Palestinian Khader Adnan Dies on Hunger Strike in Israeli Prison

Magen-Nitzan Prison, Ramla, Israel — On his 87th day of hunger strike protesting administrative detention, Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, 45, was found unresponsive in Israel’s Magen-Nitzan Prison.

Later the same day — May 2, 2023 — political leaders, released prisoners, family members and prisoner’s rights advocates gathered outside the Gaza City headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to condemn Adnan’s death.

That night, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel which were responded to by Israeli warplanes bombing Hamas sites.

On Feb. 5, 2023, Adnan was arrested for the 13th time by Israeli forces. His charges were belonging to a ‘terrorist organization and supporting terrorism and incitement.’ Adnan was kept in prison via administrative detention — Israel’s controversial practice of holding prisoners indefinitely with no trial date and no access to lawyers.

From the West Bank town of Arraba, just 7 miles from Jenin, Adnan was once a leader in the Islamic Jihad Movement (PIJ) which is labeled as a terrorist organization by Israel.

After being incarcerated so many times on administrative detention, Adnan resorted to using hunger striking as a weapon or a way to protest. He had since became a prominent Palestinian hunger-striker.

The 87-days of hunger strike in 2023 was Adnan’s sixth and last hunger-strike — all protesting Israel’s detention policies. In 2012 he held a hunger strike for a period of 66 days, in 2015 for 52 days, in 2018 for a period of 59 days, and in 2021 for 25 days, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club.

Crowds gather on May 2, 2023, to mourn the death of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan.

During the May 2 rally, a representative of the Emergency Committee for Palestinian Prisoners said, “it is as if the occupation is sending a message to our people that whoever resists the occupation will be like Sheikh Khader Adnan.”

Responding to Adnan’s death, Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, said “Israeli authorities have committed an assassination against Khader Adnan, by refusing to release him and neglecting him medically.”

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel during the night after Palestinian Prisoner Khader Adnan died in Israeli prison.
Israeli warplanes target Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip on May 3, 2023.

After night fell, the Israeli army announced that 22 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel and indicated that four of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system “while 16 shells fell in uninhabited areas.”

In response, the Israeli army bombed areas of Gaza with tanks and warplanes carried out strikes on weapons production sites, military complexes, and an underground tunnel belonging to the elected ruling political party Hamas, whom it blamed for firing the rockets.

Khader Adnan is at least the seventh incarcerated Palestinian to die while on hunger strike in an Israeli prison in the last 50 years. It is expected that his family will never receive his body. Since 2016, Israel has kept the bodies of at least 118 Palestinian prisoners who’ve died in custody, violating religious laws and customs.

About 4,900 Palestinians are currently incarcerated in Israeli prisons with 1,000 being held indefinitely on ‘administrative detention’ without charges, trial or release date, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.

Related: Administrative Detention and ‘Medical Neglect’ in Israeli Prisons Lead to Deaths and Protests [Mar. 29, 2023]

Related: Prisoners in Greece: Hunger Strike as a Weapon [Jan. 28, 2023]

For more from Palestine, see our archives.

Niko Georgiades contributed to this report for Unicorn Riot.

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