Hana Shalabi

JENIN (Ma’an) — Former prisoners Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, who were released by Israel after lengthy hunger strikes, on Wednesday expressed pride and support for striking detainees in Israeli jails.

Adnan, whose sentence was reduced after he spent 66 days on hunger strike, told Ma’an that hunger strikers’ determination would bring them victory.

Bilal Diab, 27, from Jenin, and Thaer Halahla, 33, from Hebron have refused food for 64 days. Like Adnan and Shalabi, they were sentenced to administrative detention without a trial and they have not been charged with any crime.

“The confrontation will be resolved to their benefit soon, because they have reached the point of no return and are heading towards victory which they have risen up for against the Israeli occupation’s oppressive and racist laws,” Adnan said.

Adnan urged their parents not to worry about them and instead to be proud of their heroic sons.

“If they are released, that’s a big blessing and if they are martyred then this will be a great victory,” he said.

Adnan urged all Palestinian prisoners in Israel to join the hunger strike. According to prisoners rights groups, around 2,000 detainees have so far joined the strike.

Meanwhile, Hana Shalabi, who refused for 43 days before being deported to Gaza, urged Arab and Islamic nations to support the hunger strikers.

She told Ma’an she was eagerly awaiting their “moment of victory.”

Joint Statement, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

Ramallah-Jaffa1 April 2012− As organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and closely connected to Hana Shalabi’s case, Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) are alarmed at the announcement that Hana Shalabi will be expelled to the Gaza Strip today, only three days after purportedly ending her 43-day hunger strike. Addameer and PHR-Israel condemn the Israeli Prison Service (IPS)’s denial of access to both parties to visit Ms. Shalabi in the days leading up to the deal for her release and expulsion to the Gaza Strip and since the deal was reportedly finalized on 29 March. Addameer and PHR-Israel fear that, given her grave medical condition, the restriction of access of Ms. Shalabi’s physician and lawyers, in addition to the prevention of family visits, were used as methods of coercion. Furthermore, serious concerns exist regarding the availability and arrangement of adequate medical care matching Ms. Shalabi’s urgent needs in light of her swift transfer.
Ms. Shalabi deserves utmost respect for her steadfastness in her hunger strike. While her release from administrative detention should be welcomed, Addameer and PHR-Israel are obligated to highlight their concerns with those aspects of the deal that are fundamentally at odds with international law. Ms. Shalabi’s release is contingent upon her expulsion for a period of three years to the Gaza Strip, which, although part of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), has been hermetically sealed off from the rest of the oPt by Israel. Therefore, with no guarantees that she or her family will be permitted to travel, her expulsion could essentially become an extension of her previous isolation from her home and family while in prison.
There are numerous examples of similar agreements made by Israel regarding the forced transfer or deportation of Palestinian political prisoners or “wanted” persons. Most recently, in the October 2011 prisoner exchange deal, 18 West Bank prisoners, including those from East Jerusalem, were expelled to the Gaza Strip for a period of three years while an additional 146 were forcibly relocated there on a permanent basis as conditions of their release. An additional 41 prisoners were deported outside of the oPt. In past deals, individuals who were expelled to the Gaza Strip for short-term periods were not necessarily allowed to return home after completing the agreed upon period.
The terms of these expulsions violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits forcible transfers and deportations of protected persons, a proscription that is part of customary international humanitarian law. Unlawful deportation or transfer also constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GC IV) and qualifies as one of the most serious war crimes. Given the stark asymmetry in power, resulting from the belligerent occupation, between the Palestinian and Israeli parties involved, neither the potential “consent” of the prisoners nor the fact that these deals have been negotiated by a Palestinian authority can serve as justification for the deportations as this contravenes the spirit of articles 7, 8 and 47 of the GC IV concerning the inviolability of the protections afforded by the Convention.
In Ms. Shalabi’s case, further concerns are raised when considering her fragile medical condition after such a protracted hunger strike. The transfer of Ms. Shalabi from Meir Hospital to the medical center of the IPS in Ramleh Prison on 28 March throws into doubt whether considerations of her medical care were given appropriate weight. A 43-day hunger strike causes a clear threat to the life of the hunger striker, and requires close and professional medical observation, which is not provided by the IPS medical center. The attentive follow-up to such a long hunger strike is also essential to the sustained health of the individual. The fact that Ms. Shalabi was transferred to the IPS medical center while still on hunger strike, without informing her independent physician, and that she began eating without being under observation by a hospital casts additional doubts on the decision-making process of the IPS and the non-medical considerations that might have influenced the decision to discharge her from the hospital. Moreover, the IPS has created obstacles that have made it nearly impossible to adhere to the instructions provided by the Malta Declaration regarding medical care of hunger strikers, mainly by denying access of an independent physician to the hunger strikers. In the cases of both Khader Adnan and Ms. Shalabi, the first visit by an independent physician was enabled only after court intervention.
Ms. Shalabi’s independent physician was again not consulted upon the announcement of her expulsion to the Gaza Strip today. Addameer and PHR-Israel fear that transferring her while she is still recovering from her hunger strike to the destabilized Gazan medical system might further jeopardize her medical condition.
Addameer and PHR-Israel reiterate that forcible transfer and conditional release is not an alternative to Israel ending its practice of administrative detention. It is imperative to demand a permanent resolution to Israel’s practice of arbitrary detention, in compliance with international humanitarian law. Addameer and PHR-Israel call on the international community to intervene and demand that Israel immediately comply with its legal obligations, cease its policy of administrative detention and provide adequate and trusted healthcare for all hunger striking prisoners.

