Khader Adnan remained, until his last breath, standing tall like Palestine; like the hills of Nablus; like the mountains of Andalusia. He was a brave man, but he was a nation standing on his own. We felt shame in the face of his steadfastness against the enemy of the nation, while the Arab rulers fell into the arms of the enemy and licked its boots to satisfy would-be friends. The Palestinian Authority — the security coordination authority led by the traitor Mahmoud Abbas — is among them, dedicated as it is to serving the enemy and protecting it from the resistance and a third intifada that will eliminate everything.
Khader Adnan was 44 years old when he died. He had been on hunger strike for 87 days, and no one cared, despite his deteriorating health condition, and despite his pain. He remained committed to his just cause and would not deviate an inch from his principles, refusing to humiliate himself and submit to the Zionist enemy. He faced the usurper of his occupied land and his jailers with unparalleled courage to gain his freedom and live in his homeland with dignity and pride. He believed in the need to resist the Zionist enemy even in the most critical and dangerous junctures of life. Hence, Khader Adnan remained the main element in the equation of the current clash, despite knowing that he was waging his battle in Palestinian and wider conditions very different from those that existed in earlier confrontations. Even though he understood these differences, he insisted on moving forward, believing in his ultimate victory.
According to most objective assessments, he was killed by his jailers, and not by his hunger strike. The decision to kill him was made after the Israeli enemy grew tired of trying to overcome his determination or force a pledge from him to end his resistance if they agreed to release him.
There is a fact that everyone who decides to go on hunger strike understands, as does the enemy: those on hunger strike are well aware that they have a soul and are moved by this soul; and they believe and have faith in the justice of their cause. This was the case with Khader Adnan, as hunger strikes are the most spiritual acts of resistance because they strip away the body’s power over a human being and enter a state of self-consumption, which the tyrants want to violate and tame. At the same time, they escape with their soul far away, making it non-submissive. They sacrifice their body to embrace absolute freedom and dignity.
Khader’s language about the concepts of freedom and dignity on the one hand, and sacrifice and martyrdom on the other, may be provocative to many and perhaps difficult to understand for normal people who are unable to transform the struggle from an intellectual and mental discipline into action that requires resistance against the occupation with hunger so that the body becomes the only weapon in the battle to achieve victory. This may frighten some, and may well be beyond the lexicon of the modern Palestinian struggle which, in the case of most Palestinian factions, movements and parties, has become sterile as brainwashed cadres eliminate several concepts of struggle.
Adnan rejected humiliation and degradation and demanded freedom. He felt that a Palestinian who did not believe in this has no justification for living their life submissively, like a slave who has surrendered to the enemy and been robbed of their dignity.
Khader Adnan’s final hunger strike was not his first. He went on hunger strike several times before in a life filled with struggle, arrests and strikes. He returned to resistance after being imprisoned for many years and after a strike that no one could bear, and then went back to resistance once again.
In 1998, he spent ten days in detention on hunger strike. In 2012, he went on strike for 66 days and forced the Zionist enemy to release him. In 2015, he went on a hunger strike for 52 days and was released. In 2018, he was on hunger strike for 65 days, after which he was able to force his jailers to free him. In 2021, he went on a hunger strike that lasted 25 days.
With his final hunger strike he became a martyr, leaving the far-right Netanyahu government flailing about after its heinous crime. His martyrdom was a model of Palestinian heroism, as he exposed the Zionist criminals and their injustices.
Khader Adnan was an exceptional Palestinian resistance fighter. The Palestinian arena lacks heroic fighters like him today in light of the criminality and cruelty of the occupation and the submission of Abbas’s “authority” to Israel. As such, his name must be at the top of the list of Palestinian revolutionaries and resistance fighters who should follow his lead and continue to struggle until they obtain their freedom and liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, from the river to the sea.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.