Terrorist Dies After 86-Day Hunger Strike in Israeli Jail


Staff member
Terrorist Dies After 86-Day Hunger Strike in Israeli Jail
The blame-Israel game begins.
By Hugh Fitzgerald

Khader Adnan was a senior official in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terror group that in recent years has been even more violent than Hamas. He had been arrested by Israel a total of twelve times, and indeed had conducted several very long hunger strikes before, but in the past he had ceased his strikes when the Israelis met his demands including, in several instances, releasing him from prison. This time it was different. Israel was determined not to give in. Adnan refused all Israeli medical aid, and after an 86-day hunger strike, he finally died in Israeli custody. Now the Palestinians are in a rage, blaming the one party that had tried to keep him alive, Israel, for his death, and they have been sending rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, which is their usual way to express their anger. A brief Jihad Watch report on the Palestinian rage over his death is here. More on the life and death of Khader Adnan can be found here: “Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader dies in Israeli custody after 86-day hunger strike,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, May 2, 2023:

Khader Adnan, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) political official in the West Bank, died in Israeli custody Tuesday morning, 86 days after he went on hunger strike.

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) said Adnan, 44, was found unconscious in his cell. He had refused to undergo medical examinations or receive treatment during the hunger strike, according to IPS.

That is the most important aspect of this case: Israeli prison officials had tried repeatedly to save Khader Adnan’s life. They tried to examine him, tried to get him to ingest life-saving vitamin-infused fluids. He refused. Western media have not, in reporting on Adnan’s death, mentioned these repeated attempts at life-saving intervention by Israeli medical personnel. Israel did not withhold treatment. It was Khader Adnan who refused to undergo medical examinations by Israeli doctors or to receive treatment during his hunger strike. Imagine if Israel had, over his objections, forcibly fed him intravenously. What an outcry there would have been among the Palestinians at the Israelis cruelly denying him his freedom to become a “martyr” for the cause.

Khader Adnan had gone on hunger strikes before. And he had won; the Israelis had given in to his demands on several occasions. His last hunger strike was in 2021, when after 25 days of his hunger strike, Israeli officials decided to release him. But this time the charges of involvement in terror attacks were more serious, and the Israelis were determined not to give in. But of course they wanted to keep Adnan alive; it was obviously in their interest to do so. And Adnan was just as determined not to give in, hoping that eventually Israeli officials would agree to his release or, if that failed, he hoped he would die as a “martyr” of the “Palestinian resistance.”

Adnan was transferred to the Assaf Harofeh Hospital (Shamir Medical Center) while undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation but was later pronounced dead.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials had warned that Israel would “pay a heavy price” should Adnan die in custody.

Israel was not worried about a volley of rockets from Gaza, but it was concerned about the damage to Israel’s reputation if Adnan died while in the Jewish state’s custody. The Israelis made great efforts, but failed to persuade him either to let their doctors medically monitor his condition, and to allow intravenous infusions that would keep him alive, or to call off his hunger strike. Khader Adnan rejected all those possibilities.

On Monday, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said that the top PIJ official was in critical condition and could die at any moment.

Adnan is the most senior PIJ official to die in Israeli custody in recent years. He was arrested last February on charges of membership in a terror organization and incitement.

A resident of the town of Arrabeh near Jenin, Adnan was one of the masterminds of hunger strikes by Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli jails. He himself had gone on hunger strikes a number of times during his previous incarcerations.

Khader Adnan had been arrested a total of twelve times. In 2011, he held a 66-day hunger strike, the longest by a Palestinian prisoner at the time. He ended that hunger strike in February 2012, after a deal with the Israeli authorities was reached. Arrested again in 2015, and handed a six-month sentence which was later extended, Adnan conducted a 56-day hunger strike that ended in his release on July 12, 2015. In 2021, he conducted a 25-day hunger strike, which ended when the Israelis gave him his freedom. Finally, there was his latest, and longest hungar strike, that he managed to carry on for 86 days. During this period, Israeli officials kept trying to persuade him to let them examine him medically and to provide intravenously fluids infused with vitamins to keep him alive. Adnan repeatedly refused. For him this had become a contest of wills – either Israel would give in, or he would die, and in dying, hope to create a public-relations nightmare for Israel.

The PIJ said in a statement on Tuesday that Israel bears full responsibility for the “heinous crime” and “will pay the price.”

The statement described Adnan as a “martyr” and “brave leader” and said that PIJ “won’t abandon the path of Jihad [holy war] and resistance as long as Palestine remains under occupation.”

Hamas also vowed to avenge Adnan’s death, dubbing it an “assassination.”…

The PIJ calls Adnan’s death a “heinous crime.” Hamas calls it an “assassination.” The PA describes his death as an “execution.”

It was none of those things. It was a death willed by Khader Adnan, who rejected every Israeli effort to keep him alive. It was, in other words, a suicide.