Between Issues


The Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality have been closely monitoring the mass hunger strike carried out by Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in open-ended administrative detention, without charges or trials.

Hisham Abu Hawash’s hunger strike lasted a total of 141 days. During this time he suffered intermittent coma, weakened eyesight, muscular atrophy, heart problems and lost the ability to speak and more than half his body weight.

On Dec. 30, Palestinian resistance forces stated that if Hawash were to die from his hunger strike, they would consider his death a premeditated assassination by Israel and respond accordingly. On Jan. 1, Palestinian resistance launched two rockets from Gaza into ocean waters near Tel Aviv to warn the Zionist regime to release Hawash. Instead, Israel responded by sending warplanes to bomb Rafah, a city of more than 150,000 people in southern Gaza.

On New Year’s Day, Hawash fell into a coma as he entered the 138th day of his strike. On Jan. 4, after negotiations between Israel and Egypt, victory came when Israel stated that his administrative detention order would not be renewed and that he would be freed on Feb. 26.

Administrative detention is a tool used by Israel to subjugate Palestinians. Through this order, Israeli military courts detain Palestinians for indefinite periods of time through undisclosed evidence and without charges or trials.

A hunger strike is a serious act of protest used to draw attention to a cause in which the victim sees their body as their only available weapon. Palestinian prisoners have historically practiced this act of resistance to protest their imprisonment. In 2013, Samer al-Issawi carried out the longest hunger strike – 266 days – to protest his incarceration.

To support oppressed people in their rights to self-determination means to support their acts of resistance by any means necessary. The Virginia Defenders express our most sincere solidarity with Hisham Abu Hawash, along with all other prisoners incarcerated by their occupiers.

While Hawash was victorious, we express concern for his health, as deprivation of that length is sure to cause chronic health problems. Further, more than 500 Palestinians, including women and children, remain administratively detained.

We encourage our friends and supporters to participate in the social media campaign #FreeThemAll to express solidarity with those still imprisoned and bring awareness to their cases.

Categories: Between Issues, Commentaries

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