At approximately 3:20 pm on Sunday 1 April 2012, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) deported administrative detainee Hanaa’ Yihya Ash-Shalabi, 30, to the Gaza Strip, following an ambiguous agreement under which she will spend three years in the Gaza Strip before returning to her place of residence near Jenin in the West Bank.  She is being deported to the Gaza Strip in order to bring an end to her hunger strike.

Hanaa’ Ash-Shalabi began an open-ended hunger strike upon her detention by Israel on Thursday 16 February 2012, shortly before she was sentenced to six months’ administrative detention and jailed at HaSharon prison.  She continued her hunger strike for 44 days before the current deal was reached.  Ms. Ash-Shalabi’s health condition was described in a recent press release issued by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, which following a medical examination and blood tests found that Ms. Ash-Shalabi was “in danger of imminent death.”

It should also be noted that dozens of Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike in solidarity with Ash-Shalabi and in protest against Israel’s arbitrary administrative detention and other violations of detainees’ rights.  According to the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the number of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike stood at 29 prisoners as of last week, before its lawyers were prevented from visiting detainees.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reiterates its expression of solidarity with Ash-Shalabi and other Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.  It also reiterates its condemnation of the gross Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinian detainees, including expanding use of administrative detention, solitary confinement, medical negligence, denial of family visitation rights, and other acts in contravention of human rights principles, particularly the United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s forcible deportation of Ash-Shalabi to the Gaza Strip, in an agreement that gives her no option but to abandon a part of the rights guaranteed to her under international law and human rights principles.  Human rights are non-negotiable, irreducible, and inalienable.  Al Mezan views the deportation of Ash-Shalabi under current conditions as a gross violation of international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids forcible transfer or deportation of any person from their country.  International human rights law also forbids arbitrary detention and deportation, and grants all people freedom of movement and residency.

Al Mezan stresses Ash-Shalabi’s right to return to her home, and calls on the international community to promptly intervene to ensure her return and to end Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian detainees’ rights, including its regime of administrative detention.  Al Mezan calls on human rights defenders around the world to express their solidarity with Palestinian detainees and to support them in their struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity, and to work to bring an end to the practice of arbitrary administrative detention.

“Students fast in support of Palestinian prisoner”

by Haley Goldberg, Daily News Editor
MICHIGAN DAILY
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus
March 30, 2012
“As the clock struck 11 p.m. last night, plates of hummus, chicken, fattoush, pizza and cookies were placed atop the desks in room 2436 of Mason Hall, as 14 members of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality hungrily dug into the spread after spending the last 23 hours participating in a hunger strike in honor of Hana Shalabi.
“In response to an international call for a day of hunger by one student at every American and European college, about 25 University student members of SAFE began a hunger strike at 12:01 a.m. yesterday to raise awareness for Shalabi, a Palestinian woman who was arrested and detained last month by Israeli forces without charge for allegedly supporting the Islamic Jihad militant group. In protest of the arrest, Shalabi began a hunger strike that lasted for 43 days, spurring movements for solidarity around the world.

