Hassan Shokeh, a 29-year-old Palestinian from Bethlehem, is embarking on a hunger strike against his administrative detention in an Israeli prison.
Shokeh is being held at Ofer prison, which is known for holding administrative detainees. Administrative detention is a legal procedure carried out in the West Bank in conjunction with the Order Regarding Security Provisions. This order allows Israeli military commanders to detain a Palestinian for a maximum of six months for reasons of “regional security or public security.” As of now, 600 people are being held as administrative detainees. Of those, 16 are children.
According to Shokeh’s father, Hassanein Shokeh, he is being held without family visitation rights, although he has been allowed to see a lawyer.
“Administrative detention is a real problem. We’ve been trying to understand why, what’s the purpose behind his arrest, but we’re still left wondering and haven’t been provided with a valid explanation,” Hassanein said.
Shokeh is not the first Palestinian prisoner to embark on a hunger strike. Earlier this year 1,500 Palestinian prisoners went on a hunger strike in protest of prison conditions, the longest hunger strike in the history of the prisoner’s movement. As a result of their actions, prisoners were afforded better conditions, including more family visitation rights and access to payphones.
Bilal Diab, another Palestinian administrative detainee, launched a hunger strike on October 17 protesting his own administrative detention. Both Shokeh and Diab are part of a trend of Palestinian prisoners using hunger strikes for better conditions.
“My dignity is more precious than my life. I reject the unjust policy of administrative detention and walk in the footsteps of all those who struggle, all lovers of freedom, all those who crave justice,” saidDiab in a statement announcing his strike.