Article Image Khader Adnan Hunger Strike


Israeli Political Prisoner Khader Adnan Near Death

Written by Subject: Israel - Palestine
Israeli Political Prisoner Khader Adnan Near Death

by Stephen Lendman

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israeli prisons. Virtually daily, more arrests are made. Those incarcerated face torture, appalling prison conditions, and other forms of abuse.

Some react in response. Khader did his way by refusing food for multiple reasons, including:

• his rights and identity were violated;

• his lawless arrest and abusive detention; and

• Israel's illegal administrative detention system.

Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association calls him a "prisoner at risk."

In fact, by using his stomach as a weapon against injustice beyond what's tolerable for most people, he's barely clinging to life. In his 51st day without food (as of February 6), he's Palestine's longest ever hunger striker.

According to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, after 42 days without food, individuals begin losing their hearing and vision. They also suffer bleeding in the gums, intestines and esophagus. The body gradually shuts down. After 45 days, death's risked due to vascular system collapse and/or cardiac arrest. Nearly a week later, he could expire anytime.

Rallies on his behalf display posters of his image with the statement: "Dignity above food." A supportive Facebook page headlines, "We are all Sheikh Khader Adnan(s)."

Throughout his ordeal, he reacted to his lawless arrest, indefinite detention without charge, and abusive interrogations by silence and refusing food.

During a third judicial review last week, a military prosecutor asked a military judge before a lawless military tribunal to detain him uncharged based on spurious allegations of subversive activity, citing secret evidence unavailable to counsel.

In Occupied Palestine, Israel's kangaroo court system is rigged to convict. Accusation alone determines guilt. Justice not only is denied, it's mocked, spat on and trampled.

Reflecting his dire condition, six attorneys represented him, including Jamil Khatib, Tamar Peleg, Mahmoud Halabi, Mahmoud Hassan, Jawad Boulos and Nivin Hassan.

Without access to alleged classified materials, they're only able to probe, guess, and hope for the best under a system showing no mercy. When given the right to speak, Adnan said:

"I will begin with what happened just a few moments ago. You went out to eat in rooms that are surely heated and comfortable. I went off to the waiting caravan for detainees, despite my condition, and it was very cold. The doctors tell me that perhaps because of the fluctuating heat and cold, I might quickly develop cardiac problems."

On January 31, Israel's Prison Service transferred him to a Bnei Brak hospital, chained to his bed, his arms and legs bound despite his frailty. Three guards monitored him round the clock. They mocked him. In his room, "they reach(ed) under the pillow and joke(d) about how I might be hiding food," he said.

"I have a Koran which I read, holding it with a cuffed hand. Yesterday I prayed in a chair with my arms and legs bound." When told his life's endangered, he agreed to take potassium tablets and was returned to Prison Service detention.

Throughout his ordeal, he's been denied contact with family members. On January 6, the Palestine News Network (PNN) said he was transferred to Jerusalem's Bikur Holim Hospital because of his deteriorating health.

One of his lawyers said he was admitted to its cardiothoracic department because his life's in grave danger. He added that Israeli authorities gave him only three minutes to meet with his client. He explained that his hands and one leg were cuffed.

Doctors expressed alarm about his condition, saying he's been vomiting "gastric juice" from his stomach and appendix.

Palestinian Prisoner Society President Qadura Fares expressed concern for his life. He urged everyone to act on his behalf. When asked, Adnan stressed his desire to live but not under repressive Israeli detention.

Qadura also announced a February 7 protest solidarity campaign in Palestine's governorates with all institutions participating if Israel won't release him. His lawyers will also boycott Israel's military courts where Palestinians are denied justice.

On February 6, Ma'an News said Adnan's father, Musa (an elderly man), announced joining his son's hunger strike Monday in solidarity with his son.

He was transferred again to Zeif Hospital in northern Israel and virtually isolated to prevent reports of his condition coming out. In response, supporters called for five minutes of work and traffic stoppages, as well as West Bank marches on his behalf.

