Israel accused of assassination after death of Palestinian hunger striker

The news that high profile Palestinian prisoner, Khader Adnan had died following a lengthy hunger strike, broke in the early hours of this morning 2nd May 2023. The announcement of Adnan’s death, who was regarded as a prominent activist by his fellow countrymen and an affiliate of Islamic Jihad by the Israeli authorities, was greeted with accusations that the Israeli state had conducted his deliberate assassination by refusing to transfer him to a hospital during the critical stage of his 87 day hunger strike.  

Outspoken against the illegal Israeli occupation of West Bank

Khader Adnan, who is from the town of Arraba, close to Jenin city, has been a very outspoken critic of the Israeli government’s occupation of the West Bank. He had been arrested and commenced hunger strikes many times before, most notably in 2015 when he refused food for 55 days in protest of the Israeli governments use of the policy of ‘Administrative Detention’, which allows the government to detain suspects indefinitely without trial or charge.

One of more than a thousand people detained without charge or trial

His detention is one of more than 1,000 Palestinians detained without charge or trial, according to human rights organisations such as Amnesty International who said the practice:

‘forms part of the Israeli authorities’ widespread and systematic use of arbitrary arrest, administrative detention and torture against Palestinians, including children [all] part of Israel’s policy of domination and control over the Palestinian population, are flagrant violations of the country’s obligations under international human rights law, and constitute the crime against humanity of apartheid’

Prominent Palestinian figures accuse Israel of assassination

The news of Khader Adnan’s death immediately saw the launch from Gaza of three rockets into an unpopulated area of Israeli territory. The announcement also provoked statements from senior Palestinian leaders including Mustafa Barghouti, the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, who declared the Israeli government and the National Security Minister, Ben Gvir:

‘…personally responsible for this act of assassination. I call it an act of assassination because the Israeli government knew very well, and its military courts, that a person who is on hunger strike for 87 days, who had not received any kind of medical care, could die at any moment. And that’s exactly what happened’

Warnings of his imminent death fell on deaf ears

The protests of Khader Adnan’s wife Randa Mousa, a week before his death, in which she predicted his demise, fell on deaf ears. At that time she said he was:

‘…refusing any support, refusing medical examinations, he is in a cell with very difficult detention conditions…they have refused to transfer him to a civilian hospital, they refused to allow his lawyer a visit’

Her protestations were joined by warnings from the NGO, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, who had managed to visit Adnan in the prison and had pressed for him to be: ‘urgently transferred to a hospital’ as they reported that he was pale and weak, that he was struggling to move, he was unable to speak, was exhausted and dangerously emaciated.

The final words of Khader Adnan

Aware of his imminent death, Adnan is reported to have written a final message which has been published by the Palestinian Prisoners Club late on Monday:

‘sending you these words as my flesh and fat has melted. I pray that God accepts me as a faithful martyr’

There have been calls from many Palestinian factions across the Gaza Strip for a general strike and large scale street protests. A statement was published from the militant group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which read:

‘Our fight is continuing and the enemy will realise once again that its crimes will not pass without a response. Resistance will continue by all might and determination’

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