “historic campaign he led will be recorded in the annals of Palestinian struggle.”

A senior Egyptian source told Haaretz that Egyptian officials were part of backdoor talks with Israel to secure Awawdeh’s release, which was apparently a condition promised as part of the recent ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip. The source added that talks to secure senior Islamic Jihad commander Bassam al-Saadi’s release are still under way.

Back by an Egyptian guarantee, Awawdeh signed that he will not return to “terrorist activities” as a condition of his October 2 release, an Israeli security source said, adding that Israel will release him as long as there is no reason to believe otherwise.

Weighing under 90 pounds, Awawdeh’s photos shocked the world and led world leaders to urge Israel to either release him or charge him in court. On Tuesday, Israel’s High Court rejected a petition demanding his release and an end to his administrative detention, a practice employed by Israel to hold political prisoners indefinitely without trial.

Dr. Bettina Birmans, a neurologist who volunteers at Physicians for Human Rights visited Awawdeh last Friday. In her opinion, which was submitted with the petition for his release, Birmans said that compared to summaries of previous tests Awawdeh has undergone, there has been a deterioration in his condition – he can barely move his limbs, is unable to complete sentences, suffers from weakness and pain throughout his body, and is experiencing deterioration of his eyesight, memory, and cognitive function.

Israel has provided few details about the accusations facing Awawdeh. An Israeli military spokesperson said last week his detention had been confirmed several times by military courts “and it was determined that the confidential material in his case indicates that his release will threaten the security of the area.”

Awawdeh was recently transferred from Ramle Prison to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel due to his failing health.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military temporarily suspended the administrative detention order against Awawdeh because his condition was deteriorating. However, Israel’s High Court rejected an appeal to release him — the judges wrote that the court has no room to intervene in the decision to keep Awawdeh under arrest despite his condition.

Israel’s top court rejects 2nd petition to release Awawdeh

A video showing Khalil Awawdeh and the toll his detention has taken on his body was shared on Monday, where he urged the world to stop Israel from detaining Palestinians without charge.

Awawdeh was detained on 27 December last year near Hebron in the southern West Bank [Getty]
Awawdeh was detained on 27 December last year near Hebron in the southern West Bank [Getty]

New Arab Staff, 30 August, 2022

The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a second petition to release Khalil Awawdeh, a Palestinian prisoner detained without charge by Israeli forces, on the 171st day of his hunger strike to protest his administrative detention.

The Israeli government, judiciary and military continue to illegally practice administrative detention, according to rights group Adalah, and are consequently endangering Awawdah’s life.

Administrative detention is “incarceration without trial or charge, alleging that a person plans to commit a future offense,” according to B’TSelem’s website, a Jerusalem based human rights organisation.

“The systematic violation of the most basic human rights of Palestinians amounts to crimes against humanity, which necessitate immediate international action,” tweeted Adalah on Tuesday. 

A video of Khalil Awawdeh was shared by the Samidoun Network on Twitter on Monday, showing the toll his detention and hunger strike has taken on his body. 

“Oh, free people of the world,” Awahdeh said in the video, “this suffering body, of which nothing remains but skin and bones, does not reflect a weakness and vulnerability of the Palestinian people, but rather is a mirror reflecting the true face of the occupation which claims to be a ‘democratic state’, at a time when it holds a prisoner without any charges in the brutal administrative detention, taking a stand against it, to say: No to administrative detention! No to administrative detention!”

“We are a people who have a just cause that will remain a just cause, and we will always stand against administrative detention, this injustice, even if the skin is gone, even if the bone deteriorates, even if the soul is gone,” he added. 

Awawdeh was detained on 27 December last year near Hebron in the southern West Bank. He has since been abused by prison authorities, and subjected to solitary confinement.

Continue reading

Khalil Awawdeh’s time is running out


Palestinian detainee Khalil Awawdeh

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, 30 Aug 2022

Geneva – Palestinian administrative detainee Khalil Awawdeh is suffering from an acute case of dyspnea and severe problems in all his vitals due to his continued hunger strike. His time is rapidly running out, Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.

