Our Decision is Freedom — ‘No’ to Administrative Detention

Palestinian Administrative Detainees Declare Boycott of Israeli Military Courts

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, January 20, 2022

Palestinian Administrative Detainees Letter [English].pdf

In 2021, the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime deployed extraordinary violence against the Palestinian people, a key feature of which has been the expansion of the mass arbitrary arrests and detention of Palestinian men, women, and children. Under this carceral framework, Israeli occupation authorities have particularly increased their reliance on administrative detention, a procedure in which detainees are held without charge or trial based on “secret information” for an indefinite time. By the end of 2021, the Israeli military commander in the West Bank region issued 1595 administrative detention orders, including the renewal of previous orders and issuing new ones.

The Israeli occupation has increasingly employed administrative detention as an arbitrary, coercive, and punitive measure of torture against hundreds of Palestinian detainees. Such expansion comes amid and in parallel with the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime’s systematic harassment campaign against Palestinian civil society, most recently with the criminalization of six leading Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) in October 2021. Throughout, the Israeli military judicial system plays an integral role in facilitating the expansion of administrative detention, and more broadly, in sustaining and feeding the establishment of a comprehensive Israeli apartheid apparatus over the occupied territories.

Israeli occupation authorities increasingly rely on administrative detention to muzzle Palestinian human rights defenders, student and political activists, and target children. Often, administrative detention is leveraged to punish Palestinians undertaking outstanding hunger strikes in protest of their administrative detention, including Hisham Abu Hawash, or to harass further and coerce released Palestinian political prisoners, as is the most recent case with lawyer Bashir Khairi. In 2021, six Palestinian children, three Palestinian women, and eight Palestinian Legislative Council members were held under administrative detention.

On 20 December 2021, Palestinian administrative detainees, 500 in total, announced their collective and comprehensive boycott of Israeli military courts, to begin 1 January 2022, under the campaign ‘Our Decision is Freedom… No to Administrative Detention.[1] This comes in light of the developments mentioned above, which represent a dangerous approach by the Israeli occupation to repress all facets of Palestinian life and struggle for liberty. The boycott includes Israeli military courts at all levels, including courts of first instance, appellate courts, and the Israeli civil High Court. Accordingly, Palestinian administrative detainees will refuse to participate in court procedures and hearings; their legal counsel will no longer attend or participate in the court procedures on their behalf.

In line with the Palestinian administrative detainees’ boycott of Israeli military courts, Addameer echoes the call for solidarity and to demand that local and international human rights institutions and State parties call on the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime to end its policy of administrative detention and release all administrative detainees currently held in Israeli occupation prisons.

The illegality of Israeli military courts goes beyond serious violations of the right to a fair trial—the basis of their establishment and jurisdiction itself is a grave breach of international standards and principles. The Israeli military judicial system is also inherently bound up with the use of ill-treatment and torture against Palestinians, especially during the interrogation process.

Seeking to better the fair trial standards in Israeli military courts is redundant; all efforts should be made to end the trial of Palestinian civilians in Israeli military courts and abolish the Israeli occupation itself. The international community must end its continuous silence and hold the Israeli occupation accountable for the various grave breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law. Such actions are imperative to maintain international peace and justice for the sake of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian political prisoners, the quest for liberty, justice, and dignity.


[1] The letter and call to action written by Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli occupation prisons is attached above.

BREAKING: HISHAM WILL BE RELEASED IN FEBRUARY!

Jewish Voice for Peace, January 4, 2022

We are overjoyed that he will return to his family and moved by his courage and perseverance in the face of unjust detention. He is continuing his hunger strike until he sees the signature of release on his documents. Hopefully, he can end the strike soon and make a full and swift recovery 🙏

Hisham abu Hawash began striking 141 days ago to protest his indefinite detention by Israel without charge or trial. His resistance is testimony to Israel’s failure to break Palestinians’ will and to suppress their struggle for freedom and justice.

We will continue to fight for the end of administrative detention and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners. #FreeThemAll

Imprisoned Without Charge or Trial

Free hunger strikers now!

Urgent – Photo of Hisham Abu Hawash at 133 days of hunger strike as of December 27th 2021.

Hisham Abu Hawash is the last prisoner on hunger strike of the group that began in the summer of 2021.  On December 26th he was transferred to an Israeli hospital after a severe deterioration in his health. He has severe mineral deficiencies and is no longer able to talk or move unassisted. 

