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Hunger striker Muhammad Balboul rushed to intensive care unit at Tel Aviv hospital

Sept. 1, 2016 11:09 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 3, 2016 8:41 P.M.)
From right to left: Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul, their sister Nuran, and their father killed by Israeli forces in 2008
BETHELEHM (Ma’an) -- Muhammad Balboul, who has been on hunger strike for 56 days, was rushed to the intensive care unit at the Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv on Thursday night after his health severely deteriorated.

Tareq Barghouth, a lawyer for the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, said in a statement that the hunger striker’s health abruptly worsened, adding that damage has been caused to his liver and kidneys as a result of his strike.

Brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul began their hunger strikes on July 4 and 7 respectively. The brothers were detained on June 9 and sentenced to administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial, shortly before their younger sister Nuran, 16, was released after spending four months in Israeli jail.

Barghouth said on Wednesday that he visited Muhammad's brother Mahmoud at Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Hospital on Tuesday evening, and stressed that his health condition was very critical, as he has lost 30 kilograms, was having difficulty speaking, and suffered from severe fatigue.

Israeli doctors warned last week that Mahmoud might be paralyzed if he was not given vitamins, but he has refused to take supplements and insisted on continuing his strike and only consuming water.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Malik Salah Daoud al-Qadi has been on a hunger strike since July 11, after being detained on May 23. Al-Qadi had previously spent four months in Israeli custody after being detained in December 2015.

Al-Qadi is a journalism and media student at the al-Quds University in Abu Dis.

On Tuesday night, Palestinian prisoner Ayyad al-Hreimi suspended his hunger strike after going 48 days without food to protest his administrative detention, following an agreement reached between his lawyer and Israeli prosecutors to release him in February 2017.

By February 2017, Israel will have renewed his administrative detention three times.

Four days after last being released from serving a four-year prison sentence, Israeli forces detained al-Hreimi again alongside his two brothers and two cousins.

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody began a mass hunger strike movement in support of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member Bilal Kayid, who ended his 71-day hunger strike last week.

Kayid was one of the most high-profile hunger strikers since Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qiq came near death during a 94-day hunger strike protesting his administrative detention order, before being released in May.

Israel’s policy of administrative detention, which allows Israel to detain someone without trial or charge, is almost exclusively used against Palestinians and has been widely criticized by rights group which have accused Israel of using the policy to erode Palestinian political and social life by detaining scores of Palestinians without proof of wrongdoing.

According to Addameer, as of July, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons, 750 of whom were being held under administrative detention.
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