“LSA senior Abbas Alawieh, education chair for SAFE, said the organization decided to participate in the hunger strike at its meeting on Wednesday night. While only one student was asked to participate, Alawieh said about 25 members agreed to strike.
“Members wore orange ribbons around their arms in solidarity of the international hunger strike, and Alawieh said the strike raised awareness for the more than 300 Palestinian prisoners being held without charge in Israeli prisons….

************************************************
“Four NU students fast in support of Palestinian prisoner”
By Paulina Firozi
THE DAILY NORTHWESTERN
Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
Friday, March 30, 2012
At:
Four Northwestern students, along with students from other universities across the country, chose Thursday to go on a 24-hour hunger strike in support of Hana Shalabi, a Palestinian prisoner who had been on a hunger strike for 42 days.
Since her arrest by Israeli Occupying Forces at her home in Burquin, Jenin, Shalabi had been in administrative detention, or detention without a charge or trial, according to a prisoner report by the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
Plans were made Thursday to release Shalabi, which prompted the end of her hunger strike. Students had already made plans for their strike.
In October, Shalabi was released from two years in prison after being detained because of a prisoner exchange between the Israeli government and Hamas. One thousand and twenty-seven political prisoners from Palestine were later released reportedly in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, according to the prisoner report.
The four students represented NU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.
Weinberg sophomore Salek Khalid, Weinberg senior Natasha Singh, Weinberg freshman Serene Darwish and Weinberg sophomore Nouha Boundaoui were the four SJP students involved.
“I feel like on college campuses, solidarity is a really important thing,” Darwish said. “That’s how it started with South Africa — apartheid fell and we will get there with Palestine.”
Khalid said the students had heard of about 320 prisoners who are currently under administrative detention and that many of them have also been inspired to begin hunger strikes.
More than 30 universities including Harvard University and Columbia University have students who were involved in the one-day strike.
“When we got the call to action by organizers, we thought it was important for us to respond,” Khalid said. “It’s not just to raise awareness, but it’s an act to be presented to Hana’s family, that we stand with her and they are not alone….”

Check the Facebook page for this day of action: https://www.facebook.com/events/105670746232343

As students from American and European universities, we stand in solidarity with Hana Shalabi and her pursuit of justice and human rights as her voice is silenced by arbitrary administrative detention.  We call on you to stand this Thursday March 29, 2012 with Hana Shalabi on her hunger strike.  On March 25th, 2012 Hana al-Shalabi’s appeal in Israeli Military courts against her re-arrest and placement under illegal administrative detention was rejected after 40 days in custody without charge or trial.  Her re-arrest comes only four months after her release from over two years of administrative detention and was released in a prisoner exchange negotiated for the release of Gilad Shalit.  Since her detention beginning February 16, 2012, Hana has been on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of Israel’s disregard to international law and basic human rights.

This Thursday March 29th, at least one student from each of our participating campuses across the Americas and Europe will go on a 24-hour hunger strike in solidarity with Hana Shalabi, her family, and other Palestinian detainees held in Israeli administrative detention without charge or trial.  Students are encouraged to hold a small solidarity action with Hana and other prisoners on their campuses, even one as short as 15 minutes, and send pictures or videos of their action to solidarity.actions@gmail.com. Students participating in the hunger-strike please send us a picture of yourself holding a sign saying:

    #HanaShalabi

#Dying2Live

OR

#HanaShalabi

#PrisonerofConscience

Student groups who stand in solidarity with the action will wear orange ribbons around their arms to encourage others to ask questions and discuss administrative detention, Hana Shalabi’s case, and other ways to get involved such as putting pressure on those complicit in human rights violations

To further defy Israeli unjust security practices, hold those companies accountable for facilitating the violation of political prisoners’ rights.  The security company contracted by Israeli prisons to conduct surveillance and imprison Palestinians on a daily basis is the same security company many of our campuses use to keep us safe at our universities G4SG4S is a UK and Denmark-based security company that systematically supports the Israeli occupation by providing security equipment and services to Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and prisons including where Hana is being held.  By providing services to Israeli prisons, G4S contributes to the facilitation of Israel’s violations of rights of the Palestinian political prisoners. If your university uses G4S security services, ask them to immediately end their relationships with G4S and boycott their services.  Draft letters to send to your university asking them to end contractual agreements with G4S can be found here. To send a letter to G4S to ask them to stop facilitating political prisoner rights, please send us an email and we will provide you with all necessary information.

