An edited version of this article originally appeared at LobeLog.
Palestinians in Gaza protest ICRC’s neutrality on Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike (Photo by Joe Catron)
There is a sure, albeit contemptible, way to get the attention of virtually the entire state of Israel. That is to kidnap some of its younger citizens. It worked with Cpl. Gilad Shalit, and it seems to be playing well again, this time with civilians (living in the settlements does not strip one of their civilian status under international law).
Israel, as a whole, is riveted on the fates of these three young men. There is a national outcry in Israel when kidnappings occur that is even louder than when Israelis, even young Israelis, are killed. There is a sense of urgency; that something must be done to free the captives before a worse fate befalls them. The attention is widespread and constant, both in cases, like Shalit’s, where the captive is known to still be alive and in cases where the captives are believed or known to already be dead. Israelis press hard for a resolution to the situation. Political leaders do respond, but sometimes, sadly, they do so in self-serving ways.
So much has been written in the blogosphere about Khader Adnan, the Palestinian hunger striker, that I thought I would just leave it to others. But now that his hunger strike has ended, I feel moved to make a few points.
We will probably never know if there ever was a reason, beyond harassment, for Adnan’s imprisonment. He is a member of Islamic Jihad, and some media reports state that he has or had a leadership role in that organization.
Adnan was convicted by Israel of being a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, but has never been charged with any connection to any acts of violence against Israeli citizens.
He was detained on December 17, 2011 and was held under the Israeli program of administrative detention. The process is not dissimilar to the one the United States uses at Guantanamo Bay, where we have found used various impressive feats of legal gymnastics to justify holding people for indefinite periods without charge or trial.
The Israeli version is slightly different, as administrative detainees can be held for up to six months. But the detention can then be renewed, over and over, so it amounts to the same thing. Continue reading