KHADER ADNAN HEARING DUE ON 68th DAY OF HUNGER STRIKE

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The Israeli Supreme Court will hear a petition on Thursday against the continued administrative detention of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan, the Palestinian prisoners society said on Sunday.

The military secretariat informed lawyer Jawad Bulus that his appeal against Adnan’s administrative detention order will go before the court in four days, the group said.

Bulus said he had requested an emergency hearing due to Adnan’s critical health condition, after he refused food for 64 days to protest his treatment by Israeli authorities and the practice of detention without charge.

The lawyer said the court had failed to take this into account by scheduling the hearing for his 68th day on hunger strike.

A doctor from Physicians from Human Rights who examined Adnan said he would not survive beyond 70 days without food.

On February 13, Israel’s Ofer military court ruled against the appeal of Adnan’s four-month administrative detention order.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe said at the time that the ruling showed ‘utter disregard for Adnan’s life, effectively condemning him to die.’

Adnan has refused food since his December 17 detention in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. It is the longest hunger strike any Palestinian prisoner has undertaken.

Officials say they are pressing international diplomats to save Adnan’s life. His condition has sparked widespread solidarity protests and hunger strikes in Israeli jails, Gaza and the West Bank.

There are an estimated 307 Palestinians in Israeli administrative detention – held without charge – in Israeli jails.

Meanwhile, the power crisis is continuing in Gaza.

Fuel from Egypt had yet to be transferred to Gaza, despite assurances it would arrive on Sunday to alleviate an energy crisis, a power authority official said Sunday afternoon.

Gaza’s sole power station has stopped functioning since Tuesday, leaving the Gaza Strip with up to 18 hour blackouts each day.

An Egyptian parliamentarian said on Saturday Egypt would pump 500,000 litres of fuel into Gaza per day for the power plant and 100,000 for gas stations.

But the route of the promised fuel into the Gaza Strip appeared to be holding up the delivery.

Egypt wants to stop the passage of fuel through tunnels under the border between the countries, but the official Rafah terminal is not equipped for goods transfers and its development is restricted by an agreement between Egypt, Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

The only alternative route while this agreement is being renegotiated is for the fuel to cross into Israel, and then back into the Gaza Strip through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom terminal, the sole goods transfer point after Israel closed the fuel crossing Nahal Oz in January 2010.

Energy Authority official Ahmad Abu al-Amreen said that while the government does not want to rely on transfers via Israel, which severely restricts the movement of people and goods from the Gaza Strip since it tightened a blockade on the territory in 2007, it will allow shipment via the Israeli crossing temporarily to alleviate the current emergency.

It was not clear whether this solution had been accepted by Egyptian authorities, but Abu al-Amreen said the power authority had not received notification from Egypt about how the fuel would be transferred.

‘We keep contacting the relevant authorities in Egypt, but so far we received no answers,’ he added.

With an icy storm blowing through the Palestinian territories, officials have warned of a humanitarian crisis as the blackouts stop water pumping, sewage facilities, and heating in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniya is visiting Egypt this week in a bid to resolve the crisis.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes fired at the northern Gaza Strip overnight Saturday, leaving four people injured.

The raids hit a blacksmith workshop in the Zaitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City late Saturday, causing extensive damage and wounding one man.

Early Sunday, a home in the city’s Tuffah neighbourhood was hit by a missile, injuring three people. The victims were taken to Shifa hospital in the city for treatment.

Eyewitnesses say Israeli fighter jets continued to hover over the Gaza Strip after the raid.

A statement from the Israeli military said the missiles targeted a ‘weapon manufacturing site, and a terror activity site. Direct hits were confirmed. The targeting of these sites is in response to the rockets fired at Israel.’

Hamas warned on Saturday that Israel was targeting the Gaza Strip to spoil burgeoning progress in a reconciliation deal with West Bank ruling faction Fatah.

The Israeli army said two rockets fired from Gaza exploded in southern Israel on Saturday, and two other missiles hit Israel a day earlier. Forces shelled Gaza east of Breij refugee camp late Friday, and Israeli air strikes injured six people in the Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday.

In Jerusalem, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning, leaving several Palestinians and one police officer injured.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said forces entered the site after stones were thrown at a group of Christian tourists. Police detained three Palestinians inside the compound, he said.

Official PA news agency Wafa said police sealed the entrances to the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and dozens of worshippers remained inside the mosque to defend it against feared attack.

Rosenfeld said the site was not closed to worshippers, adding that forces had ‘prevented disturbances’ and now left the compound.

Tensions at the sacred complex have been heightened after far-right Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin tried to make a publicised visit to the site a week ago, and leaflets were distributed around the city calling to remove ‘Israel’s enemies’ from the site.

Police also blocked Feiglin from entering and briefly closed the holy compound the previous Sunday, saying they feared unrest after the extremist literature circulated the city.

The compound, containing the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is the third holiest site in Islam and abuts the site where Jews believe the ancient Second Temple stood, attracting the far-right to pose the rebuilding of the Jewish site on the sanctuary.

l Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank have seized several hundred dunams of Palestinian land that lies inside zones of Palestinian government control under international agreements, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

Most Israeli settlements, all of which are illegal under international law, lie in Area C, the 62 per cent of the West Bank under full Israeli control since the 1993 Oslo Accords.

But settlers are taking over land designated Area B, which is under Palestinian Authority civil jurisdiction, and Israeli security control, the report on the Israeli daily Ha’aretz said.

Anti-settlement activist Dror Etkes said aerial photographs show Israeli outpost Amona has seized hundreds of dunams of Area B territory, building roads, planting vineyards and taking over a spring on Palestinian land.

Settlers have taken 93 dunams of land from Palestinian village Yanun, near Nablus, the Itamar settlement prevents Palestinian access to other large swathes of Area B territory in its proximity, according to Etkes.

Near Salfit, settler outposts Esh Kodesh and Mitzpeh Ahiya have planted vineyards and crops on Area B lands, including 100 dunams of agricultural land belonging to the Haj Mahmoud family, according to a petition to Israeli court.

Ha’aretz reported that Israel’s Civil Administration, the military department in charge of civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank, says it does not have enough resources to track these violations of an international agreement.

But the same department authorised the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes in Area C in 2011, displacing almost 1,100 people, over half of them children, according to the UN.

Palestinians can only build on one per cent of Area C, most of which is already built up, while settlements continue to expand in the same zone, the UN says.