Khader Adnan: Dying for Justice
by Stephen Lendman
He's a legend in his own time. Global human rights groups, activists, and many others support him.
His extraordinary courage demands acknowledgement and recognition.
Obama and officials in his administration did nothing to help him.
Israel's media took note. American media scoundrels barely notice.
On February 17, FAIR's Peter Hart (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) headlined his Huntington Post article, "Pundits Waiting for a Palestinian Gandhi? Meet Khader Adnan," saying:
He's attracting world attention. He's Palestine's Bobby Sands. Major media scoundrels ignore him. His story begs to be told, but they're largely silent.
"His plight is sparsely covered in the US corporate media..." Instead they cheerlead war and party while imperial America ravages the world one country at a time.
In contrast, supportive groups and alternative media champion his heroic struggle. Israel wants him dead. Supporters won't stay silent and resist. The whole world's watching, but you never know it following US television and print media.
A Robert Mackey New York Times blog article was the "newspaper of record's" sole contribution. He reported how "Palestinians and Israelis who oppose the system of military justice rallied in support of Mr. Adnan...."
His brief article was accurate to a degree but ignored the plight of Palestinians under nearly 45 years of repressive occupation and 64 years since Israel stole their country. Adnan's their symbolic hero. He's willing to die for justice. That's courage few anywhere can match.
Now 65 days and counting, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) says "fast(ing) in excess of 70 days does not permit survival." On February 19, a joint PHR-I/Addameer Prisoner Support group statement said Israel's High Court will hear his petition on Thursday, February 23 at 11:30AM.
On Monday, Israel's Supreme Court rescheduled Adnan for Tuesday without explanation. He'll be on day 66.
PHR-I provided a detailed medical report. It explained his "immediate danger of death." Both groups expressed great displeasure that despite his condition and world activism on his behalf, Israel's High Court delayed his petition hearing. Now they moved it up. Perhaps it's still too late, and consider the problem.
If they don't rule favorably post haste, it won't matter. If they do and order his immediate release, Israel's prison authority may appeal or delay.
Israel's hanging Judge Moshe Tirosh rejected his lower court appeal. High Court justices rarely override. Frustrated lawyers call the whole process oppressive. They want to help but can't.
The Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual discussed "Israeli Case-Law under Scrutiny," saying:
"For over forty years, Israel has systematically violated the rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and its obligations under international law."
Justice Israeli-style completely abandoned its role. Justices side with prosecutors. Decisions are based on "confidential security material" with little chance to review or challenge. Due process and judicial fairness are entirely absent.
"The Israeli courts, whether directly or indirectly, provide a legal seal of approval for the acts of the occupation." They're complicit with state crimes against humanity. As a result, Palestinian lives are lost. Only Jewish ones matter.
On February 16, Addameer and Hamoked lawyers petitioned Israel's military commander Yair Koles. He issued Adnan's administrative detention order. They urged him to cancel it saying:
"(D)ue to his medical condition, (he) can no longer uphold the ill-founded allegations that (Adnan) poses an immediate threat to the security of the Area or public security of the State of Israel; therefore, continuing to hold (him) is prima facie a violation of international law and Israeli law and amounts to arbitrary law" and a death sentence.
So far, no response was forthcoming.
"Addameer and PHR-Israel condemn the fact that the government of Israel continues to deliberate inaction and delay in disregard of the urgency of (Adnan's) case. Addameer and PHR-Israel hold the government of Israel accountable for" his life.
Both groups called on international communities to exert immediate pressure on his behalf. Weasel words won't help. Strong condemnation of Israeli lawlessness is demanded now.
On February 20, the Palestine News Network stressed Adnan's 65 days without food, saying "one day for each year of occupation....; one day, one year, of steadfastness, resilience, resistance, and dignity in the face of occupation and oppression."
His extraordinary courage demands others "amplify his message, support his action, demand his freedom - and the freedom of Palestine."
From his hospital bed, he said he's "confronting the occupiers not for my sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on" dismissively.
He's doing it for all Palestinians under oppressive, illegal occupation for decades.
On February 20, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemned Israel's barbaric treatment. Prisoners resist their only way by refusing food. Dozens of previous hunger strikes occurred. Adnan did earlier when detained.
Al Mezan highlighted Israeli lawlessness, saying:
Palestine's illegally occupied. Palestinians are arbitrarily detained. Thousands are currently held and tortured, including 25 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members for belonging to the wrong party.
