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Palestinian prisoner held without charge offers to end hunger strike if released in 4 months

July 10, 2016 7:08 P.M. (Updated: July 11, 2016 2:46 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid is awaiting a response from Israeli authorities to a proposal to end his hunger strike, a statement from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said on Sunday.

According to the statement, Kayid told lawyer Karim Ajwah that he had proposed to end his hunger strike if Israel agreed to free him after serving four more months of administrative detention -- the controversial Israeli policy internment without trial or charges under undisclosed evidence.

Kayid additionally requested that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) end his solitary confinement and allow his family members to visit him.

Kayid, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), has been on hunger strike for at least 26 days in protest of being placed in administrative detention by Israel on the day he was scheduled to be released from serving more than 14 years in prison.

The native of the town of Asira al-Shamaliya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus was originally detained in 2002 for alleged involvement in the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades -- the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Kayid added that if Israel did not respond by Thursday, he “will continue with hunger strike to the end, and won’t discuss any new proposals.”

He also told Ajwah that IPS authorities had asked him to go the prison clinic, but that he had refused in spite of his deteriorating health.

The Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said on Sunday that Kayid has been suffering from fatigue, pain in his legs, back and neck, as well as dizziness after he lost about 30 kilograms.

On Thursday, prisoners’ rights group Addameer said that Kayid had lost 25 kilograms and was suffering from insomnia, sleeping just an hour a day.

PFLP prisoner leadership said in a statement Sunday that all PFLP-affiliated prisoners in Israeli custody would take steps to show solidarity with Kayid in the coming two days.

The prisoners, according to the statement, will refuse all the meals they receive in prison on Monday and Tuesday.

In addition, they will "chant the name of Bilal Kayid" instead of confirming their presence when Israeli wardens perform the daily prisoner counting process.

Rights groups have claimed that Israel's administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.

Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations." As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

According to Addameer, there are currently 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, 715 of whom are held under Israel’s policy of administrative detention.

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