Thousands Rally in Gaza, Hunger Striker Sparks Political 'Imagination'

Richard Falk: If Adnan is to die, a third intifada may rise

Today, several thousand Palestinians have rallied in Gaza and the West Bank in support of Khader Adnan, who was detained by Israeli forces two months ago and has been held without trial or charge. Adnan is on his 62nd day of a hunger strike protesting what Israeli forces call 'administrative detention'.

Many Palestinian prisoners have now joined Adnan's hunger strike adding to the outcry against Israeli detention practices.

After Physicians for Human Rights in Israel (PHR) insisted that Adnan is "in immediate danger of death" due to days without sustenance, protesters gathered again in the streets calling for the release of Adnan. Some are now saying that the situation is sparking great unrest and has renewed the "Palestinian political imagination".


Reuters reports:

"We are all Khader Adnan," chanted crowds gathered in the Gaza Strip, with activists from the main political parties joining forces in a rare display of Palestinian unity. [...]

At least 5,000 people took to the streets of Gaza, waving a mix of black Jihad flags, the green flags of Islamist group Hamas and the yellow flags of the secular Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Witnesses said hundreds had also demonstrated in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

Palestinian officials said many other prisoners in Israeli jails had started hunger strikes to support Adnan [...]

Hamas, which governs Gaza, said it was pushing the Arab League and Egypt to press for the release of Adnan.

"The Palestinian people, with all its components and its factions, will never abandon the hero prisoners, especially those who lead this hunger strike battle," said Hamas's top authority in the Mediterranean territory, Ismail Haniyeh.

"The case of Khader Adnan is a revealing microcosm of the unbearable cruelty of prolonged occupation."



The procession, attended by all Palestinian movements, began at the Al-Omari mosque after Friday prayers and ended at the headquarters of the Red Cross.

"In his hunger strike, Khader Adnan is not fighting for a personal cause, but for the defence of thousands of prisoners," a Gaza leader of Islamic Jihad, Nafez Azzam said in a speech.

This Friday's weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Bilin, marking the seventh anniversary of rallies against the Israeli separation barrier, was also dedicated to Adnan. An AFP correspondent said it was joined by some 1,000 demonstrators. [...]

Human rights groups in Israel and overseas have appealed to Israel to free him or put him on trial.

Under Israeli law, a military tribunal can order an individual held without charge for up to six months at a time. Such orders can be extended by further six-month periods indefinitely, if approved in a new court session.

"If Adnan is to die, a third intifada is to rise... he will be considered a martyr."


Adnan's strike has sparked widespread political activism and may become a catalyst for further demonstrations. Ahraminterviewed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Richard Falk:

"If Adnan is to die, a third intifada is to rise... he will be considered a martyr," expressed Falk, further emphasising the importance of the issue. He explained that that whatever happens to Adnan, "the Palestinian political imagination has been fastened on this case and it will never be forgotten."[...]

Egypt, Falk explained, was key to the situation: "it is important to use Egypt's relations with Israel, and to push the Egyptian authorities to take an initiative."

Randa, 31, Adnan's wife who is pregnant with the couple's third child, urged the Egyptian authorities to step in, as reported by MENA on Tuesday. "Our hope now lies in Egypt for Khader's release," said Randa. "There is talk of Egyptian efforts being made, which I hope is true as Egypt was instrumental in the last prisoner swap deal," she added making reference to Gilad Shalit.

Falk sees that Adnan's case is an opportunity for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), as acting president, to step up and show concern over what is taking place outside of Egypt.

However, it is important to note that the SCAF has behaved in a similar way to Israel when handling domestic affairs in Egypt. Since 28 January, 2011 the ruling military council has abused Emergency Law and randomly arrested over 12,000 civilians. [...]

Falk deemed Adnan's imprisonment without charges illegal and called on the international community to pay attention to the way Israel mistreats thousands of Palestinian prisoners. This is a problem, Falk added, which should be of great concern to them.


Falk writes for Al-jazeera:

The case of Khader Adnan is a revealing microcosm of the unbearable cruelty of prolonged occupation. It draws a contrast in the West between the dignity of an Israeli prisoner and the steadfast refusal to heed the abuse of thousands of Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails through court sentence or administrative order. [...]

Have we not reached a stage in our appreciation of human rights that we should outlaw such state barbarism? Let us hope that the awful experience of Khader Adnan does not end with his death, and let us hope further that it sparks a worldwide protest against both administrative detention and prisoner abuse. The Palestinian people have suffered more than enough already.

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