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Palestinian hunger strikers reject deal offered by Israeli prosecution

Dec. 3, 2016 11:34 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 4, 2016 8:26 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Hunger strikers Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Farah rejected a deal offered by the Israeli prosecution that guaranteed the imprisoned Palestinians would be released after a renewed four months on their administrative detention, according to a statement released Friday by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

The committee said that Shadid, 20, and Abu Farah, 29, who have been on hunger strike for 70 and 71 days respectively, rejected the deal that would see their administrative detention renewed for another four months, but with a guarantee of release at its conclusion.

The hunger strikers reiterated their commitment to continue their hunger strikes until they were completely released from administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence -- according to the committee.

Shadid and Abu Farah declared a hunger strike on Sept. 24 and 23 respectively in protest of being placed in administrative detention after being detained by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs stated last month that both had slipped into a coma and have partially or completely lost their ability to breath, speak, drink, and hear. The committee also warned that Israeli authorities had threatened to force feed both hunger strikers.

Meanwhile, the head of the Israeli medical center where they have been treated warned of the increasing risk of “sudden death.”

An Israeli court temporarily suspended the prisoners’ detention orders on Nov. 18 due to their deteriorating health conditions, according to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun. However, the hunger strikers have continued to refuse food until they are completely released from detention and transferred to a Palestinian hospital from the Israeli hospital they are currently being held in.

Scores of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes in the past year to protest various issues, most notably administrative detention. The most prominent hunger strikers included Muhammad al-Qiq, Bilal Kayid, and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul.

Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three- to six-month renewable intervals, 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.

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

According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of October, 720 of whom were being held in administrative detention.

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