West News Wire: After nearly three months of a hunger strike, prominent Palestinian activist Khader Adnan passed away on Tuesday in an Israeli prison. 

Adnan, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement, had been on a hunger strike since his arrest at his home in Arraba, a town in the occupied West Bank south of Jenin, on February 5 in protest of his detention. 

Following the news of his passing, the Gaza Strip fired rockets into the air, a settler was shot and wounded in the occupied West Bank, and calls for a general strike and demonstrations spread throughout Palestinian cities. 

The 45-year-old is the first Palestinian prisoner to pass away in Israeli captivity due to a hunger strike since 1992. Six other Palestinian detainees died in similar circumstances in different mass hunger strikes in 1970, the early 1980s and 1992. 

Adnan’s health had been in decline over the past few weeks, with his family warning that he was dying and accusing Israel of medical negligence for refusing to transfer him to a civilian hospital. 

According to Israeli authorities, Adnan “refused to undergo medical tests and receive medical treatment” and “was found unconscious in his cell” early in the morning in the Nitzan jail near Ramleh. 

Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), an Israeli advocacy group for human rights, claimed it attempted to persuade Israeli authorities to admit Adnan to a hospital so he could be watched as his health deteriorated but was unsuccessful. 

Adnan was checked by PHRI chairwoman Lina Qasem-Hasan a few days before he passed away, and she came to the conclusion in a medical report that he needed to be taken to the hospital right away for observation. 

According to a statement from PHRI, “these measures, including personal appeals and court interventions with these parties, were futile.

The article continued by saying that Israeli security forces turned down pleas from Adnan’s family to visit him “when it was clear this could be their last meeting”. 

Mohamed al-Qeeq, a former Palestinian prisoner who went on a 94-day hunger strike in 2016, claimed that Adnan’s detention from his house in an occupied territory was against international law. 

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The accusations against Adnan were labelled “fabricated” by Qeeq. He claimed that putting Adnan in administrative detention multiple times and making an effort to convict him were “crimes” meant to keep him behind bars. 

“All these events culminated in his silent assassination without a committee present to look into it or provide answers about what had happened to him,” he told news reporters. 

“He didn’t have weapons, he only took up the most peaceful resistance in the world, his hunger strike, to reject the injustice of the jailer.” 

Amin Shoman, the president of the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Commission for Prisoners and Ex-inmates Affairs, claimed that Adnan’s passing was caused by Israel’s prison administrators’ intentional discrimination against Palestinian inmates. 

“This is a new crime by Israel committed inside its prisons, and it deliberately continues its policy of medical negligence against thousands of prisoners, not responding to their just and humane demands, and turning its back on all international norms and laws,” he told MEE. 

Shoman attributed Adnan’s passing on Israel’s far-right government, which has carried out a number of severe policies aimed at Palestinian detainees. 

If the current Israeli government’s attitudes towards thousands of inmates are allowed to stand, he predicted, “we will see more martyred prisoners in the days and months to come.” 

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza demanded a nationwide strike, and demonstrations were anticipated later in the day. 

Adnan was held by Israel 12 times, spending about eight years in prison, most often under administrative detention, a practise that permits Israel to retain a person without indictment or trial forever, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Association, an NGO that supports detainees.  

Adnan participated in five hunger strikes while he was being held as a detainee and served as a spokesperson for Palestinian detainees.  

After being detained in administrative detention following his arrest in 2004, he staged his first hunger strike in protest. 

A wave of Palestinian inmates imprisoned Israeli administrative custody joined him in his hunger strike in 2012, which lasted 67 days. 


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