[Pnews] Israel lying while Maher al-Akhras is dying

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Oct 17 12:37:17 EDT 2020


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/israel-lying-while-maher-al-akhras-dying
Israel
lying while Maher al-Akhras is dying

Tamara Nassar <https://electronicintifada.net/people/tamara-nassar> - 16
October 2020
------------------------------
[image: Child wearing protective mask near poster of a man]

Palestinians take part in a protest in solidarity with prisoner Maher
al-Akhras, who has been on hunger strike for more than 80 days, in Gaza
City on 12 October.
APA images

Israel is refusing to release a Palestinian whose life is at grave risk
after more than 80 days without food.

Maher al-Akhras <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/maher-al-akhras> is on
hunger strike against his detention by Israel without charge or trial.

“He is in immediate, fatal danger,” Anat Litvin of Physicians for Human
Rights-Israel said
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/after-81-days-hunger-striking-palestinian-security-prisoner-at-deaths-door/>
.

“People who begin hunger strikes and drink nothing but water for days on
end begin to die around the 75th day.”

Al-Akhras, 49, is from the occupied West Bank town of Silat al-Dahr, near
Jenin. He is married and has six children.

Israel has jailed him repeatedly and he has spent a total of five years in
its prisons.

Israeli forces arrested al-Akhras again on 27 July and handed him a
four-month administrative detention order which can be renewed indefinitely.

Al-Akhras began refusing food immediately.

Israel has brought no charges against him and he has been given no trial,
even in Israel’s military courts, where there is a nearly 100 percent
conviction rate against Palestinians.

Ahlam Haddad, his lawyer, repeatedly petitioned Israel’s highest court to
order his release, but it rejected the petitions.

The court said Israel’s administrative order against al-Akhras was
“justified,” but admitted that he does not pose any threat due to his
medical condition.

Despite that, Israel still refuses to release him.

The only concession Israel has offered is not to renew the administrative
detention order, which ends on 26 November, “unless new information came to
light,” according
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/after-81-days-hunger-striking-palestinian-security-prisoner-at-deaths-door/>
to *Times of Israel*.

Al-Akhras has rejected the offer.

“My only conditions are freedom or death,” he said in a video
<https://www.facebook.com/ppsmo/videos/339030777302063> from his hospital
bed at the Kaplan Medical Center in central Israel earlier this month.

Taghrid al-Akhras, his wife, said her husband’s health condition “is very
critical” and he is in “a lot of pain.”

“We are very worried and scared for him,” she said.

“My husband’s decision is only freedom and release. He always repeats, ‘I
will only suspend my strike with my freedom and release. I will not give
up.’”
Legal loophole

In response to one of his petitions, Israel’s highest court last month
supposedly put a “freeze
<http://www.alhaq.org/palestinian-human-rights-organizations-council/17401.html>”
on al-Akhras’ administrative detention order.

But such “suspensions” change nothing for the prisoner: Al-Akhras is still
not free to leave the hospital and return home. He remains imprisoned.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called
<https://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20201012_maher_al_akhras_hunger_strike>
the “suspension” of the detention order “an interpretive solution invented
by the high court to avoid reaching a decision on – and taking
responsibility for – administrative detainees on the verge of death from a
hunger strike whom the state refuses to release.”

“This is not the first time a Palestinian on hunger strike against
administrative detention has reached death’s door, while the state refuses
to release him and the high court cooperates with this appalling conduct,”
B’Tselem added.

In previous cases, Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have accepted the
state’s offer not to renew their administrative detention.

Maher al-Akhras is persisting in his hunger strike, however. This “does not
allow the state and the court to continue avoiding a decision,” B’Tselem
said.

“My death would be a murder by the occupation,” al-Akhras said in the video.
Israel’s lies

Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet is accusing al-Akhras of
being a member of Palestinian resistance and political organization Islamic
Jihad.

In a closed session with Israel’s high court, the state reportedly claimed
that al-Akhras “had been recorded boasting” of being a member of the group
from his hospital bed and urging others to “continue the struggle until not
one Jew is left,” according to Israeli media, which viewed the video and
its transcript.

Tel Aviv daily *Haaretz* reported
<https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-islamic-jihad-says-israel-will-suffer-if-palestinian-hunger-striker-not-released-1.9224340>
that the transcript the state presented did “not contain any reference” by
al-Akhras to Islamic Jihad.

*Times of Israel* also confirmed
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/after-81-days-hunger-striking-palestinian-security-prisoner-at-deaths-door/>
that the video and transcript did not contain reference to Islamic Jihad or
“any message which directly incited the murder or expulsion of Jews.”

The Shin Bet said the transcript was “unrelated” and that al-Akhras’
“administrative file is not based on a single video taken after he was
arrested,” *Times of Israel* reported.

Israel considers virtually all Palestinian parties to be “terrorist”
organizations, meaning that any politically active person could be targeted
for arrest.
Solidarity

Palestinian resistance factions across the political spectrum are demanding
al-Akhras’ release.

Islamic Jihad assigned <http://www.almuhja.com/news41056a6.html> Israel
“full responsibility” for his life.

Hamas, the political and military resistance organization running Gaza’s
internal affairs, said <https://hamas.ps/ar/post/12577/> Israel’s “neglect”
of al-Akhras’ life “is a grave crime that the occupation authorities will
pay for.”

The left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organized a
protest near the Red Cross office in Gaza City in solidarity with
al-Akhras, as well as another Palestinian prisoner in solitary confinement,
Wael al-Jaghoub:
Palestinian Authority crackdown

Mohammad Shtayyeh, the prime minister of the Ramallah-based Palestinian
Authority, also <https://www.wattan.net/ar/news/322083.html> held Israel
responsible for al-Akhras’ condition and called for his release.

But while Palestinian Authority figures have for years made such
statements, they simultaneously maintained “security coordination
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/security-coordination>” with Israel’s
military occupation and the Shin Bet.

Activists said PA forces raided the Red Cross office where they and former
prisoners were holding a sit-in in the occupied West Bank town of Tulkarem
and forced them out of the building on Tuesday.

One of the protesters told
<https://www.facebook.com/QudsN/videos/359832725139054> Quds News Network
that PA security forces in civilian clothing took part in the raid.

The protester said the PA’s actions “disrespect the sacrifices of our
prisoners and disrespect the strike of our prisoners.”

He added that al-Akhras is “defending all Palestinians, defending
Palestinian dignity.”

Human rights group Euro-Med Monitor expressed “extreme concern” for
al-Akhras.

The group said <https://twitter.com/EuroMedHRAr/status/1316123450172420096>
“each person has the right to know why they are being detained” under
the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
<http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx> which Israel
ratified in 1991.

Palestinian members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, visited al-Akhras
in the hospital in recent weeks, including Yousef Jabareen of the Joint
List bloc.

“If al-Akhras dies, it will be an execution without a trial,” said Ofer
Cassif, the only Jewish member of the Joint List.
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