On February 4, Palestinian prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqe said hundreds of Ofer Prison detainees launched supportive disobedience actions in protest. They returned food, refused outdoor breaks, and abstained from medical treatment. Others refused to eat altogether. As a result, Israel put eight detainees in punitive isolation.

Millions of Palestinians now know, respect and support Adnan. They also condemn Israel's shocking mistreatment and willingness to let an innocent man suffer and die.

If so, he'll be martyred for heroically resisting injustice. He'll also inspire others to emulate his spirit until Palestine's liberated and free. Nothing less is tolerable now or ever.

A Final Comment

Adnan's heroism contrasts with longtime Yemeni despot Ali Abdullah Saleh. For decades, he enforced tyranny on Yemen's people. Post-9/11, he partnered in America's war on terror and worst crimes, including drone strikes killing Yemeni civilians.

America trained his security forces in techniques of repression and brutality. Last February, Yeminis rebelled. At issue, is repression, unemployment, poverty, massive government corruption, and unmet human needs. A year later, nothing changed.

Demonstrations continue daily. In response, security forces brutalize and murder protesters. They want Saleh out, prosecuted, imprisoned, and a government of their own choosing replacing him and his corrupt cronies.

Last June, his presidential compound was bombed. Severely injured, he received medical treatment and convalescent time in Saudi Arabia for months before returning. Rage accompanied his arrival.

In late January, Saleh arrived in New York. Major media scoundrels alleged more medical treatment was needed. Earlier, he admitted he's fine, saying:

"I will go to the United States. Not for treatment because I'm fine, but to get away from attention, cameras, and allow (a so-called) unity government to prepare properly for elections."

Yemenis oppose the arrangement leaving Saleh's repressive apparatus in place. Moreover, close regime allies control it. He got blanket immunity. As a result, demands to prosecute him are ignored.

At the same time, he freely entered New York. Even Human Rights Watch objected, saying:

"It's appalling that President Saleh arrives in the US (while) hundreds of Yemeni victims are left devastated" without justice from his crimes. Obama officials "should insist those responsible for atrocities in Yemen be brought to the dock," starting, of course, with Saleh.

Washington Yemen ambassador Gerald Feierstein lied saying, he got a visa for medical reasons. The State Department said, "Saleh is still the president of Yemen and will be accorded those privileges and immunities accorded to any head of state."

In contrast, America's State Department demanded regime change and/or prosecutions of Slobadan Milosevic, Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, Armadinejad, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Hezbollah, Hamas, Chavez, Castro, and other leaders it opposes.

At the same time, it openly endorses cooperative despots. Saleh's one of the worst. Yet he's comfortably ensconced at New York's Ritz-Carlton amidst opulent surroundings.

Nonetheless, word of his presence got around. Emerging outside with bodyguards, crowds protested. One man tried hurling his shoe, but was arrested for disorderly conduct.

According to Ibraham Qatabi, Yemeni American Coalition for Change (YACC) spokesman, another man nearly hit him.

On February 2, YACCs press conference condemned Saleh's visit, saying:

"The Yemeni-American community," American Arabs and New Yorkers "have come here today to express deep disappointment with the Obama administration for allowing" Saleh's visit, "a dictator with the blood of peaceful protesters on his hands."

In the past year alone, he and supporters "murdered, injured, kidnapped and tortured countless Yemeni citizens....For the past 33 years, he has thwarted the freedom and the rights that he promised to safeguard..."

Obama spurned calls for Adnan's release and Yemeni protesters, "and, instead chose to side with a dictator (who's afforded) protect(ion) in New York."

Washington's hypocrisy is scandalous. Obama's one of its worst ever practitioners. He's also a serial liar, war criminal multiple times over, and moral coward.

Imagine what's planned in a second term if reelected. What better reason's needed to spurn America's duopoly, vote independent, or not at all. Otherwise, ticking bomb conditions will escalate until they explode. Bet on it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.