All pictures and videos will be compiled into a montage and sent to Hana’s family and shared with the families of other detainees so they know they are not alone and their efforts are not in vain.  Please let us know if your campus would like to get involved.  Email: Solidarity.actions@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreeHana

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

Desmond Tutu

 

Lawlessly detained without charge, Hana’s 40th hunger strike day began. She wants freedom or death, and not just for herself. It’s for thousands of wrongfully imprisoned Palestinians.

On Sunday, an Israeli military court rejected her appeal. The judge spuriously claimed grounds to continue holding her. Turning reality on its head, she threatens Israeli security, he said.

On Sunday, Addameer twittered:

“Despite her critical condition, the Israeli military judge rejected (her) appeal today, on the 39th day of her hunger strike.”

On Monday, Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said a PHR-I doctor examined her on Saturday in Meir Hospital where she’s now held. Blood tests confirm more deterioration. Hana agreed to ingest calcium and Vitamin K. They protect her from imminent heart attack.

PHR-I’s doctor reported further muscle atrophy, including Hana’s heart muscle. She remains dangerously close to death.

Her lawyer, Jawad Boulos, said he’ll appeal to Israel’s High Court. He added that Hana will keep hunger striking for justice so far denied.

Though uncharged, Israel claims she’s “a global jihad-affiliated operative….pos(ing an unnamed nonexistent) threat to the area.”

According to Palestinian Prisoner Society President Qaddura Fares, dozens of other wrongfully detained Palestinians also refuse food, saying:

“Consultations are underway at all the occupation’s prisons, and while a hunger strike is always individual, there will be a large hunger strike in different Israeli prisons in the next two months.”

“The prisoners in the occupation’s prisons are using the weapon of ‘empty stomachs’ as a result of increased repression and in the absence of a channel of dialogue with the Israeli side or negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to improve their conditions.”

Fares also said he’s not surprised Hana’s appeal was denied. Israeli-style justice never treats Palestinians fairly. Guilt by accusation is policy, even when uncharged.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher Bill ban Esveld accused Israel of violating her rights, saying:

“After previously imprisoning her without charge for more than two years, Israel is again violating Hana Shalabi’s basic due process rights,” van Esveld said. “If it lacks the evidence to charge her with any crime, as seems to be the case, it should release her immediately.”

Amnesty International’s Ann Harrison said “Hana Shalabi must be released or charged with internationally recognizable criminal offenses.”

Despite repeated requests, her family’s been denied permission to see her.

On March 25, the Palestine News Network said “hundreds of students, ministers from the Africa National Congress, Palestinians politicians and ex prisoners including Nael Barghouti, and minister of prisoners Issa Qaraqea, gathered today at Abu Dis University’s media centre in support of Hana Shalabi….”

Dozens of West Bank Palestinians began hunger striking supportively. Many slept outside in a tent on university grounds.

Former prisoner Nael Barghouti spent 33 years wrongfully incarcerated. “As a former prisoner,” he said, “I can connect to the difficulty of (Hana’s) experience as I spent 20 days on hunger strike in 1987.”

It’s “important to make connections between the students, the prisoners,” and former ones. An African National Congress spokesman pledged ANC support, saying Palestinians are entitled to self-determination and freedom for their prisoners.

Abu Dis organizers promised more protests coming, involving all Palestinian universities. Palestinians must work together supportively to win freedom for all others wrongfully held.

On March 21, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) called for ending “the shameful practice of routine administrative detentions,” saying:

ACRI’s Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad wrote Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He “call(ed) on him to intervene and either release (Hana) immediately or bring her to trial.”

At any time, hundreds of Palestinians are lawlessly detained without charge. El-Ad said doing so violates human rights and “requires a systematic change in policy.” He added:

“I ask you to act promptly – to stop the shameful practice of unrestrained use of administrative detention against the Palestinian population which is under Israeli military occupation.”

Institutionalized injustice defines Israeli policy. Barak won’t help. He’s part of the problem, not the solution. He enforces lawlessness. So do Netanyahu, his entire cabinet, and most Knesset members. They systematically defile rule of law principles.

