Palestinian hunger striker 'on the brink of death': brother

Palestinian detainee 136 days into hunger strike is 'on the brink of death', says brother
3 min read
West Bank
30 December, 2021
Palestinian detainee Hisham Abu Hawash was unconscious from Thursday until Sunday, before he was transferred to an Israeli hospital
Hisham Abu Hawash has lost mobility from the neck down and is unaware of his surroundings, according to his brother [Getty]

Palestinian detainee Hisham Abu Hawash who has been on hunger strike for 136 days could die at any moment, his brother told The New Arab on Thursday.

The 40-year-old, a father of five, has been refusing food since August, in protest of his detention without charge for more than a year.

Israeli authorities transferred him to the Israeli Asaf Harofeh Hospital on Sunday after his health severely deteriorated. The Israeli court also suspended his detention order, allowing him to receive visits.

Abu Hawash lost consciousness last Thursday, his brother Imad Abu Hawash said; he remained unconscious until Sunday, compelling the Israeli authorities to transfer him to the civil hospital.

"We have been requesting his transfer for months, but the Israelis have been rejecting our request," he told The New Arab. "I even wrote to the Israeli minister of health, who replied saying that prisons are not his field of authority. Now that Hisham is literally on the brink of death they finally transferred him."

"Hisham is unable to talk or move from the neck down. He is losing vision in his left eye and is unaware of what is happening around him," Imad Abu Hawash said.

The International Red Cross visited Abu Hawash just before he fell unconscious.

In a brief statement released last week, the Red Cross said it was "very concerned about the deteriorating health” of Abu Hawash.

"He is in critical condition requiring expert clinical monitoring," the ICRC said.

The Israeli military court renewed Abu Hawash's detention order in October for four months, to end on 26 February. However, the order remains renewable under the Israeli "administrative detention" system.

"All that Israeli court is required to do is to give Hisham Abu Hawash a fixed detention decision with a release date," a spokesperson for Palestinian prisoner support group Addameer told The New Arab.

"Palestinian detainees under the administrative detention system keep going on hunger strikes precisely because they have no release date, since they are not charged," said the source, who preferred not to be named.

"There has been a rise in Israel's administrative detention orders against Palestinians since the wave of protests that broke out in May. In response, more Palestinian detainees have initiated individual hunger strikes," the spokesperson said.

"We have news that Palestinian administrative detainees are planning to boycott Israeli court hearings starting in January, as a collective action of protest against this detention system," a spokesperson said.

Other long-running hunger strikes from this year include those of Kayed Fasfus and Miqdad Qawasmeh, who ended their hunger strikes after 131 and 113 days respectively.