Monday, May 07, 2012

Save the Palestinian Hunger Strikers!

Palestinian protesters (Che T-shirt sighting!) outside Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem last week. Photo from Alakhbar English.

Decades ago in the midst of another desperate struggle, imprisoned revolutionaries in Northern Ireland used the final weapon available, and went on a series of hunger strikes to bring attention to British repression. Several Irish Republican Army militants starved to death, including most famously Bobby Sands.

Today the desperate resistance tactic of the hunger strike is being deployed by some two thousand Palestinians in Israeli jails. Two of these protesters, in administrative detention without charges or recourse, are now said to be near death. Thaer Halahla, 34, and Bilal Thiab, 27, shown in the posters above, have been denied visits from their families and independent medical authorities.

Today the Israeli Supreme Court rejected their appeals to end their "administrative detention." At their hearing, one of the men fainted from weakness. The other, Mr. Halahla, is quoted saying, “I am a man who loves life, and I want to live in dignity. No human can accept being in jail for one hour without any charge or reason.” 

These two men are not accused of any crime, merely of being "potential terrorists" by virtue of their membership in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad faction. Sound familiar? This is what the NDAA law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama authorizes here in the United States.

Save Thaer Halahla and Bilal Thiab!


  1. do you feel the two situations (israeli imprisonment and NDAA) are totally identical? or just similar enough to warrant the comparison.

    genuine curiosity as to your opinion.

  2. Totally identical? I'm not a legal expert. Essentially the same? Absolutely. NDAA seems to be actually a bit worse in some ways, in that from what I have read there is not even an obligation on the government's part to tell anybody that someone is in detention, whereas the relatives of those in "administrative detention" in Israel seem to have at least some knowledge.

    It's true — as far as we know — that they are dissimilar in that the NDAA is not being widely employed. Yet. I'm not putting any money on that eventuality. American citizens have certainly already been killed or imprisoned outside any judicial context because someone said they were terrorists. Whatever that means.

  3. i was just curious. thanks for humoring me! my inclination, as a rather uninformed observer, is to agree with you.