On hunger strike for 162 days, Khalil Awawdeh’s health deteriorates in Israeli prison  

Israel has refused to release Awawdeh despite it being a central condition of the ceasefire agreement that ended the three-day-long Israeli aggression in the besieged Gaza strip last week, in which 47 Palestinians were killed

August 12, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh
(Photo: via Al Mayadeen)

Palestinian prisoner Khalil Awawdeh was moved to a hospital on Thursday, August 11, due to deterioration in his health condition after being on hunger strike for 162 days, Samidoun: Palestinian Political Prisoners Solidarity network informed.  

His family members claimed that he was admitted to the hospital after he suffered “a sudden and severe cognitive decline and is at risk of death at any moment,” a statement issued by Samidoun said. 

Samidoun and other Palestinian organizations have launched a #FreeKhalil campaign globally. Protests in Awawdeh’s support have been organized in different parts of the world. 

The Samidoun statement also included Awawdeh’s message to his family members in which he claimed that “I went on strike for freedom, and I have sacrificed a lot for the dearest and strongest need, freedom..my abstinence from food is not a rejection of life, but rather a rejection of chains.”   

Awawdeh (40) was arrested in December by the Israeli forces who claimed that he is a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). He went on hunger strike to expose the illegality of his detention and demand his release. 

As per the law of administrative detention in Israel, a detainee can be held in prison without charge or trial for a period which can be renewed indefinitely.  The law has been used by Israelis to incarcerate thousands of Palestinians. The policy has faced criticism from the UN and other human rights groups as a central element of the apartheid system in the occupied territories.    

Awawdeh is married and has four daughters. According to his lawyer, Ahlam Haddad, he has been denied family visits and any legal aid throughout his detention by the Israeli prison authorities, in complete violations of basic human rights.     

According to Samidoun, out of a total of 4,650 Palestinians currently in Israeli prisons, around 650 are being held in illegal detention.

Awawdeh’s release was one of the main conditions of the ceasefire reached on Sunday between the PIJ and Israel through Egyptian mediation. The PIJ has claimed that Israel had agreed to release Awawdeh and Bassam al-Saadi in return for ending its rocket attacks inside Israel. 

Israel had launched attacks on the besieged Gaza between Friday and Sunday last month, killing more than 47 Palestinians, including 16 children, and wounding hundreds others. The PIJ fired hundreds of rockets in retaliation inside Israeli borders. 

According to a report in al-Mayadeen, Israel issued a high alert after transferring Awawdeh to prison on Thursday, fearing retaliation from the PIJ.