After an 86-day hunger strike in administrative detention, Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan died in an Israeli prison cell this morning. Israeli officials refused to grant Adnan his freedom despite being informed by a Physicians for Human Rights Israel medic that he was facing “imminent death.”
Before his last arrest, which led to his death, Adnan was arrested 12 times. He spent nearly eight years in Israeli prisons, most of which were spent in administrative detention, a standard Israeli practice of detaining Palestinians indefinitely without charge. This wasn’t his first act of resistance, though. In 2012, he executed a 66-day hunger strike, 56 in 2015, 59 in 2018, and 25 in 2021. Undoubtedly, Adnan was a notable symbol of the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for freedom.
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Israel’s regime of mass arrests and imprisonment of Palestinians is an evident systematic effort to embed its criminal occupation and apartheid over Palestinian life. According to Israeli human rights group HaMoked, Israel currently holds more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees in administrative detention, meaning they are being held WITHOUT charges or trial. This is the highest number being kept on record since 2003. As of last month, 4,900 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons as political prisoners. Amongst these are 160 CHILD prisoners, 30 female prisoners, and 554 serving life sentences for resisting occupation and ethnic cleansing. The Israeli regime is so unhinged it goes as far as systematically abusing and brutalizing children in Israeli military detention.
Adnan’s life of resistance and martyrdom will live on with us. His death should be a jolting wake-up call for those who have remained silent as Israel has continued its ploy to demolish Palestinian lives for decades via endless imprisonment and the grander prison of military occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid.
As Palestinians mourn the assassination of a pillar in Palestinian resistance, we call on the U.S. to act on its commitment to human rights by taking firm action. While Israel continues to commit grave human rights violations against Palestinians, potentially with U.S. resources, President Biden celebrated 75 years of the apartheid state, claiming to “work together to create a more prosperous, peaceful, and integrated Middle East” despite Israel proving itself as an apartheid regime over and over again through egregious actions over the last year alone. How is peace being created when the current circumstances lead Palestinians to prefer finding freedom through death rather than remaining imprisoned by the bonds of Israel’s brutal occupation?
AJP Action vows to fight for fundamental change in U.S. policy toward Palestine and Israel. We firmly stand in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in the occupation’s prisons, and we will continue to do the work until every last Palestinian is free.