Palestinian Detainee Khalil Awawdeh Ends 181-day Hunger Strike

Palestinian administrative detainee Khalil Awawdeh agreed on Wednesday night to suspend his 181-day hunger strike after securing a written agreement from Israel that he would be released on October 2.

A week ago, MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash – Joint List) visited Awawdeh in the hospital where he was transferred to show his solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner (Photo: Al-Ittihad)

A photo of him in a hospital bed holding up two fingers in a victory sign was widely circulated on Twitter. A video taken at his hospital bed showed him holding up a cup of tea. A 40-year-old father of four from the village of Ithna near Hebron, he has been hospitalized in Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin due to his emaciated state and critical health condition.

The occupation army this month had suspended his detention for the duration of his hospital stay, but Awawdeh had not wanted to end his hunger strike until it was clear to him that he could return home. The High Court of Justice both last week and this week rejected an appeal for his release

On Wednesday night, Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) called on the government to end its policy of administrative detentions. “It’s time to stop the policy of administrative arrests – now!” she tweeted. “For Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the Supreme Court, Awawdeh is not a person, but a Palestinian who is allowed to be kidnapped from his home and kept him behind bars without charges”, lawmaker Ofer Cassif (Joint List) denounced on Twitter.

The Hadash lawmaker demanded the immediate release of Awawdeh, who barely weighs 38 kilograms and has serious health problems due to the protest.

A week ago, Cassif visited Awawdeh in the hospital where he was transferred to show his solidarity with the prisoner, who is being held under administrative detention. According to the Israeli human rights NGO HaMoked, Israel now holds 743 Palestinian administrative detainees.