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Shalit-deal prisoner continues hunger strike against detention

March 31, 2016 7:54 P.M. (Updated: March 31, 2016 8:02 P.M.)
A Palestinian man lies under a tent in front of the Red Crescent offices in Gaza City on June 2, 2014 after he stopped eating in solidarity with 125 prisoners on long-term hunger strike in Israeli jails. (AFP/Mohammed Abed, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian prisoner continued his hunger strike for the eighth consecutive day in protest of his administrative detention by Israel, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said Thursday.

The family of 34-year-old Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Dawood from al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem told PPS that their son was initially released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal but detained again without charge on Nov. 8, 2015.

PPS said in a statement that Dawood, who is currently being administratively detained in Israel's Ofer prison, had served five years out of his 10-and-a-half-year prison sentence before he was released in the 2011 Shalit exchange.

Several Palestinians released during the Shalit deal have since been rearrested or exiled to the Gaza Strip. Over 1,000 Palestinian detainees were released in the Egypt-brokered 2011 agreement between Hamas and Israel in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for five years.

At least 50 Shalit-deal prisoners were rearrested in the summer of 2014 during a detention campaign referred to as "Operation Brother's Keeper," in which Israeli forces detained at least 800 Palestinians without charge or trial and killed nine civilians.

At the time of their re-arrest, Shalit-deal prisoners released a statement contesting Israel's violation of the deal, saying they had demonstrated commitment to its terms.

The announcement of Dawood’s hunger strike comes after imprisoned Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq was suddenly transferred from HaEmek Hospital in Afula to a medical clinic in al-Ramla prison last week amidst his recovery from a grueling 94-day hunger strike that ended Feb. 26 and brought him close to death.

Al-Qiq initially went on hunger strike in late November to protest the torture and ill-treatment he said he faced in Israeli custody, but his protest quickly developed into another bid to challenge Israel's use of administrative detention -- internment without trial or charge.

After being in critical condition for weeks, with doctors and rights groups repeatedly warning that he has stood on the cusp of death, his lawyers struck an eleventh hour deal with the Israeli authorities, pushing the date of his release to May 21.

Numerous international bodies, including the UN and European Union, condemned Israel for its continued incarceration of al-Qiq, as well its use of administrative detention for nearly 700 other Palestinian prisoners.
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