Many human rights organizations support Hana’s struggle for justice. So far, B’Tselem remained silent. HRW said little. Scoundrel media say nothing.

In contrast, West Bank and Gaza protests, as well as UK vigils, rallied supportively. Others are planned. Meanwhile, Hana faces imminent danger of death.

Israeli authorities want her dead and gone. They’re complicit in letting her starve by denying justice. Family, relatives, and friends urge support to save her. Hana’s father Yahya says she’s “not only my daughter. She is the daughter of every Palestinian.”

Hana’s sister Zahera said she could have been in her place hunger striking for justice. On March 19, Mohammed Horreya, Toronto-based Ryerson University student and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) president, began fasting supportively.

He was inspired because “Hana’s case has not received the slightest bit of media attention here in Canada.”

Imagine a hunger striking Jew in a Palestinian prison not getting world headlines and perhaps threats to forcibly free him or her. Horreya added that Hana’s “the first person on my mind when I wake up and the last” when he goes to sleep.

Racist injustice she faces affects all Palestinians and many others. We’re all obligated to help.

A Final Comment

Land Day commemorates the IDF March 30, 1976 killing of six Israeli Arab protesters against Palestinian land theft. At the time, another 100 were wounded and hundreds more arrested.

Supportively on March 30, the Palestinian BDS National Committee urges supporters unite for a BDS Global Day of Action “in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.”

The Palestinian High Follow-Up Popular Resistance Commission also called for broad Land Day participation in the “Global March to Jerusalem.” On March 30, it begins after Friday prayers together with others internationally.

On March 26, Haaretz headlined, “IDF girds for Land Day disturbances,” saying:

It’s preparing to confront peaceful marches belligerently. Soldiers were instructed to “open fire along the borders and in the territories.”

Preparations also include “readying crowd-dispersal equipment and the deployment of marksmen.” Israel calls peaceful marches and demonstrations “flash points.” According to an unnamed senior defense source:

“The Palestinian Authority is looking for ways to again raise the Palestinian issue on the (world) agenda, and therefore it has an interest in protests that attract attention on Friday.”

Israel blames victims for its own crimes. They range from assaults to naked aggression. The scenario’s replicated throughout the Territories. Israel’s blame game claims terror threats.

The only relevant ones are its own. They ruthlessly kill, and at times massacre multiple numbers of nonviolent Palestinian civilians. Will Israeli “gird(ing)” this time be different?

Only in body count and numbers arrested. Nothing else will change.

The following article, by Palestinian journalist Linah Alsaafin, was printed in Al-Akhbar English on Monday, March 26, 2012:

Burqin, Occupied West Bank – A tent, decorated with the flags of Palestinian political factions and posters of 29-year-old Hana, adorns the front yard of the Shalabi family home. On the eve of Mother’s Day, the tent had received a steady stream of visitors since the morning. Teachers and students from Burqin’s secondary school, members from the village’s women and farmers’ societies, and mothers of Palestinian martyrs gave the family long-stemmed roses and flowers, enough to form a huge bouquet.

Hana’s elderly mother Badia spends most of her days sitting inside the tent. She can’t stand being inside the house – it reminds her too much of Hana’s presence.

For the past 40 days, Hana Shalabi has been on hunger strike, consuming only water. Being held under so-called administrative detention, an outdated policy that Israel uses frequently to arrest and hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time under the pretense of security threats based on “secret evidence,” Hana hasn’t been formally charged with any crime. Her health is deteriorating rapidly and according to the last inspection carried out by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel last week she is at risk of “imminent death.”

Zahra Shalabi leads the way into the small but immaculate house. Zahra begins talking earnestly about her sister Hana, who despite being nine years her junior is the closest to her.

“Everything Hana did in this house now feels like a dream,” Zahra says, adding that “she would wake up in the morning and make tea or coffee for us both. Sometimes I can’t believe she is not here anymore.”

Hana is one of five Palestinians who have been rearrested by Israel after being released in the October prisoners’ release between Hamas and Israel, in violation of the deal’s conditions. Prior to her release in October, Hana had spent 25 months in prison under administrative detention, which can be renewed every six months.

During the last family visit, Hana informed her mother that she would begin a hunger strike if her detention was renewed for the sixth time. When the prisoners’ deal came out, it was a welcome and joyous surprise.

