Israel on Thursday, November 4, reactivated the administrative detention of Miqdad al-Qawasmeh, one of the seven Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. 24-year old Qawasmeh, who has now been on a hunger strike for 106 days, is being held in the intensive care unit of the Israeli Kaplan hospital due to the severe deterioration of his health. The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) stated that the Israeli military prosecution office informed Jawad Boulus, the prisoner’s lawyer, about their decision to extend his administrative detention.
According to Boulus, the Israeli authorities also informed him about their decision to transfer Qawasmeh from Kaplan Hospital to the Ramla Prison Clinic. Boulus was quoted by WAFA News as saying, “What is happening with the prisoner Qawasmeh is nothing but a decision to kill him, despite medical reports confirming how critical his health condition is.” He added that he holds the authorities fully responsible for the consequences of their decision. Al-Qawasmeh has reportedly lost over 40 kg, and his family said he is experiencing symptoms such as memory loss, body pain and liver issues. The authorities have also prevented his family from visiting him. Al-Qawasmeh was arrested in January 2021 and placed under administrative detention in July this year, following which he launched an open-ended hunger strike. He has previously spent more than four years in Israeli prisons, including stints of administrative detention.
Another one of the seven hunger strikers, Kayed al-Fasfous, had his administrative detention reactivated last week. Quds News Network, however, reported that the administrative detention of Fasfous, who is now on his 114th day of hunger strike, was frozen for the second time by a court on Thursday. Although the court’s decision does not terminate the administrative detention, it removes all responsibility for his life from Israeli authorities and places it on the hospital where he is being held as an unofficial prisoner. Fasfous has been in prison since October 2020 and has been on hunger strike since July after being placed in administrative detention. The PLO’s Prisoners and Freed Prisoners Commission, in a statement, said his health “is quickly deteriorating and he could be declared dead at any moment.”
Kareem Ajwa, one of the lawyers with the commission who visited al-Fasfous at the Barzilai Medical center in Israel, said he is suffering from “severe pains all over his body, as well as a high temperature,” adding that “he is unable to move and cannot feel his legs. However, he is refusing to undergo any medical examination in Israeli hospitals and insists he is going to go home and get examined by Palestinian doctors.”
Besides the seven hunger-striking prisoners, there are approximately 520 other Palestinians who are currently being held under administrative detention without charge or trial, which can be renewed multiple times through court orders, keeping the detainees in prison indefinitely. The detainees are reportedly also kept in extremely cruel and inhumane conditions in prison, as a result of which many of them start suffering from health issues. Over the years, hundreds of prisoners have launched hunger strikes to demand the end of their administrative detention, a policy which is illegal under Israeli and international law. Human rights groups as well as international bodies have repeatedly urged Israel to stop using administrative detention as a policy against Palestinians under its occupation but Israeli authorities continue to make use of the policy to punish and persecute Palestinians for resisting Israeli crimes and violations.