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Thousands of Americans sign petition, demand release of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Hisham Abu Hawwash is a Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike in protest against his detention by the Israeli regime.

More than 13,000 Americans have signed a petition calling on Israel to immediately release all Palestinian inmates on hunger strike in protest against Israel’s policy of administrative detention.

The petition on Change.org -- with more than 13,400 signatures as of Monday -- called for the immediate release of all hunger strikers and other ‘administrative’ detainees in Israel’s prisons.

The administrative detention is a type of imprisonment without formal charge or trial, often of a length of one to six months that is indefinitely renewable. It is in sheer violation of International Humanitarian Law and is often used to target and silence Palestinian activists, protesters or anyone who shows dissent against the Israeli regime.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli jails. Over 540 of these inmates have apparently been held in administrative detention, with some of them staying in jail for up to 11 years.

Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. The inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the practice.

The signatories strongly warned that the striking detainees, including Hisham Abu Hawwash, Shadi Abu Aker, and Ayyad Hraimi, could face serious long-term health complications and loss of life if their protest action continued.

The petition, therefore, demanded the immediate release of all Palestinian administrative detainees on hunger strike to avoid serious long-term health complications for detainees or loss of life.

It demanded the subsequent immediate release of all Palestinian administrative detainees held in occupation prisons, or at the very latest the date of their case review.

Petitioners also called on Israel to cease the use of administrative detention to arbitrarily imprison Palestinians within the occupied Palestinian territories of West Bank and and East al-Quds.

Forty-year-old Abu Hawwash is in serious health condition and is facing the risk of sudden death at any moment as a result of his prolonged hunger strike - an open-ended hunger strike of 140 days - in protest at his indefinite, unfair, and unexplained imprisonment at the hands of the Tel Aviv regime.

Earlier on Monday, the Palestinian Commission of Detainees' and Ex-Detainees'  Affairs said Abu Hawwash should be released immediately or transferred to Palestinian hospitals in order to be saved, as his health condition is rapidly deteriorating. The commission has already warned that the health condition of Abu Hawwash has reached a critical stage. 

Abu Hawwash, a father of five children, was arrested in October 2020 and held in an Israeli jail under administrative detention. He is one among several other hunger-striking Palestinians who are demanding an end to their detention without charge.


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