French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri has gone on hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention by Israel. This cruel and unjust practice means that prisoners can be held indefinitely with neither charge nor trial by the occupation authorities.
Human rights defender Hamouri was detained at his home in the occupied city of Jerusalem on 7 March this year. Since then, he has been held under administrative detention without charge or trial based on secret evidence. Given that the Israeli Interior Ministry revoked his Jerusalem residency status last October on the basis of breaching "allegiance" to Israel, he faces the possibility of being expelled from occupied East Jerusalem at any time.
According to the Guardian, he is one of the thirty Palestinian political detainees held by Israel who launched an open-ended hunger strike on Monday. The prisoners have been boycotting the Israeli military courts since the start of this year in an attempt to publicise their predicament.
The Palestine Centre for Prisoner Studies revealed last month that Israel's military courts have issued 1,056 administrative detention orders since the start of 2022. Of these, it said, 469 were new orders, and 587 were renewals. They can be renewed an indefinite number of times.
Hamouri has been the target of Israeli persecution since 2000 when he received a bullet wound, said rights group Addameer. "He was first arrested at the age of 16 and has since then been facing continuous harassment by Israeli authorities for his human rights activism, including six periods of imprisonment and arbitrary arrests, several travel bans, exorbitant bail and fines, house arrests, separation from his family and residency revocation."
Addameer's Director, Riyad Al-Ashqar, who is a former prisoner himself, pointed out that, "Administrative detention is a criminal policy aimed at depleting the life of the Palestinians in prison without a legal base. It is dictated by the whims of the Israeli occupation officers and the military courts, which take orders based on secret files."
Al-Ashqar noted that this is why the prisoners held under administrative detention go on hunger strike for long periods. "They want to put pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to release them."
There are 660 Palestinians held under administrative detention in Israeli prisons. They include four MPs, two women — one of them a journalist — and two children.
READ: French-Palestinian lawyer sues Israel's spyware maker in French courts