Palestinian detainee ends 103-day hunger strike

Palestinian detainee ends 103-day hunger strike after Israel cancels detention without charge
2 min read
West Bank
19 November, 2021
Alaa al-Aaraj, 34, ended his 103-day hunger strike after Israeli authorities decided to present regular charges against him and end his administrative detention.
Four Palestinians continue their hunger strikes in protest against their administrative detention. [Getty]

A Palestinian detainee in Israeli prison ended his 103-day-long hunger strike after the Israeli military prosecution cancelled his administrative detention, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club confirmed on Thursday.

Alaa al-Aaraj, a 34-year-old civil engineer and father-of-one, began an individual hunger strike in early August, protesting his detention without charge.

His wife, Asmaa Quzmar, told The New Arab back in October that after his previous arrest, al-Aaraj spent 18 months behind bars due to continuous administrative detention orders based on "secret information". He was later released and rearrested 11 months later.

According to Quzmar, her husband was “devastated by the repetitive detention orders against him and their impact on their family’s life”, which motivated him to begin his protest by refusing food. Quzmar pointed out that during his release, Al Aaraj was “deeply hurt” by learning that the first person who his two-and-a-half old son called ‘daddy’ was actually his grandfather.

In recent weeks, Palestinians have rallied in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza in support of hunger striking detainees. The protests have gained momentum amid news that detainees' lives may be at risk.

A definite release date

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club's lawyer, Jawad Bulos, explained to Palestinian media that an Israeli court decided on Thursday to present charges against al-Aaraj and move his case to a regular trial, after which the Israeli military prosecution cancelled his administrative detention order.

According to human rights groups, Israeli military courts have a 99% conviction rate against Palestinians. However, even if he is convicted, al-Aaraj would have a definite release date, which he is denied under the administrative detention system.

Meanwhile, four Palestinians still continue their hunger strikes in protest against their administrative detention. The longest-running of those is that of 32-year-old Kayed Fasfus, who has been on hunger strike for 127 days. Fasfus’ brother, Khaled Fasfus, told local media last week that Israeli medics informed his family that Kayed is “approaching sudden death” due to his deteriorating health condition.