Awawdeh's health condition has become more critical than ever as he has been on hunger strike since 3 March (more than 170 days) in protest of the Israeli authorities’ refusal to release him.

The detainee emphasized that his continued detention, given his deteriorating health, means he is sentenced to a slow death.

Awawdeh's case requires immediate intervention from all parties involved to preserve his life and end his ongoing suffering since his administrative detention on 27 December 2021.

   The suffering of Palestinian detainee Khalil Awawdeh from severe breathing difficulties clearly indicates that his life could end at any moment   

Nour Olwan, Euro-Med Monitor’s Chief Media Officer

Today, the Israeli Supreme Court will hear an appeal by Awawdeh's lawyer to release him, based on a medical report documenting his significant deterioration in recent days.

The wife of Awawdeh, who lies at the Israeli Assaf Harofeh hospital, told the Euro-Medi Monitor team that her husband has major breathing problems, a sharp drop in haemoglobin and blood sugar levels, and he is unable to speak, walk, or move his limbs. Moreover, he suffers from a significant decline in awareness and cognition and severe weight loss.

Following his arrest last year, an Israeli court issued a six-month administrative detention order against Awawdeh, which was later extended for another four months.

On 19 August, an Israeli court froze the administrative detention order against him but refused to release him, meaning he could be transferred from the hospital back to the prison if his health improves.

Khalil Awawdeh, 40, is from Idhna in the Hebron governorate in the southern West Bank. He has four daughters, the oldest of whom is nine years old and the youngest is one and a half.

Following a widely practised policy of administrative detention in the Palestinian territories, Israeli authorities arbitrarily confiscate the freedom of Palestinian civilians. As of August, the number of administrative detainees has surpassed 720.

Administrative detainees are held for months or years without indictment, and lawyers are frequently denied access to the evidence the court relies on for extending detention orders. The evidence is allegedly classified intelligence information, in blatant violation of fair trial guarantees and conditions.

Continue reading

Photos of Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike raise concerns


A protest in solidarity with Khalil Awawdeh, a Palestinian prisoner who is on hunger strike, 1 August 2022 [Mahmoud Nasser/ApaImages]

Middle East Monitor, August 29, 2022

Photos of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh, who has been held in Israeli administrative detention without charges, went viral on social media yesterday, raising concerns about the deterioration of his health.

The pictures showed Awawda, 40, with a slender body resembling a skeleton as a result of his hunger strike, which has been ongoing for the 169th day successively.

Awawdeh is from the town of Ithna, west of Hebron. He has been on hunger strike for more than six months in protest against his administrative detention by the Israeli authorities.


Photos of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh, who has been held in Israeli administrative detention without charges, went viral on social media yesterday, raising concerns about the deterioration of his health [Al Watan]

Earlier this month, an Israeli court suspended Awawdeh’s detention to allow him to receive medical care, citing his failing health.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club said that the decision to freeze Awawdeh’s detention based on medical data and reports by the hospital indicate that his life is in danger. But if his health condition improves and he decides to leave the hospital, his administrative detention will resume immediately, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club added.

EU calls for release of Palestinian hunger striker Awawdeh, Al Jazeera, 29 Aug 2022
 

Giant eye murals bear witness to Palestinians in Jerusalem

Murals that are part of the public art project 'I Witness Silwan' depicting the eyes of local and international figures, including George Floyd, a Black American killed by police, top right, in the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. Eyes are always open in this flashpoint district. Now, new eyes emerged; they were painted on the walls of the decaying Palestinian homes. The eye murals, and graffiti of Palestinian symbols, are so giant that make you feel they are watching you wherever you walk in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)
Murals that are part of the public art project ‘I Witness Silwan’ depicting the eyes of local and international figures, including George Floyd, a Black American killed by police, top right, Aug. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)

Associated Press, August 27, 2022

JERUSALEM — A group of artists has filled a Palestinian area of east Jerusalem with paintings of large, wide-open eyes. The murals are a reminder that all eyes are on the neighborhood of Silwan, a flashpoint where Palestinians say Israeli forces and settlers are working to drive them out of their homes.

