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Palestinian prisoner ends 141-day hunger strike in victory against Israeli occupation

PALESTINIAN political prisoner Hisham Abu Hawwash ended a 141-day hunger strike in victory on Tuesday evening after winning his freedom from Israel’s arbitrary detention order.

“Abu Hawash’s victory shows the power of the prisoners’ resistance to win their freedom, arm in arm with the Palestinian people and their resistance, the Arab people and the international cause of justice and liberation,” said the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

“Now is the time to redouble our efforts to free all Palestinian prisoners and bring the system of administrative detention, and the entire Israeli regime, down.”

Mr Hawwash was believed to be close to death when Israel announced that he was to be released following massive international pressure.

Islamic Jihad had threatened to attack Tel Aviv if he died, while 50 prisoners were set to start an indefinite hunger strike in solidarity with Mr Hawwash on Tuesday.

He had been held since October 2020 but, under the draconian administrative detention order, had not been charged and had not gone on trial. 

Under Israel’s administrative detention orders, which are mainly used against Palestinians, prisoners can be held indefinitely without knowing what they are accused of, with evidence even withheld from their lawyers.

At least 500 Palestinians are believed to be held under such orders in Israeli prisons, according to human rights groups.

The Palestinian Authority’s commission of detainees’ and ex-detainees’ affairs confirmed that an agreement had been reached for the release of Mr Hawwash on February 26 “without any extension.”

Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Qanu said that the political prisoner had secured “a new victory over the zionist regime” and that the Palestinian detainees were able “to win every battle they are waging with the occupation.”

Celebrations were held in the occupied West Bank following the announcement, with the Palestinian Prisoners Club saying that Mr Hawwash’s actions had brought “the issue of administrative detentions to the fore.”

Last year, Israel launched its deadliest campaign yet in the occupied territories, according to human rights group B’Tselem.

More than 300 Palestinians were killed by its security forces, including 71 children, according to B’Tselem’s end-of-year report.

Additionally, 232 Palestinians, including 54 children, were killed in May’s 11-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip, during which US President Joe Biden authorised the sale of arms worth $753 million (£555m) to Israel.

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