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Samer Issawi to be released

January 23, 2014 at 4:43 am

In what is being considered a major victory against administrative detention, Samer Issawi has accepted an agreement negotiated by Israeli and Palestinian officials to end his hunger strike. The Palestinian Prisoner Organisation has stated that Issawi will serve eight months for the alleged violation of bail conditions, after which he will be free to return to Jerusalem.

The deal, which still has to be presented to Israel’s military court and signed, would eliminate conspiracy charges against Issawi, leaving him to serve the remainder of his sentence for violating bail conditions. Israeli officials insist that Issawi’s infringement of bail was proof of “continued involvement in attempting to establish terror cells.” Issawi has insisted upon a written agreement as opposed to verbal pledges, which have been routinely disregarded by Israel’s security service agency, GSS.

Doctors had issued warnings about Issawi’s rapidly deteriorating health, reaching an unprecedented urgency in the last few days as activists across the globe relentlessly campaigned for his release. Various forms of protest were instrumental in alerting world attention to Issawi’s plight: daily Twitter storms organised by the Free Samer Issawi campaign; hunger strikes in solidarity with Issawi and other political prisoners in administrative detention; protests and the bombardment of corporate media by activists challenging the emanating silence. Once again, the power of social media was not to be disregarded as activists made use of online collaboration to further the Palestinian non-violent resistance.

Zionist supporters have also reacted to the news on social media, regurgitating the culture of hatred prevalent in Israel to express their displeasure at the news. Calling Issawi a “terrorist” and “child bomber,” once again a segment of Israeli society has proved itself a poor judge of what constitutes terror – ignoring the fact that the Israeli army has waged a state terror against Palestinians since the initiation of the illegal occupation.

Palestinian officials have hailed Issawi’s victory against administrative detention as “a legendary form of peaceful resistance which forced Israel to recognise Palestinians’ legitimate demands for freedom and dignity.” The contrast between Israeli tactics of coercion and blackmail against Issawi’s determination to persist in protest “until death or victory” has been hailed as “a victory which opens the door for prisoners who have been arrested indefinitely.”

Hamas minister for detainee affairs, Attalah Abu al Sabah also applauded Issawi’s resilience and commitment to featuring Jerusalem in his struggle, adding that his stance was “a clear message to the entire Islamic world to support the holy city.”

As the initial euphoria wears off, questions such as the motives behind Israel’s decision have started to surface, echoing Issawi’s mistrust in the apartheid regime. Many have already expressed doubts about Israel’s commitment to finalise the agreement, while others are doubtful regarding Israel’s agreement not to press conspiracy charges or have Issawi rearrested upon some other alleged violation. As long as ‘security’ remains synonymous with ‘terrorism’ as opposed to resistance, Issawi’s initial victory should be incorporated within the collective to transcend from a personal, and valid, victory into a tangible strategy to combat Israel’s oppressive policy of administrative detention.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.