Palestinian children walk between murals that are part of the public art project 'I Witness Silwan', in the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. At right are the eyes of Silwan Community Member Nihad Siyam; at left, eyes inside two poppies, which Palestinians call their national flower. Eyes are always open in this flashpoint district. Now, new eyes emerged; they were painted on the walls of the decaying Palestinian homes. The eye murals, and graffiti of Palestinian symbols, are so giant that make you feel they are watching you wherever you walk in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)
Palestinian children walk between murals in the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, Aug. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)

The eye murals are so giant that they make you feel they are watching you wherever you walk in the neighborhood. Many are painted on the walls of decaying Palestinian homes alongside national symbols.

“The staring eyes say to people that we see them and they should see us too," says Jawad Siyam, director of Madaa-Silwan Creative Center.

“We want to say that we are here — we love our land and our home.”

Since 2015, the center has worked with U.S. artists to create the murals and maintain them. In total, they have made about 2,000 feet of graffiti and paintings.

Israeli border police stand on a street lined with Palestinian homes painted in murals including one depicting goldfinches and an olive tree, that are part of the public art project 'I Witness Silwan' in the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. Palestinian and American artists have painted giant murals in an east Jerusalem district. The art project is meant to draw attention to the suffering of Palestinian residents of Silwan, a neighborhood near the Old City, who face Israeli arrests, home raids, demolitions, and the threat of evictions. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)
Israeli border police stand on a street lined with Palestinian homes painted in murals including one depicting goldfinches and an olive tree, Aug. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)

The “I Witness Silwan” art project depicts the eyes of Palestinian and international leaders and influencers. It also features symbols such as the goldfinch and poppy, which Palestinians call their national flower.

Organizers say the art project aims at drawing attention to the displacements the Palestinians face in this neighborhood near the Old City of Jerusalem.

Murals that are part of the public art project 'I Witness Silwan' depicting the eyes of local and international figures are painted on houses in the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. Eyes are always open in this flashpoint district. Now, new eyes emerged; they were painted on the walls of the decaying Palestinian homes. The eye murals, and graffiti of Palestinian symbols, are so giant that make you feel they are watching you wherever you walk in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)
Murals on houses in Silwan, Aug. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)

Israel occupied Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed the holy city as its indivisible capital. The Palestinians claim the eastern part as the capital of their future state. Peace talks between the two sides ground to a halt years ago.

The Silwan project says it aims to counter Israeli settler groups that work to boost the Jewish presence in predominantly Arab or Palestinian areas of the contested holy city.

An Israeli border police officer watches Israeli Jewish settlers walk on a street lined with Palestinian homes painted in murals in the Silwan neighbourhood of east Jerusalem, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. A group of artists has filled a Palestinian area of east Jerusalem with paintings of large, wide-open eyes. The murals are a reminder that all eyes are on the neighborhood of Silwan, a flashpoint where Palestinians say Israeli forces and settlers are working to drive them out of their homes. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)
An Israeli border police officer watches Israeli Jewish settlers walk on a street lined with Palestinian homes, Aug. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/ Mahmoud Illean)

Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem face Israeli arrests, home raids, demolitions, and the threat of evictions. Israeli rights group B’Tselem says Israel is “enjoying far-reaching powers with no accountability for their actions" in running the lives of Palestinians in the area.

Continue reading

Free Ahmad Manasra: Demand his immediate release

For the past seven years, since he was only 13, Ahmad Manasra has been imprisoned by Israel, where Israeli authorities have abused him, tortured him, and are now holding him under solitary confinement.

