The Palestinian Authority minister of prisoners affairs said Tuesday that Israel intends to release hunger striking prisoner Khader Adnan after he completes his current administrative detention term.
In return, Adnan agreed to end his strike, according to Issa Qaraqe, the prisoners minister. The term will end April 17, he said. Adnan has not confirmed he intends to end the hunger strike, but prisoners rights group Addameer said one of Adnan's lawyers negotiated a deal with the Israeli military prosecutor freeing him on April 17 instead of in May.
He also received guarantees the term will not be extended, the group said.
...Israel's Justice Ministry confirmed the deal to end the strike. "There is a deal. (Khader Adnan) will stop his hunger strike. They will not extend his administrative detention and he will be free on April 17," an Israeli Justice Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters.
Adnan Khader's strike was a central theme of The Troubadour's diary yesterday about the Occupation's military "justice" system.
And soysauce wrote diaries specifically on Khader's strike, here
Make no mistake: Khader's strike and his victory are an integral part of the Arab Spring.
Distractors would have you believe this is about "security" or "extremism". Khader was accused in the past of being a spokesman for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group responsible for some notorious terror attacks. According to media reports, he was convicted several years ago and served time. But here's the thing: for the present arrest, he wasn't charged with anything. He is held under a six-month arrest without charges, known in Israel via the Orwellian term "Administrative Detention". At any given point in time since 1967, there have been Palestinians in Israeli prisons under that ruse - especially since the start of uprisings in 1987. Right now, there are over 300 Palestinians serving prison terms without charges.
Why, one might ask, would a country claiming to be a democracy, a country whose Prime Minister has said from the Congress podium "Israel is what's right about the Middle East" to standing ovations - continue to chuck people into prison for a half-year at a time without bothering to write up a charge sheet?
Very simple: because it can.
The Occupation dictatorship that my government, my economic system and my civil society have chosen to set up and maintain over milions of Palestinians is, in its basic nature, no different from Mubarak's or Assad's regime. For a quick primer, see my 2009 diary describing it. The Occupation regime's distinction is that it has stellar connections with the West, which for the past 20-plus years, once it stopped being as profitable as it initially was, has essentially bankrolled the Occupation financially and propped it up diplomatically. Another key distinction is that the Occupation has extensively used lies to mask its true nature, first and foremost from Israeli citizens themselves. See, Mubarak could never credibly claim he was running a "democracy". But the Occupation uses Israel's more attractive features as a front to hide and confuse everyone in the outside world, regarding what's going on in the back yard.
The most favorite lie is of course "security". What a joke. The Occupation system had been set up when Occupied Palestinians were considered docile as sheep, when they were building and cleaning Israeli homes, tending Israeli fields and gardens, cooking and washing dishes in Israeli restaurants. They had done that for 20 solid years, while patiently and meekly petitioning for their rights, and seeing them trampled and their lands robbed. It is the Occupation itself which has changed Palestinians from docile to "dangerous". As my friend Ishai has put it, that regime has been the perfect greenhouse for raising homegrown terror groups.
Just like in North Africa, all it takes is a single determined subject of that dictatorship, to expose its inherent weaknesses (the Occupation likes the dark, or - better - the mask of "Fighting Terrorism"). Even more poignantly, Khader like the heroes of Tunisia and Egypt, is exposing the hypocrisy and deliberate impotence of Western governments. For decades, the latter have issued lip-service about this or that specific Occupation policy - to no avail. Here comes one Adnan Khader, a thirty-something baker, and with his hunger strike not only cuts short his own imprisonment, but also exposes the entire structure of repression and trans-continental lies.
In the Arab world, everyone knows what is the original inspiration for the Arab Spring: the first Palestinian Intifada that began in 1987. Khader, like the Palestinian youth protests that finally forced the corrupt Fatah and Hamas leaderships to forge a unity deal, reminds the world that the Palestinians are not going to stay out of this one, and remain enslaved while their neighbors are gaining their freedom using the methods they themselves have pioneered.
Will the West and Israel, especially the liberal-progressive sectors of those socieities, be ready to finally do right in Israel-Palestine? Or will they be shamefully dragged, kicking and screaming, like has happened to other Western-backed dictatorships in the region?
Update: an expanded version now appears on The Only Democracy.
A favorite theme in the Israeli press and its Diaspora-Jewish copycats has been that Adnan is "just a scumbag terrorist who has found an original way to get his own ass out of prison." Or something of the sort. Besides being laughable - someone fasting 66 days to death's door portrayed as a sleaze looking for an easy way out - this talking point, as usual, misses all points.
I don't personally know Adnan or his views. Anyone who knows anything about the military-court system, can easily conclude that Israel has never had evidence against him for operational involvement in terror - otherwise he would have been long ago been jailed for a double-digit sentence. According to Adnan's wife quoted on his Wikipedia entry, he has since ceased his involvement with Islamic Jihad and instead has been active in intra-Palestinian reconciliation efforts between the various factions.
But suppose for a moment that he hasn't left Islamic Jihad. No less than 4 Israeli Prime Ministers - Rabin, Begin, Shamir and Sharon - had been active in armed underground militia before 1948. Not as spokesmen like Adnan, but as militants who actually killed people. In fact, one of them - Shamir - is widely reputed to had assassinated one of his own militiamen when the latter "went astray". Two of them - Begin and Shamir - were the chief leaders of radical militia fully committed to terror against civilians. Just like Palestinian militants today, they were wrong to target civilians. But just like today's Palestinian activists - whether militant or nonviolent - they were right about the main thing that mattered in their day: trying to deliver their people from tyranny and injustice. And in both cases, their people have been grateful for that.
So, dear mainstream-Israeli and Diaspora-Jewish pundits, please spare me the moral hypocrisy. When a nation is trampled underfoot for decades and generations, its young men go out and try to fight to reclaim its pride. That's human nature, that's the nature of human society. Adnan is a man who fights with his words and with his passive resistance - which, given the situation on the ground, are weapons far more potent than the petty games of armed militia. The last thing he cared about was his own ass. Here's what he wrote in a letter smuggled from the hospital some 10 days ago:
I started my battle offering my soul to God almighty and adamant to go ahead until righteousness triumphs over falsehood. I am defending my dignity and my people’s dignity and not doing this in vain.
The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners. I have been humiliated, beaten, and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey.
…Here I am in a hospital bed surrounded with prison wardens, handcuffed, and my foot tied to the bed. The only thing I can do is offer my soul to God as I believe righteousness and justice will eventually triumph over tyranny and oppression.
I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on. It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and force the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans.