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Concern as Palestinian prisoner reaches 136th day of hunger strike

Hisham Abu Hawwash, who is protesting his administrative detention, has deteriorated 'dangerously'
Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawwash was moved from Ramle prison to Shamir Medical Centre near Tel Aviv (social media)

Palestinian authorities and activists are raising the alarm as Hisham Abu Hawwash, who is being held by Israel in administrative detention, has reached the 136th day of a hunger strike. 

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority (PA) committee for prisoners and ex-prisoners said that Abu Hawwash's health condition has deteriorated "dangerously". 

Ziad al-Nakhala, secretary-general of the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad resistance movement, warned Abu Hawwash's death would be taken as an "assassination".

"If the prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash is martyred, we will consider this an assassination carried out by the enemy with premeditation, and we will deal with the matter in accordance with the requirements of our commitment to respond to any assassination," he said.

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Abu Hawwash, 40, is from Dura village near Hebron, in the occupied West Bank's south. He is a former political prisoner, spending eight years in Israeli prison, 52 months of which were spent in administrative detention without charge.

A father of five, Abu Hawwash was arrested in October 2020 and faced a six-month administrative sentence, which was renewed. He launched a hunger strike in the summer against his arbitrary detention.

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Administrative detentions, a highly controversial policy used by Israel almost exclusively against Palestinians, allow detention without charge or trial for renewable periods of three to six months, without the possibility of appeal or of knowing what accusations are being levelled against the detainee.

Many Palestinian prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes to protest against the policy.

According to his brother, Abu Hawwash is extremely weak and can barely hear or speak, nor move his limbs.

Israel froze the administrative detention sentence against Abu Hawwash this week, and he was moved from Ramle prison to Shamir Medical Centre near Tel Aviv, where he remains incarcerated under heavy guard. He was admitted to the intensive care unit.

There are almost 500 Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention in Israeli prisons, who have decided from 1 January 2022 to boycott hearings at Israeli military courts, calling for the policy to be abolished.

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