Islamic Jihad activist Khader Adnan, 33, stopped his 66-day long hunger strike on Tuesday after the state announced that it would not extend his administrative detention.
Adnan, who owns a produce shop and a bakery in the Palestinian village of Arabe near the West Bank city of Jenin, was deemed a threat to national security for his ties to terrorist group Islamic Jihad, and was arrested on Dec. 17, 2011. A day later he launched a hunger strike to protest his administrative detention. Adnan said he is also protesting the “torture he has undergone and the cruel and humiliating treatment he has had to endure.”
Adnan is considered a hero among Palestinians and abroad for fighting his administrative detention, which Israel uses to hold suspected terrorists without trial.
His case has made headlines around the world, and earlier this week EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said she was concerned for his health and was closely following the case.
According to a Justice Ministry statement released on Tuesday, the state agreed to “offset the days in which the appellant was detained for the purpose of a criminal investigation prior to his administrative detention from the period of the current administrative detention order, and also announces that as long as no new significant and substantive material is added regarding the appellant, there is no intention to extend the administrative detention.”
The statement added, “In light of the state’s foregoing announcement, the appellant states – via his attorney – that he is halting his hunger strike effective immediately.”
Barring any last minute changes, the statement said Adnan is expected to be released on April 17. Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein personally weighed in on the issue, saying he believes that the decision to release the Islamic Jihad activist was “correct, balanced and proportionate.” Following the agreement reached by the government, the petition submitted to the High Court was cancelled, and a hearing will not be held.
On Tuesday, about 15 people led by Hadash MKs Mohammad Barakeh and Afu Agbaria protested Adnan’s detention outside of the Ziv Hospital in Safed, where the activist was hospitalized. Demonstrations were also held in Gaza and the West Bank but they turned into jubilant parades after it was announced that Adnan would be released. Hundreds of visitors, including Barakeh, senior Palestinian Authority officials and senior members of the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank visited Adnan’s house to bless his family.
In response to the announcement of the Islamic Jihad activist’s release, attorney Lila Margalit from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said, “It is unfortunate that only after a person is on the verge of death, does the state decide to announce that it has no intention extending his detention.”
By contrast, Likud MK Danny Danon said he intended to initiate a discussion on the issue, adding, “Israel capitulated to terrorism.” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lashed out at the Arab MKs who supported Adnan, calling them “terror organization representatives in the Knesset.”
“I have not seen any of them trying to move heaven and earth to stop the murder of thousands in Syria,” Lieberman said.