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Palestinian prisoner ends hunger striker after 172 days

Palestinians in Gaza stand in solidarity with hunger striker Hisham Abu Hawash on 5 January 2022 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Palestinians in Gaza stand in solidarity with hunger striker Hisham Abu Hawash on 5 January 2022 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian hunger striker Khalil Awawdeh has ended his 172-day hunger strike after Israel's prisons administration agreed to release him no later than 2 October.

Palestinian factions praised Khalil for his steadfastness and bravery. Videos circulating show his now skeletal frame barely able to lift his head as he was given a cup of tea to drink. "I am now 35 kilogrammes when I was 86 kilogrammes," he said from his hospital bed.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: "This achievement is added to the prisoners' record of achievements in their ongoing battles against the Zionist jailer."

This, he added, confirms the "firm determination and will" of the Palestinian people and that "the brutality and arrogance of the Zionist jailer fails every time to break the will of the prisoners."

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine confirmed, in a statement, that "the will of the prisoner Awawdeh confirms that the prisoner movement is unbreakable, and that a Palestinian will defend their freedom and resist with their will until they obtain their rights."

It called for "supporting the prisoners in their battle, which will start on Thursday with a hunger strike by 1,000 prisoners, as part of an escalating programme to thwart the attack by the Israeli prisons authority."

READ: Palestinian prisoners still in hunger strike talks with Israeli prison authorities

The Prisoners' Committee of Islamic and National Forces in the Gaza Strip issued a statement congratulating Awawdeh for suspending his strike, calling on the Palestinians to "rally behind the issue of prisoners and to support the prisoner movement's struggle."

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club said in a statement that Awawdeh will remain in the Israeli Assaf Harofeh hospital to receive treatment until his release, given his critical health condition.

It explained that the agreement came after Egypt's efforts, which had been ongoing for some time.

Awawdeh is from the town of Ithna in the Hebron governorate in the southern occupied West Bank. He has been detained since December and held under a six-month renewable administrative detention order.

Administrative detention allows occupation forces to detain Palestinians based on secret evidence which their lawyers are unable to see and hold  them for renewal periods of up to six months without charge or trial.

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