Khalih Awawdeh – 171 days on hunger strike against Israel’s illegal administrative detention

KHALIL AWAWDEH – who reached 171 days of his hunger strike against administrative detention yesterday

Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh remains on hunger strike today, Tuesday 30th August, 171 days into the protest against his detention without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Two other detainees, Ahmad Musa, 44, and his brother, Addal, 34, have also been on hunger strike for 21 days in protest against their ‘administrative detention’ i.e. being held illegally without charge or trial, by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Awawdeh’s wife and lawyer said on Sunday that his health is in a terrible condition after 171 days on hunger strike.
He has lost half his bodyweight, and can only speak with extreme difficulty.
Awawdeh, 40, from the town of Idna in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, broke a 111-day fast last month after being reassured by the Israeli prison authorities that his administrative detention would not be renewed.
But he resumed the hunger strike a week later after the occupation authorities reneged on their promise not to end his unfair detention order.
Three weeks ago, the Israeli military court of Ofer allowed his lawyer and a physician to visit him for the first time in order to prepare a medical report about his health to submit to the court next Sunday to look into his release.
The father of four has been in jail since 27 December 2021, and has been placed in administrative detention, without charge or trial, ever since.
Israel’s widely condemned policy of administrative detention allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable intervals usually ranging between three and six months based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from seeing.
Currently, Israel is holding over 680 Palestinians in administrative detention – which is illegal under international law.
Most of these are former prisoners who have already spent years in prison for their resistance to the Israeli occupation.
Amnesty International has described Israel’s administrative detention policy as a ‘cruel, unjust practice which helps maintain Israel’s system of apartheid against the Palestinians.’
Meanwhile, Palestinian freedom fighters incarcerated in Israeli prisons have dissolved their representative bodies in all the prisons in protest against Israel’s repressive measures against them.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said that dissolving the representative bodies means that the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) will have to deal with prisoners as individuals, and not through the bodies representing them.
Tensions have been high in the prisons over the past few days after the IPS decided to double the isolation time of prisoners, take away electrical devices from several sections in the prisons, and bring in additional forces in several of the institutions.
It is noteworthy that last Wednesday, the prisoners refused to leave their cells for security checks, and returned all meals as a protest – approved by the prisoners’ Higher Emergency Committee – after the IPS reneged on agreements and understandings reached last March with the prisoners’ representatives over issues and details of their living conditions.
The prisoners also decided that they will refuse meals and cooperation such as security checks every Monday and Wednesday from now on, as the initial steps in their protest which will culminate early in September with an open-ended hunger strike in all prisons.
The PPS said the decision to go on hunger strike will depend on the position of the IPS, whether or not it continues with its actions against the prisoners.
There are around 4,550 Palestinian freedom fighters in Israeli jails, including 31 women and 175 minors, including a young girl, and more than 700 administrative detainees who have not been convicted of anything.
Meanwhile on Saturday night, three young Palestinian men were shot by live Israeli bullets, one seriously, during confrontations following an Israeli army attack on the Al-Jabriat neighbourhood in the city of Jenin, which is in the north of the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian security and medical sources said that an 18-year-old teenager was seriously injured by a live bullet to his chest, and his condition is critical.
Another two Palestinians, aged 20 and 27 years old, were both injured in the abdomen, and are said to be in a ‘moderate’ condition.
The three were rushed to nearby Ibn Sina Hospital.
Meanwhile, further confrontations erupted in the city between Palestinian youth and Israeli occupation forces during an army raid on Nazareth Street and Haifa Street. No casualties were reported.

  • For the first time ever last Friday, a group of hardcore Israeli settlers, escorted by police, broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem through the Lions Gate on the eastern side of the complex, which is solely used by Muslims.

Over the past years, Israeli occupation authorities have only allowed settler groups to break into the holy site through the Moroccan Gate, on the western side of the mosque complex.
But this was the first time that Israeli police allowed settlers to use the Lions Gate, a step that Sheikh Omar Kiswani, the director of the mosque, described as a serious violation of the status quo at the holy site and the agreements signed between Israel and Jordan concerning the affairs of the mosque.
Kiswani said the Israeli police claimed that they only asked a group of settlers who had entered the holy site through the Moroccan Gate to leave through the Lions Gate, but, he said, soon after the police allowed another group, although a smaller one, to enter the holy site through the Lions Gate.
Since 2003, the Israeli occupation authorities have allowed settlers into the compound almost on a daily basis, with the exclusion of Friday, the Muslim holy day of rest and worship.
The development comes on the 53rd anniversary of the Al-Aqsa Mosque arson, when Denis Michael Rohan, an Australian tourist and Zionist, set the main building inside the mosque and its pulpit on fire.
The Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department,which is in charge of the holy site, has repeatedly described the settlers’ presence in Al-Aqsa Mosque as provocative, saying that Palestinian worshippers and guards at Al-Aqsa feel uncomfortable with and are threatened by the presence of Israeli police and settlers touring the Islamic holy site.
Israel captured East Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, during the Six-Day War in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.
The Palestinian ministry of foreign affairs and expatriates has also condemned the Israeli settlers’ storming of the al-Aqsa mosque through the Lions’ Gate, for the first time since 1967.
The ministry slammed this unprecedented step as a blatant violation of the mosque’s status quo aimed at perpetuating the temporal division of the al-Aqsa Mosque on the way to dividing it spatially.
The ministry held the Israeli government directly and fully responsible for the consequences and ramifications of its aggression against Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites, particularly the al-Aqsa mosque.