The Israeli Prison Authorities have postponed the court hearing for his solitary confinement for the third time, to Tuesday, August 16. The United Nations states that solitary confinement longer than 15 days is torture — and Ahmad has spent seven months in solitary confinement.

Ahmad never should have been unjustly imprisoned in the first place. Now he has been subjected to the Israeli military and prisons’ brutal violence over and over with severe consequences on his physical and mental health.

Raise your voice now to demand Ahmad’s immediate release! Use this click-to-tweet tool and tell your members of Congress to speak up to #FreeAhmadManasra.

JUNE 28, 2022
URGENT CALL TO ACTION

FREE SAMI HURAINI, YOUTH OF SUMUD LEADER ARRESTED BY ISRAEL

As Israel threatens the homes of 1,000+ Palestinians in Masafer Yatta, Israel’s occupying army is trying to silence a leading youth organizer. Speak up!

RAISE YOUR VOICE:
• Uplift Youth of Sumud’s post and their work on Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook.
• Share these posts decrying Sami’s arrest by PIPD & USCPR.
• Share this 2 minute clip of Sami & his sister Sameeha’s demands for justice.

Sami needs your solidarity: Tweet #FreeSamiHuraini now! #DefendMasaferYatta

SAMPLE TWEET:

    URGENT: Israel’s army just arrested prominent Palestinian activist Sami Huraini of Masafer Yatta, known for leading resistance with @YouthOfSumud against Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes.

For years, Sami Huraini and his community organization Youth of Sumud have defended his community, Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills, from relentless Israeli settler and military violence simply for living in their homeland. For instance, last fall Sami decried an Israeli government-backed pogrom in which settlers fractured the skull of a 3-year old Palestinian child. And last month, Sami Huraini woke up to Israeli soldiers invading his village. Soldiers now bring tanks, guns, military bulldozers, and attack helicopters into their communities daily as part of a deliberate plan, backed by Israel’s colonial court system, to push more than 1,000 Palestinians out of their homes to steal their land for exclusive use by Israeli settlers and the occupying army who enable their invasion of the Palestinian homeland.

Recently, Israel escalated its attacks against Sami and his local community organization: two weeks ago, Israel’s occupying army issued a demolition notice on their Youth of Sumud community center. Then today, June 28, 2022, they arrested Sami. Like every Palestinian, he expects no rights or due process in courts with a more than 99% conviction rate. Israel’s carceral system is extraordinarily cruel, for instance also today denying early release for Ahmad Manasra, who has been incarcerated by Israel since age 13 and endured torture. Justice for Sami depends on international outcry. The fight continues until Sami, Ahmad, and every Palestinian prisoner is freed to their loved ones’ arms.

LEARN MORE:
Instagram live with Sami & Sameeha Huraini
Background on Youth of Sumud
Background on Sami’s organizing

June 14, 2022
No Way to Treat a Child Webinar

Please join the #nowaytotreatachild campaign co-leaders from Defense for Children International – Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a webinar on June 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific time.

The webinar will share updates on Palestinian children’s human rights, including updates on Palestinian children who have been detained, killed, used as human shields, and had their homes demolished by Israeli authorities. We’ll also discuss how to approach our advocacy work in the long term to ensure it is sustainable while keeping grassroots supporters and elected officials engaged.

Background

Approximately 2.9 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, of which around 45 percent are children under the age of 18.

Palestinian children in the West Bank, like adults, face arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment under an Israeli military detention system that denies them basic rights.

Since 1967, Israel has operated two separate legal systems in the same territory. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli settlers are subject to the civilian and criminal legal system whereas Palestinians live under military law.

Israel applies civilian criminal law to Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military courts.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that automatically and systematically prosecutes children in military courts that lack fundamental fair trial rights and protections. Israel prosecutes between 500 and 700 Palestinian children in military courts each year.

Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report Children in Israeli Military Detention Observations and Recommendations.

Children typically arrive to interrogation bound, blindfolded, frightened, and sleep deprived.