PLEASE SIGN & SHARE this petition to help free all hunger strikers & other administrative detainees, all imprisoned without charged or trial. 

Palestinian prisoners stage hunger strikes in protest of their administrative detention – imprisonment without charges or a trial. Prisoners staging hunger strikes are at risk of serious long-term health affects, as well as sudden death due to dehydration and lack of essential nutrients. Why would they risk their health this way? The answer is clear – according to B’tselem in Israel, “the detainees have no real opportunity to mount a reasonable defense against the allegations” and have little recourse other that striking to gain their freedom under a policy the gives impunity to the Israeli occupation to imprison them indefinitely."

In Israeli occupation military prisons there are a total of 540+ Palestinians who are being held under the pretense of administrative detention. There are many who have been held for years without ever having the opportunity to prove their innocence or view the supposed evidence being used to justify their imprisonment. 

These prisoners often:

  • are denied access to their lawyers
  • are denied access to regular family visits
  • are placed in solitary confinement as punishment for hunger striking

We want to bring them all home!! 

WHAT IS ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION? HOW IS IT USED BY ISRAEL?

Administrative detention is imprisonment without formal charge or trail, and in the case of how it is used by the Israeli occupation, often of a length of one to six months that is indefinitely renewable. Individuals imprisoned under Administrative Detention by the occupation, almost exclusively Palestinians, can spend years in prison without ever being formally charged, knowing why they were arrested, or ever seeing the supposed evidence being used to justify their imprisonment. Individual are arrested on the orders of the regional military commander and detained under the pretense of security based on supposed secret intelligence which neither the detainee nor their lawyers are allowed to review, verify, or refute to prove their innocence. (B'selem.org, Addameer.org)

According to B’tselem, “Israel also exploits this measure to detain Palestinians for their political opinions and for engaging in non-violent political activity.”

It is clear that Israel’s use of administrative detention does not align with International Humanitarian Law and is more often than not used to target and silence Palestinian activists, protestors or anyone who shows any dissent for the occupation, which is a gross misuse of such an extreme power. We must send a clear message to the Israeli Government that the use of this policy is unjust and not supported by the international community.

PETITION GOALS AND DEMANDS

By signing this petition, you are part of a worldwide movement to free all hunger strikers, release all administrative detainees and end the mis-use of administrative detention by the Israeli occupation.

We, the undersigned:

  • Demand the immediate release of all Palestinian administrative detainees on hunger strike to avoid serious long-term health complications for detainees or loss of life: Kayed Fasfous, Miqdad Qawasmeh, Alaa Al Raj, Hisham Abu Hawash, Shadi Abu Aker and Ayyad Hraimi
  • Demand the subsequent immediate release of all Palestinians administrative detainees held in occupation prisons, or at the very latest the date of their case review 
  • Demand that Israel ceases the use of administrative detention to arbitrarily imprison Palestinians within the oPt (West Bank) and East Jerusalem
  • Demand that any future arrest of Palestinians (in the oPT or within Israel) follow the protocols of International Humanitarian Law that guarantee individuals know why they are being arrested and are granted proper judicial process (formal charges and trails) where individuals are able to examine the evidence presented against them and prove their innocence

PLEASE SIGN & SHARE the Petition

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Hisham Abu Hawash on 138th day of hunger strike


As 2022 dawns, Hisham Abu Hawash — Palestinian prisoner jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention — is on his 138th day of hunger strike.  His life and health are at risk at every moment, and the Israeli occupation bears full responsibility for his survival. Abu Hawash, the father of five, is putting his life on the line in order to put an end to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. 

Abu Hawash is about to be joined on 1 January 2022 by the collective boycott of his fellow administrative detainees. The 500 Palestinians (out of over 4,500 total Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails) held without charge or trial under administrative detention will refuse to go before the Israeli military courts from this point forward. They demand this sham system come to an end. 

As the world is marking New Year’s Eve, Samidoun Deutschland took to the streets of Berlin, with fireworks all around, to highlight the case of Abu Hawash and demand his immediate release. Watch and share the video here:

All of this points to why organizing is necessary to defend Palestinian prisoners and struggle for the liberation of Palestine. 

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is a people-supported movement. As a grassroots organization without foundation funding or full-time staff, your generosity is absolutely critical to continuing to build our work to support Palestinian liberation.  Make your US tax-deductible donation today, or donate safely and securely from around the world. 

