Khader Adnan went on hunger strike while shackled to his hospital bed for 66 days, the same length of time as Bobby Sands. While he was near his last breath, it has ended due to the Israeli government agreeing to grant him freedom on the dubious condition of no additional “new significant and substantive material” being found. They forget to mention that no evidence has been presented against him or his lawyers since his detention. His heroic stand against injustice brought him to the brink of death for freedom. It has inspired thousands in Palestine and across the world, he received solidarity from former hunger strikers.
The Israeli army arrested Khader Adnan on December the 17th, 2011. Armed men raided his family home on the West Bank. He was then subjected to successive abusive and brutal interrogations. He alleged that he was beaten and stripped, also that his religion and dignity was ridiculed.
The state argues that Khader Adnan is a threat to regional security. Therefore they can detain him indefinitely under Administrative Detention, without providing charge or evidence. There are currently three hundred and seven Palestinians held under Administrative Detention. Khader Adnan’s hunger strike is a peaceful act of protest against this wholly undemocratic system.
However according to Yossi Gurvitz on the Israeli blog +972:
Administrative detention in Israel is based on the British emergency laws, which were never repealed. A person may be detained for up to six months without the government needing to show any evidence against him. Perhaps the most cruel element of administrative detention is the fact that it may be extended time and time again.
The state argues that Khader Adnan is a threat to regional security. Therefore they can detain him for indefinitely under Administrative Detention, without the state providing evidence to the accused. There are currently three hundred and nine Palestinians held under Administrative Detention. Khader Adnan’s hunger strike is a peaceful act of protest against this wholly undemocratic system. Yet the mainstream media coverage has been small, with a few exceptions in the Independent and The Guardian.
Now cast your mind back and compare the paucity of coverage surrounding Khader with the near media saturation of the name Gilad Shalit. Throughout the 5 years of Shalit being held by Hamas in Gaza, Western mainstream media routinely peddled the Israeli line that he had been ‘kidnapped’.
The ridiculousness of the idea that a soldier in a conflict can be ‘kidnapped’ by the enemy is one of the quirks of the Palestine/Israel conflict, particularly given this soldier was taken from a outpost which had tanks stationed at it, that routinely shell Gaza. Also remember the day before Shalit was captured, the IDF had committed an incursion into Gaza and taken two brothers, an event that was virtually unreported in western mainstream media. As Shalit’s name was seared into the memory of folks in the west, those same people would be hard pressed (very hard pressed) to name just one, just a single name of one of the hundreds of Palestinian children Israel has incarcerated.
The plight of Khader Adnan is another case in point. Israel has not charged him with anything, some media outlets have speculated that he is a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Harakat al-Jihād al-Islāmi fi Filastīn). Speculation is all fine and well, but as a self-styled ‘western democracy’ (or beacon) it is incumbent upon Israel to either charge the man, producing evidence to back up those charges, or failing that, release him. That Israel has neither charged nor released him should come as no surprise to those acquainted with the rather Victorian standards of the Israeli ‘justice’ system.
Israel’s reluctance to charge Khader with any specific crime and their desire to keep him incarcerated, may be related to his involvement in the Palestinian reconciliation committee. Which as the name suggests, is a group concerned with bringing the various Palestinian factions such as Hamas and Fatah, together. Honest observers of the Palestine/Israel conflict will know that the idea of a united Palestinian people is an anathema to Israel. This also helps to explain why Israel steadfastly refused to release the man dubbed the ‘Palestinian Mandela‘ in return for Shalit. In Ireland, we are well accustomed to the old colonial tactic of divide and conquer, we still bear the scars to prove it.
So as Khader Adnan’s life hangs in the balance, in place of the denunciations of Hamas for capturing an Israeli soldier enforcing an illegal siege, we have weasel words from the EU over Israel’s incarceration of a man, without trial or any semblance of due process, not to mention, as already stated, silence over the fate of Palestinian children.
The easiest way to explain why this obscene reality is the way it is, involves me juxtaposing it against the Western. The mainstream media’s coverage of the Palestine/Israel conflict is akin to the manner in which the US used to depict Native Americans. Compare the old westerns from the 40′s and 50′s where the ‘injun‘ is depicted as a soulless, faceless savage – not to be reasoned with or sympathized with. He is either to be killed or pushed into the reservation. Manifest Destiny could not be sidetracked by the rights or concerns of some pesky brown natives. It wasn’t until the late 60′s, early 70′s with movies like Little Big Man and The Outlaw Josey Whales, that a reality dawned on American cinema, of the true nature of the creation of their state. The fact that it took American society as a whole, so long to recognize the pain and suffering that their vision had inflicted upon a people, whose only crime was to inhabit the land earmarked for their ambition, appears not to have been a lesson learned. With regard to an honest appraisal in the mainstream media, of the Palestine/Israel conflict, it appears we are still languishing in the 1950′s.
“A deal which will see Khader Adnan released on 17 April unless significant new evidence emerges is insufficient when he needs urgent medical treatment to save his life now,” – Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Interim Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Khader Adnan is still incarcarated despite his health, support Amnesty’s call to Free Khader Adnan and abolish Administrative Detention.
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