Children often give confessions after verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence that in some cases amounts to torture.

Israeli military law provides no right to legal counsel during interrogation, and Israeli military court judges seldom exclude confessions obtained by coercion or torture.

    ABOUT #NOWAYTOTREATACHILD’S WEBINARS AND ZOOM:
    For this webinar, we will be using the Zoom platform. Additional instructions and details for joining the webinar will be shared by email with individuals that have registered.

    WHEN
    June 14, 2022 at 8:00pm – 9pm
    WHERE
    Online via Zoom
    CONTACT
    Brad Parker · info@nowaytotreatachild.org

    Register for the Webinar

Continue reading

Palestinian Administrative Detainees Boycotting Court Proceedings

Read B’Tselem’s full paper on boycotting military courts

Dear Friends,

It’s a show the Israeli regime has been staging for years, by now casting thousands of Palestinians in it against their will. Week after week, month after month, administrative detainees are led handcuffed into courtrooms and hear what military prosecutors and judges have to say about them – and especially, what they do not say.

Act I: The prosecutor, a uniformed soldier, sternly proclaims that “the detainee is a threat to area security”. The judge, also a uniformed soldier, nods in assent. The defense counsel asks – why? Where is the evidence? Why not indict him? The prosecutor replies that all the answers are in the classified material the Israel Security Agency (ISA) submitted to the court. The judge nods.

Act II: The detainee and his defense counsel are taken out of the courtroom. The judge examines the ISA material alone. It is all classified. The detainee and his counsel are brought back in. The judge nods again and signs off on the detention order, at most shortening it by a few weeks. The detainee is taken back to prison, still handcuffed, still clueless as to why the judge nodded and why did he decide that he should remain in detention.

Act III (a few months later): The detainee has served the time stipulated in the order and is preparing to go home. Just then, the guard hands him another detention order. The show begins again: handcuffs, a court hearing, classified material, a nod from the judge, and back to prison. Still without knowing why, or until when.

And so it goes. One detention follows another, orders are issued and renewed, and the judge approves them based on classified material. Time and time again.

Over the years, administrative detainees have tried to protest these detentions. There were petitions and campaigns, several detainees went on hunger strikes, some of them almost to the point of death. Nothing helped. The Israeli regime carries on with more and more detention orders, and more and more administrative detainees.

Then, the detainees decided to quit the show. Since the beginning of 2022, Palestinian administrative detainees have boycotted the court hearings in their cases. After all, the show was never meant for their benefit, it was only meant to legitimize the detentions and deflect criticism. See, it’s not only the regional military commander who signed the order, but an actual judge!

Over the last four months, Palestinian administrative detainees have not attended court hearings in their cases. One of them explained: “It is my right not to be present in so-called court hearings, which are an arbitrary procedure controlled by the occupation. Administrative detention is unlawful, and the occupation regime’s intelligence services and so-called legal system are illegitimate. I do not recognize the lawfulness of these legal proceedings, of the court and of administrative detention.”

And then it became apparent that despite appearances, the detainees do not play the lead role or even a supporting one in their own hearings. The Israeli regime does not need them to keep the show running. They are silent extras. For four months now, the show has gone on as usual, minus the detainees and their lawyers. The military prosecutor makes his statements, the judge nods and approves the order.

Administrative detention is a cruel, draconian measure. Detainees suffer not only incarceration in rough conditions, cut off from their family, friends and daily life, but also unbearable uncertainty regarding why they are there and for how long. Yet Israel uses this measure extensively against Palestinians, with the ongoing approval of legal advisors, military judges, and the Supreme Court.

All these seals of approval do not render Israel’s use of administrative detention lawful or just. As is the case in a myriad of issues concerning Israel’s regime of Jewish supremacy over Palestinians, here too, the Israeli legal system does not serve justice nor seeks to do so. It seeks only to represent the interests of the apartheid regime and to perpetuate it in the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Sincerely,
Yael Stein
Director of Research