Alternately, checks and money orders may be written and mailed to:

    AFGJ/Samidoun
    225 E. 26th St., Ste. 1
    Tucson, A.Z. 85713-2925
    U.S.A.

Thank you to everyone who has already supported this work — not only with your financial generosity, but with your action, involvement and participation for Palestine. We salute your commitment to the struggle for justice and liberation, in Palestine and around the world. 

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Urgent Letter to UN Concerning Detainee Hisham Abu Hawash

Ref: 61/2021
Date: 30 December 2021

Due to the serious deterioration in the health condition of administrative detainee, Hisham Abu Hawash, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) sent an urgent letter to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on 30 December 2021, calling for an immediate intervention and pressuring the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) to release Abu Hawash immediately and unconditionally.

PCHR indicated in the letter that Abu Hawash (39), from Dura city in Hebron, has been on hunger strike for 137 days in protest to his administrative detention. Abu-Hawash is fighting for his life despite the serious deterioration of his health. On 23 December 2021, the Israeli Prison Service ordered to transfer him to Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tel Aviv, as he became immobile and unable to speak or hear, and he is in a semicoma. On 26 December 2021, due to the serious deterioration of Abu Haawash’s health condition, his administrative detention was frozen, and his family was allowed visitation, but under the surveillance of hospital guards.

Israeli occupation’s practices against Abu Hawash constitutes a clear violation of the international humanitarian and human rights laws, and a flagrant violation of his right to a fair trial, including his right to receive a proper defense and be informed of any charges against him, which is guaranteed in article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This also violates the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
PCHR stresses that Israeli occupation’s practices against the detainees on hunger-strike reflect its racism and flagrant breaches of human principles and values, particularly as hunger strikes are considered the most difficult choice for prisoners to regain their basic human rights which are guaranteed in all international laws and standards.
PCHR points out that more than 500 Palestinians are currently placed under the illegal administrative detention, which falls under political detention.

New Film on Hebron at the New York Times

Mission: Hebron by Israeli filmmaker Rona Segal was published recently in the opinion section of the New York Times website, and can be watched there (with a subscription) or on YouTube.

Mission: Hebron is a short documentary based on interviews conducted by the director with Breaking the Silence testifiers about their service in Hebron. Describing a horrifying yet mundane routine of manning checkpoints, invading homes, nighttime arrests, and violently dispersing protests, they paint a picture of what serving in the second largest Palestinian city in the occupied territories requires, the atmosphere in the city, their interaction with the local population, both Palestinians and settlers, and how they felt about it all.

Screened around the world at international film festivals, the film won the Shagrir Prize at last year’s Jerusalem Film Festival and is now long-listed for the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary.

November 20, 2021
Palestinian Children in Israel’s Military Detention System

Israeli soldiers knelt on top of 16-year-old Osama while holding him at gunpoint, arrested 17-year-old Qusai in his home at three in the morning, and forced 17-year-old Islam to sleep outside in the cold overnight.

On November 20, Universal Children’s Day, join us for the global premiere of Caging Childhood: Palestinian Children in Israel’s Military Detention System, a new short documentary produced by Defense for Children International – Palestine.

October 12, 2021
No Way to Treat a Child Webinar

On Tuesday, October 12, at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific, please join the No Way to Treat a Child campaign for a webinar to unpack U.S. military funding to Israel. We’ll discuss the different kinds of military funding that the U.S. sends to Israel, share updates from Capitol Hill that affect Palestinians and our advocacy efforts, and hear from grassroots activists working to advance Palestinian human rights.

Sign up for the webinar

Between the Iron Dome supplemental funding vote and the new Two-State Solution Act, it was a busy September with lots to track for Palestinian human rights activists. We’ll go into depth explaining how the recent events in Congress relate back to H.R. 2590 and how you can continue organizing in support of this bill and rights-based policy supporting Palestinian rights.

Everyone who registers will be sent information for how to join via Zoom. If you aren’t able to attend live, please register and I’ll send you the recording a few days after the webinar.