Israel "deprive(s) Palestinian detainees of their rights to visitation by family and lawyers, education, access to books and magazines, and prevents (them) from purchasing needed goods and receiving appropriate medical treatment."
Inadequate amounts of poor quality food are provided, and many detainees are isolated repressively in solitary confinement for extended periods.
"Al Mezan reiterates its previous calls on the international community to intervene to end Israel's systematic and grave abuses against Palestinian detainees" and demand Adnan's immediate release.
Thousands of Palestinians rallied in support. So did hundreds of prisoners going on open-ended hunger strikes. Harsh punishment followed, including isolation in solitary confinement.
Adnan's wife Randa fears the worst, but clings to hope he'll be saved. She's enduring best she can. Five months pregnant, she has two daughters. She's been outspoken for her husband. She deplores the lack of objective reporting, including misstating what she says.
In his 65th day, he's Palestine's longest known hunger striker. "He is fading away and his eyes are sunken," said Randa. "They are beautiful, bluish-green in color and should be seen."
He's been detained eight previous times. Since 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned. They include about 40% of Palestinian males and thousands of women and children. Most are political prisoners. Their crime: praying to the wrong God in a Jewish state.
As a result, Israel calls them terrorists.
After visiting Adnan on Sunday, his lawyer Jawad Boulus said he was surprised by his upbeat spirit, saying:
"You can't believe his will. I am amazed."
YNet News mistakenly said he's being force-fed. Its Hebrew edition said "(T)he Medical Ethics Committee allowed the Israel Prison Service to treat" him....The decision was made after members of the committee spoke with the detainee and gained the impression that he does not want to die."
It mistakenly added that prison doctors "can give him transfusions of salts and sugars if necessary."
On February 20 the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) issued an "Urgent Call for Action," saying:
"We call upon you to exert all possible influence and pressure on the Israeli Authorities to immediately release detainee Khader Adnan, whose life is in immediate danger as he has been on a hunger strike for the past 64 days."
"For the past decades Israel has applied the procedure of administrative detention on a large scale, systematically imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, as a tool of political oppression. This is a grave violation of the fourth Geneva Convention as well as the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture."
"It is time to act. Tomorrow might be too late."
A Final Comment
Outspoken against injustice, David Rovics is an activist song writer. His most recent one honors Adnan. Titled "Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands," its lyrics are as follows:
"Khader Adnan grew up near Jenin City
You could say he was a product of his time
Ever since he was a kid he’d get arrested
Though he was never charged with any crime
Spending half his life in prison
A life lived like so many of his friends
Arbitrary and indefinite detention
Never knowing if your jail time would end
Khader Adnan was arrested last December
Again he wasn’t told the reason why
He was shackled, he was beaten, he was tortured
There beneath the Middle Eastern sky
Perhaps there was a moment when he realized
That right then, with his body, he’d say no
But from then on he refused to eat another meal
Like in Belfast not many years ago
Khader Adnan grew up in a war zone
But all the tanks and planes were only on one side
It was a type of war that they call occupation
Settlement, removal, fratricide
And anyone who talked about resistance
Who thought they did not deserve to be a slave
Would be looking down the barrel of a gun
And often find themselves inside an early grave
Khader Adnan loves his wife and daughters
And he likes to eat his daily bread
But in prison he can’t see his children
Or live life with the lady that he wed
So on behalf of all the children without fathers
He decided he had to strike a blow
He said I will have dignity or death
Like in Belfast not many years ago
Each time Khader Adnan was arrested
In prison he would learn a little more
And soon he became the teacher
And he’d talk about the times that came before
They talked about civil disobedience
They talked about the ballot and the gun
They talked about the Occupied Six Counties
And the H Blocks in 1981
Khader Adnan talked of perseverance
And how someday their people might be free
How someday they might hear their children laughing
Unafraid, how someday things could be
And then at 3:30 on one morning
The soldiers came, their rifles pointed low
And they took Khader Adnan from his family
Like in Belfast not many years ago
They say Khader Adnan is a terrorist
Just like they said of Bobby Sands
Because he dares speak out against injustice
Because he dares to make a stand
Because he dares believe that he is human
And he does not deserve to live this way
Because he dares to consider an alternative
Because he dares imagine a new day
Khader Adnan lost his liberty before he was born
To fight for life it’s death he must embrace
But just like others come before him
There are others waiting to take his place
And even the great powers can lose interest
In supporting such a vicious status quo
Because you can’t break a man who won’t be broken
Like in Belfast not many years ago."
We're all Khader Adnan. His struggle is ours.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.