Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator
Khader Adnan, 45, of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, died while on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison.
He started the hunger strike on February 5, when he was arrested and sentenced in an Israeli military court and placed into “administrative detention”, which means detention without charges in abhorrent prison conditions.
It was the Israeli common practice of administrative detention that prompted the hunger strike.
Held without charges or trial, this marked the third time Adnan had been on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison, having been arrested by Israel 12 times, spending around eight years in prison and mostly under administrative detention.
Adnan died in his prison cell without any medical treatment, even though Israeli officials were repeatedly urged to transfer Adnan to a hospital, but they refused. It appears, the Israeli prison system was waiting for him to die, while they make room for another prisoner to take his place. It took only 87 days to stop him from his protest.
Adnan was a member of the Islamic Jihad, which is very powerful in Gaza, and they swore revenge for his killing.
“We demanded he is moved into a civilian hospital where he could be properly followed up (on). Unfortunately, such a demand was met by intransigence and rejection by the Israeli prison authorities,” said Adnan’s lawyer Jamil Al-Khatib.
UN experts declared yesterday in Geneva that Israel must be held accountable for the death of Khader Adnan, and deemed the administrative detention of Palestinians as “cruel” and “inhumane.”
“The death of Khader Adnan is a tragic testament to Israel’s cruel and inhumane detention policy and practices, as well as the international community’s failure to hold Israel accountable in the face of callous illegalities perpetrated against Palestinians,” the UN experts said.
Israel holds approximately 4,900 Palestinians in its prisons, including 1,016 administrative detainees who are held for an indefinite period without trial or charge, representing the highest number since 2008, despite repeated condemnation from international human rights groups.
“We cannot separate Israel’s policies from the colonial nature of its occupation, intended to control and subjugate all Palestinians in the territory Israel wants to control,” the UN experts said. “The systematic practice of administrative detention is tantamount to a war crime of willfully depriving protected persons of the rights of fair and regular trial.”
The UN experts called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for war crimes against the Palestinian people who have suffered under a brutal military occupation since 1948. However, we must all face the reality, that the international community, headed by the United States of America, is committed to defending Israel and its apartheid state, including its war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Israel attacks Gaza
Three rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israeli border communities, falling in open areas but setting off sirens that sent residents rushing to shelters.
Hashel Mubarak, 58, was killed by an Israeli airstrike on Gaza Tuesday night, and five others were injured.
Mediators from Egypt, Qatar, and the UN brokered a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel on May 3.
West Bank conflict
Israeli forces destroyed three Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, including a home in Haris in Salfit City, a two-story home in Hajjah in the city of Qalqilya, and a six-story building in Anata, in East Jerusalem.
The homes were destroyed in what Human Rights groups deem “collective punishment”, whereby innocent family members are made homeless because of an Israeli accusation against one member of the family.
The European Union has reported that Israeli authorities demolished 953 Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank last year.
Three Palestinians were killed and four others wounded in Nablus today when Israeli forces attacked the northern city under occupation in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said four people were transferred to hospital and at least 150 people suffered tear gas inhalation, including schoolchildren, during the Israeli raid into Nablus. A general strike was called for today in Nablus in response to the attack.
At least 107 Palestinians, 20 of them were children, have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers so far in 2023, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Ahmad Faisal Muhamad, of Malaysia, was elected as the Vice-Chair and Rapporteur of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under the auspices of the UN on May 3.
He gave a briefing on the guidelines for opinion case submissions to the International Court of Justice.
Muhamad stressed that the hardship and agony suffered by the Palestinian people have persisted for far too long. He feels that the international community must exert all efforts to implement the Two-State solution, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and based on pre-1967 borders.
“You can count on Malaysia’s commitment and support towards the work of this Committee and the realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights to self-determination, national independence, and sovereignty,” he said.
Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, spoke about the recent events going on in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, such as the desecration of holy sites, including Christian ones during Easter; the massive onslaught against Palestinian prisoners; and the aggression of extremist settler groups.
UN resolutions have never been implemented by Israel, and this prevents the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence, sovereignty, and return.
Al-Aqsa Mosque prayers
On April 24, Israeli forces prevented the calling to prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Has it come to this? The Israeli aggression against Palestinians has reached the point where they are not permitted to hear the call to prayer.
Last month, during the holy month of Ramadan, Israeli settlers caused a great deal of violence and tension. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the three holiest sites in Islam and is under the custodianship of the King of Jordan, which is a historical arrangement recognized by the UN and the region.
During Ramadan, Israeli forces attacked the Al-Aqsa Mosque repeatedly, even going so far as to beat men, women, and children inside and outside the mosque.
Fanatical Jewish settlers, most of whom are American citizens who have come to Israel to displace Palestinians, have been coming to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex for the sole purpose of aggression and confrontation. They know the Israeli security forces will have to protect them, so they are emboldened by the fanatical political statements of Ithmar Ben-Gvir, who now is part of the Benjamin Netanyahu government.
The call to prayer, which is routine five times per day, was prevented by Israeli forces because Jewish settlers were also carrying out their celebrations after they stormed the complex earlier on April 24.
Is it not enough that the European and American Jews came to Palestine and displaced the Palestinians, who now live as landless people on their land without human rights, but now the Palestinian right to prayer is infringed on?
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist