A Palestinian prisoner held in an Israeli prison for a year without charge has been released to a hero’s welcome after an eight-week hunger strike brought him close to death.
Khader Adnan, 37, was swept up in a wave of arrests last year, after three Jewish teenagers went missing, and has never been charged or tried whilst being held in Israel’s controversial system of “administrative detention,” under which Palestinians can be held indefinitely.
In his West Bank village of Jenin, the Islamic Jihad activist was greeted with singing and fireworks, after he agreed to end his hunger strike two weeks’ ago, when Hamas threatened violence if he died.
Israeli authorities released him at dawn on Sunday, after his 56-day protest, during which his condition markedly deteriorated, after refusing everything except water.
The new right-wing Israeli government last month sought to revive efforts to legalise the force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, which last year led to an outcry from Jewish health experts and rights groups.
With the International Committee of the Red Cross flagging its concerns, and the Palestinian leadership saying it held Israel responsible for Adnan’s fate, pressure mounted, with protests outside the prison increased attention.
Israeli authorities are still holding over 350 Palestinians without charge, in a policy widely criticised even by Israel’s allies. Last week, the Palestinian Authority submitted claims to the International Criminal Court (ICC), including protests against Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners.