Palestinian administrative detainee Khalil Awawdeh, who is on hunger strike for the last 64 days, has been transferred to hospital after a severe decline in his health, multiple news reports stated on Wednesday, May 4, quoting the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission. The commission’s spokesperson, Hassam Abed-Rabbu, told news outlets that the Israeli prison authorities transferred Awawdeh from the Ramleh prison clinic to the Assaf Harofeh hospital following a court hearing requested by his lawyer. Awawdeh has been on hunger strike demanding an end to his illegal and arbitrary administrative detention.
The 40-year old detainee from the Ethna town, west of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested on November 3 last year and placed in solitary confinement in the Ofer prison near Ramallah. He was subsequently placed under administrative detention for six months without charge or trial, which was followed by another 4-month administrative detention order that led him to launch a hunger strike in protest. News reports stated that Awawdeh, who is married and a father to four children, is also a former political prisoner of Israel. He was previously placed in administrative detention for 21 months for his political and resistance activities against the Israeli occupation.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), Awawdeh started experiencing a number of symptoms reflecting the deterioration in his health. The PPS said that the detainee is currently experiencing migraine, pain in the joints, respiratory issues, arrhythmia, frequent vomiting, and serious weight loss of approximately 20 kilograms. Despite Awawdeh’s hunger strike and the risks to his health, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has repeatedly refused to consider requests to end his administrative detention.
The policy of administrative detention allows Israel to detain Palestinians without charge or trial by issuing administrative detention orders against them. These orders, lasting for 4-6 months at a time, can be renewed multiple times by the Israeli authorities, effectively keeping the Palestinian detainees in prison indefinitely for extended periods of time. According to the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, there are currently around 650 Palestinians being held in illegal administrative detention in Israel. In total, there are roughly 4,550 Palestinians currently being held in prison in Israel, including 32 women and 160 children under the age of 18. Over the years, many Palestinian administrative detainees have resorted to hunger strikes to put pressure on Israel to end their illegal detention and grant them release.