DOUBLE ARTICLE: Palestinian Mohammed Alan on Hunger Strike – The Guardian/AFP
Palestinian Lawyer On Hunger Strike Over Israeli Detention Policy Falls Into Coma – Mairav Zonszein/The Guardian
A Palestinian lawyer has fallen into a coma after entering his 60th day on hunger strike while being held by Israel in administrative detention.
Mohammed Allan, who has been imprisoned without charge or trial since November last year, was put on a respirator on Friday and is receiving fluids – the first medical treatment he has received since beginning his protest against Israel’s policy of administrative detention.
Allan, 31, allegedly a member of Islamic Jihad, had refused any medical treatment, vitamins or minerals but had been drinking water.
A spokesperson for Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon, Israel, said in a statement: “The condition of Mohammed Allan deteriorated this morning. He is receiving treatment and his condition is stable. The treatment is being administered according to the ethics committee guidelines and includes respiration and intravenous fluids and saline.”
Last month, the Knesset passed a law permitting the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike if their life is in danger.
(Mohammed Alan, on hunger strike since 18/06/2015)
Israel has long been concerned that hunger strikes by Palestinians in its jails could end in deaths and trigger waves of protests in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. On Friday, the Israel prison service declared a state of emergency across Israeli jails, closing all sections and imposing a curfew on all prisoners.
Last Friday, the International Red Cross issued a warning that Allan’s situation was rapidly deteriorating and his life was at risk. After doctors at Soroka hospital in Beersheba refused to force-feed him, he was transferred to Barzilai on Monday.
Doctors there have also stated they would not force-feed Allan, but the hospital’s medical director, Dr Chezi Levy, did not rule it out when speaking with the media this week.
The Israel Medical Association came out explicitly against the law, declaring it to be “equivalent to torture and every physician has the right to refuse to force-feed a hunger striker against his or her will”. The IMA has issued a petition to the supreme court regarding the legality of force-feeding, which is scheduled to be heard in September.
“Once Allan lost consciousness, medical ethics requires that his doctors act in accordance to their understanding of the patient’s will and their discretion,” the Israeli organisation Physicians for Human Rights told the Guardian, adding: “The state of Israel is responsible for his health.” The group has called on Israel to release Allan from administrative detention.
According to Israel’s prison service and the human rights group B’Tselem, nearly 400 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention. In July, Israel released the Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan following a hunger strike lasting more than 50 days that endangered his life.
Israel Offers To Free Palestinian Hunger Striker If He Goes Abroad – Steve Weizman/AFP
OCCUPIED Jerusalem – Israel on Monday offered to free a Palestinian detainee whose two-month hunger strike has left him in a coma — but only if he goes abroad, a demand his lawyer immediately dismissed.
The justice ministry made its proposal ahead of a hearing at Israel’s top court over whether to release Mohammed Allan, 31, who lapsed into a coma on Friday after ingesting only water since June 18.
The hearing came as tensions continued to rise in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, with a Palestinian shot dead after attempting to stab a border policeman in the fourth such incident in just over a week.
After hearing arguments on whether to release Allan, the High Court set another hearing for Wednesday. Allan’s lawyers argued that his condition negated the authorities’ stance that he posed a danger.
The justice ministry released a statement ahead of the hearing that included an offer to free Allan, a lawyer from northern West Bank town Einabus, “if he agrees to go abroad for a period of four years”.
“We are categorically refusing that proposal,” Allan lawyer Jamil al-Khatib told AFP.
Since he lost consciousness, doctors have used artificial breathing equipment, fluids and vitamins to keep him alive.
A doctor at the Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon where Allan is being treated told the court that he had not appeared to suffer irreversible damage but would probably not survive if he resumed his hunger strike.
A spokeswoman for Barzilai told AFP Allan’s condition remained “stable”.
“There are still a number of problems… and he is being treated accordingly,” she said in a statement, noting the hospital was considering taking him off the respirator.
-West Bank tensions-
Tensions have soared in the West Bank in recent weeks in the wake of the firebombing of a Palestinian home in the village of Duma, attributed to Jewish extremists, which killed an 18-month-old child and his father.
On Monday, Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian who tried to stab a border police officer at the Tapuah Junction near Nablus in the northern West Bank.
The Palestinian was identified as Mohammed al-Atrash, 22, from Kufr Raei, a village near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
In similar attacks Saturday, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian who stabbed a border policeman in the northern West Bank, hours after another Palestinian who stabbed a soldier near a checkpoint in the occupied territory was shot and wounded.
On August 9, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian who stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli civilian at a petrol station.
There are fears of an escalation of violence if Allan dies from his hunger strike.
He has been protesting his internment under administrative detention, which allows people to be held without charge for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely.
He has been in custody since November 2014.
The militant Islamic Jihad movement describes Allan as a member, as does Israel, which has used administrative detention to hold Palestinians it deems to be security risks while not divulging what the authorities view as sensitive intelligence.
Many Palestinian prisoners have staged hunger strikes, including those on administrative detention.
Allan’s protest has also raised questions over whether Israel would seek to invoke a law passed last month allowing prisoners to be force-fed when their lives are in danger.
Doctors and activists strongly oppose the law, including those who say the practice amounts to torture and robs Palestinians of a legitimate form of protest.
The law requires the authorities to seek a court order to allow for force feeding, which they have not done.