“We were all filled with immeasurable happiness,” recounts Zahra. “Hana couldn’t believe she was out of prison. We stayed up past midnight on the day she was released, just chatting and laughing so much. She told me stories about life in prison, the types of dinners she’d cook with the other female prisoners, the sanitary conditions of the cells, all in a joking way.”

The four months between October and February were trouble-free days, bursting with dreams and ambitions. Hana loved to socialize and meet with people. She was busy with getting her papers in order to register for university, with her eyes set on enrolling at the American University in Jenin. She wanted to get her driver’s license, and later buy a car. She went on a shopping spree, buying new carpets and curtains for her bedroom, as well as new clothes since she couldn’t stand to wear the ones she owned before her imprisonment. Also she dreamed of getting married and of finding the perfect man to spend the rest of her life with.

On February 16, at 2:30am, Zahra woke up to the sound of unusual noises outside the house. At first, she thought it was a few stray dogs, but then came the unmistakable rumble of an Israeli army jeep. Hana woke up in a frenzy, gasping “The Israelis, the Israelis!” She confusedly thought that the occupation soldiers had come for her brother Ammar, who spent two weeks in prison after the Palestinian Authority arrested him in 2009 on the baseless accusation of weapon possession. The thought of getting rearrested did not cross her mind until the Israeli commander called her name.

“She began jumping around like a caged bird,” Zahra says. “She was panicking, and kept repeating over and over again that she was not going to go with the soldiers because she didn’t do anything.”

The soldiers raided the house, making the inhabitants sit on the floor. One soldier grabbed Hana, who tried to push him away. He began beating her. Another unit went upstairs to her brother Ammar’s house, and scared the children by charging in with police dogs.

Clad only in light pajamas and prevented from dressing more moderately, Hana was taken outside in the cold by “Officer Shalom,” who interrogated her for five minutes. Shortly afterward, she was taken away and almost immediately began her hunger strike after being subjected to more beatings and forced to undergo a humiliating strip search in the presence of a male soldier.

Posters of Hana are plastered inside the house. On one wall is a large framed picture of her martyred brother Samer, who was shot by Israeli soldiers in September 2005. The picture had a Fatah subheading denoting his membership of Fatah’s armed military wing, Al-Quds Brigades.

When asked about Hana’s Islamic Jihad affiliation Zahra gives a small smile. “She’s not really Islamic Jihad. She doesn’t belong to any faction. When Israel imprisons you, their security services ask which political faction you belong to. Hana chose Islamic Jihad on a whim.”

Israel offered Hana a reduced sentence of four months on March 3 after 17 days of her hunger strike but she was adamant that she would only break her strike if she was released immediately. Again, it should be noted that no one knows why she is being held or what the evidence against her is.

“Is Hana Israel? Is she the US?” Zahra asks angrily.

“Does she have missiles or rockets? Where is the threat to Israel? Why can’t we visit her? I know Hana, we grew up together. She has done nothing. It’s the biggest injustice for Hana to die in prison, because she is innocent. I am sure my sister will not make it through another seven days. My sister is dying,” Zahra says as she begins to cry.

She continues by saying, “I would never place my enemy in my sister’s position. We remain steadfast despite the pain exploding within us. I would not wish this on anyone.”

The Shalabis appreciate the moral support that has come from not just Palestine, but all over the world. However, they want that support to turn into action, to secure the immediate release of Hana, as she languishes in the Israeli Me’ir Hospital in Kfar Saba, where she was transferred to on March 20. Every time there is a court hearing to assess Hana’s appeals the family’s nerves are stretched thin in a psychological tug of war, only to have their hopes plummeted after every trial postponement.

On Monday, March 19, Hana’s parents met with the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas at the PA compound al-Muqataa in Ramallah. They asked him to secure the release of their daughter. Abbas replied that he would do his best, but Zahra dismisses his claims.

“Why does he call himself a president if he can’t use his diplomatic powers to release my sister? I don’t believe he is even trying. When Hana was arrested for the first time in 2009, ‘Captain Faisal’ the Israeli officer waved some papers in our direction when we demanded to know why she was getting arrested. He told us the PA gave him the secret file they had on her.”