In solidarity,

Miranda Cleland
Digital Communications Manager
Defense for Children International – Palestine

Israeli Prison Denies Release For Daughter’s Funeral

Addameer, July 13, 2021

On 12 July 2021, following several communications submitted to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) for the temporary humanitarian release of Palestinian political prisoner Khalida Jarrar to attend her recently deceased daughter’s funeral, the Israeli Prison Service denied Khalida’s release on political grounds, citing the alleged “security threat” she poses due to her “[negative] leadership role” inside and out of prison. The denial of Khalida Jarrar’s release to mourn the sudden death of her daughter and participate in burial rights stands in stark violation of protected recognition of human dignity and family rights under international law.

Khalida Jarrar’s daughter, Suha Jarrar, was unexpectedly found dead in her apartment in Ramallah on 11 July 2021. Suha, a 30-year-old human rights defender, served as a Research and Advocacy officer for Al-Haq, working with United Nations treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council, specializing in gender, environment, and climate change. In response to Suha’s sudden and tragic death, regional human rights organizations began mobilizing international instruments and advocacy, calling for Khalida’s immediate and unconditional release, on humanitarian grounds, to attend her daughter’s funeral, scheduled for 13 June 2021, and mourn in human dignity. Addameer’s lawyers, representing Khalida, sent forth legal communications with the relevant local occupation authorities appealing for her temporary release. Nevertheless, the Israeli Prison Service responded to the communication, firmly denying the request and any possibility of further entreaty with an index of justifications that allegedly mark Khalida as a “security threat” ineligible for humanitarian considerations.

On 31 October 2019, Khalida Jarrar was detained once again by IOF and held in detention for months before her sentence on 1 March 2021 to 24 months in prison and a fine of 4,000 NIS. During the hearing session, the military prosecutor amended Khalida’s indictment, limiting it solely to her political role and work with the Palestinian Authority, thus establishing no charges against her in affiliation with any military, financial nor organizational activities.[1] Despite the sentence relating to her political activities, the IPS characterized Khalida Jarrar as a “security inmate,” thus falling under a category prohibited from temporary humanitarian release under the Israeli Prison Ordinance No. 03.02.00. In establishing her as a “security inmate”—constituting a “security threat” to the region, the IPS explicitly notes Khalida’s leadership role as a Palestinian Legislative Council member and former director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Her classification as a “security inmate” automatically sets her under more stringent rules and allows for greater violations and restrictions on her basic rights. Moreover, the IPS notes Khalida Jarrar’s “negative influence” inside and outside of prison, coupled with her previous arrests and administrative detention, further confirming the “security threat” she poses if temporarily released. In a base “humanitarian” gesture, the IPS allowed for one short phone call between Khalida Jarrar and her bereaved family.

In listing the purported grounds for the denial of the request for Khalida Jarrar’s humanitarian release to bury her daughter, the Israeli occupation regime explicitly relies on criminalizing Khalida’s political work and human rights activism as a means of establishing her “security threat,” thus depriving her of any inherent human dignity and humanitarian considerations. Furthermore, Israeli occupation authorities cement their determinations by citing her previous arrests and administrative detention, her systematic harassment and targeting by the Israeli occupation regime, never minding the lack of evidentiary grounds for her administrative detention or her most recent sentencing solely addressing her political activities.

Throughout Khalida’s work as a Palestinian civil society leader, former General Director of Addameer, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member, and role in the formulation of Palestine’s application to the ICC, she has been systematically harassed and targeted by the Israeli occupation regime. These efforts come as part of an ongoing Israeli effort to suppress Palestinians’ exercise of political sovereignty and self-determination. Khalida has been detained by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) three times between 2015 and 2019 for an accumulated period of 59 months. Furthermore, Khalida was issued a travel ban in 1998, which was only lifted once in 2010 to receive medical treatment.

The denial of the humanitarian request by the Israeli occupation regime violates the essence of human dignity and family rights protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Fourth Geneva Conventions mandated upon Israel as the Occupying Power. The act confirms the retaliatory and punitive nature of the occupation regime, which denies the most basic humanity to Palestinians and where political activities, affiliation, and leadership are prohibitively taken against their rights and dignity.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association mourns the sudden death of Suha Jarrar and the tragic reality of Israeli military occupation that denies a mother the chance to mourn her daughter and participate in her burial. Notwithstanding, Addameer will continue to call for the immediate release of Khalida Jarrar and is committed to advocating for the actualization of the dignity and rights of Palestinian prisoners.


[1] Addameer, “Continued Targeting of PLC Member Khalida Jarrar,” 1 March 2021, available at: https://www.addameer.org/news/press-release/en/khalidajarra 

ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.