PALESTINIAN Premier Mohammad Shtayyeh yesterday called for international intervention to secure the release of a dying hunger-striking prisoner.
He told the weekly cabinet session in Ramallah that he is closely monitoring the health condition of Hisham Abu Hawwash, who has been on a hunger strike for 140 days in protest against his administrative detention in Israeli custody.
Shtayyeh has sent a letter to all relevant international institutions urging them to put pressure on Israel to secure Hawwash’s immediate release as he faces imminent death.
There are 4,600 Palestinian detainees, including minors, children and elderly, who are currently languishing in Israeli prisons.
The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs stated yesterday that the 40-year-old Palestinian inmate is in a serious condition and could die at any moment, as a result of his prolonged hunger strike in protest at his indefinite, unfair and unexplained imprisonment at the hands of the Tel Aviv regime.
Abdul Qader al-Khatib, the undersecretary of the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, stressed that Hawwash should be either released immediately or transferred to a Palestinian hospital to save his life, as his health condition is rapidly deteriorating.
He further noted that Israel’s refusal to release the hunger-striking inmate indicates that there is an intention to kill him, and he condemned the international community’s inaction on Tel Aviv’s continued violations.
The Commission has already warned that Abu Hawwash’s condition has reached a critical stage and he faces irreversible health consequences at any moment.
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) attorney, Jawad Boulos, has also said the doctors have confirmed that Hawwash faces death any moment.
The father of five was arrested in October 2020 and held in an Israeli jail under administrative detention, a form of imprisonment in which the individual is never tried and can be held indefinitely. He is one of several hunger-striking Palestinians who are demanding an end to their detention without charge.
Over the weekend, Hawwash fell into a coma due to his hunger strike, which has caused a significant deterioration to his health, vision, and ability to speak; as well as problems with his heart muscle and muscle atrophy. Doctors have warned that he may enter a critical stage at any time.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said medical teams who visited Abu Hawwash had found him ‘in a critical condition requiring expert clinical monitoring.’
It issued a statement warning of ‘potentially irreversible health consequences and possible tragic loss of life.’
Israel’s widely condemned practice of administrative detention allows the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for renewable intervals ranging between three and six months based on undisclosed evidence that even a detainee’s lawyer is barred from viewing.
The US State Department has said in past reports on human rights conditions for Palestinians that administrative detainees are not given the ‘opportunity to refute allegations or address the evidentiary material presented against them in court.’
Amnesty International has described Israel’s use of administrative detention as a ‘bankrupt tactic’ and has long called on Israel to end its use.
Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest against their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.