Palestinian hunger-striker Issawi faces Israeli court on Thursday 21Feb13 February 21, 2013

Al Ahram    -    20 February 2013

2013-634969675495715904-571The Israeli Magistrate Court decided a court hearing on Thursday for Samer Issawi after his hunger striker which longed for 213 consecutive days, the Free Samer Issawi Campaign’s Facebook page quoted his sister, Sherine, as saying on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, an emergency hearing was held by Israel’s Magistrate Court to deliberate demands for an appeal of his sentence, which was rejected.

The campaign’s Facebook page reported on Sunday that Israeli authorities had arrested Shadi Issawi, brother of Palestinian hunger-striker, at dawn from his home.

“Our heart tonight is with Um Ra’fat Samer Issawi’s mother, who pleaded to the world earlier today for help to release her son Samer. She sits tonight with her three sons in jail for no other crime than being Palestinian,” the campaign statement declared.

On Saturday, the campaign published a message from Samer Issawi, in which he stated that his health had deteriorated dramatically, asserting that he was now “hanging between life and death.”

“I will continue until the end, until the last drop of water in my body, until martyrdom,” Issawi said. “My weak body is collapsing, but I’m still able to be patient and continue resistance.”

Issawi added that doctors had warned him that he might suffer a stroke due to declining sugar levels and falling blood pressure.

“Do not be afraid for my heart if it stops; don’t fear for my hands if they’re paralysed. I am still alive now, and tomorrow, and after death, because Jerusalem is in my blood, in my devotion, and in my faith,” Issawi concluded.

Israel’s controversial administrative detention

Issawi was released as part of an Egypt-brokered prisoner swap between Hamas and Israeli authorities in October 2011. That deal led to the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

However, Issawi was rearrested in July of last year under Israel’s so-called administrative detention law. The law, which has been in place since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, allows for the arrest of Palestinians if they are deemed a “threat” to Israel’s national security.

The scope of the ongoing hunger strike has posed a new challenge to the Tel Aviv regime, which has come under international criticism for its practice of detaining prisoners without trial.

UN Condemnation

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned over the rapidly deteriorating condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, a UN statement said on Tuesday.

“In particular the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi”, the statement noted.

The UN chief expressed his concerns to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a telephone conversation after he received a letter from Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas on the issue.

“Of particular concern are the detainees held in administrative detention without charges.  Those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released”, the statement added.

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