Zahra is a thin woman who has grown old before her time. Her eyes are pits of sadness and she unexpectedly breaks down into tears in the middle of talking levelly for long uninterrupted stretches. She has trouble sleeping at night, often dreaming of her sister coming toward her with her hands cuffed, imploring Zahra to get them off of her. She wakes up fitfully, and says that she feels her sister’s pain.

“Her weakening heartbeat is my weakening heartbeat. Her stomach pangs are my own stomach pangs. If she dies, I hope she haunts the dreams of everyone who is responsible for her life, everyone who could have done something to secure her release but didn’t. The reality is that the world has failed Hana. What can we do other than put our faith and trust in God?”

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – The ethics committee of Meir Hospital may consider force-feeding hunger-striking detainee Hana Shalabi, human rights organizations said Monday.
The committee will meet Tuesday to discuss Shalabi’s case and could discuss force-feeding her, Addameer prisoner rights group and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said in a joint statement.

Amnesty International warned forcible feeding “could constitute cruel and inhuman treatment,” a release from the group said.

Shalabi has been on hunger strike for 40 days since she was detained from her home in the northern West Bank. On March 20 she was transferred to Meir Hospital in central Israel.

A doctor from PHR-Israel visited Shalabi on Monday and reported that on Saturday she had agreed to receive calcium and vitamin K to protect her from immediate heart attack.

The doctor said Shalabi’s muscle atrophy and wasting had increased on Monday including her heart muscle. She still refuses food and is in danger of death, the doctor said.

Addameer and PHR-Israel expressed their dismay that an Israeli military court on Sunday rejected Shalabi’s appeal against her administrative detention order.

Amnesty International also condemned the decision, noting that “the judge’s decision was based on secret evidence not disclosed to Hana Shalabi or her defense team.

“The judge also claimed that a medical report, submitted by the lawyers, did not provide information which suggested that Hana Shalabi’s state of health is a cause for concern,” Amnesty said in a statement Monday.

Shalabi, 29, is sentenced to four months imprisonment without trial. She is refusing food to protest the order and her violent arrest and treatment.

Lawyer Jawad Bulus, a member of her legal team, said he submitted a petition to the Israeli high court on Monday demanding her release.

Hana Shalabi with her father on her previous release from administrative detention, October 18, 2011
Hana Shalabi with her father on her previous release from administrative detention, October 18, 2011

Hana al-Shalabi has been held under administrative detention without charge or trial since her re-arrest on February 16, 2012 and has maintained a continuous hunger strike since that date, inspiring international solidarity and action. Today, March 26, marks the 40th day of hunger strike – and also a new decision handed down by an Israeli court denying her appeal of her administrative detention sentence.

Click here to send a letter to Israeli officials demanding Hana’s release.

Click here to send a letter to Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird demanding action for Hana’s release.

Not only did the judge refuse to consider Shalabi’s ill-treatment and torture, according to Addameer, “In his decision, the military judge disregarded Ms. Shalabi’s critical medical condition; rather, he stated that she is responsible for her own recovery.”

Administrative detention dates from the British Emergency Law of 1945 under the British Mandate of Palestine. It allows the Israeli occupation to detain Palestinians for up to six months at a time without charge or trial, on the basis of secret evidence not disclosed to either the accused person or his or her lawyer, and can be renewed indefinitely. There are 320 Palestinians currently held under administrative detention, including a number of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and some have been held for over four years. Hana Shalabi is one of 4,637 Palestinian political prisoners in the jails of the Israeli occupation, 30 of whom continue to be held in isolation, from Palestinian national leaders and Palestinian children – all of whom are demanding freedom. Within Israeli jails, hunger strikes are spreading as 24 prisoners continue open-ended strikes and a prison system wide one-day strike was held on March 24.

Download cards for use in Canada and the US to publicize Hana Shalabi’s case.

Hana al-Shalabi’s current imprisonment began only four months after her release from over two years of administrative detention without charge or trial on October 18, 2011, a release secured in a prisoner exchange negotiated by the Palestinian resistance. During her hunger strike, her health has grown progressively worse; she was visited today by a doctor from Physicians for Human Rights, who reported “stated that Ms. Shalabi’s muscle atrophy and wasting have increased, which now includes her heart muscle. Ms. Shalabi still refuses nutrition aside from vitamins and salts in her water and is in danger of death.”

The Israeli occupation is entirely responsible for the life and health of Hana al-Shalabi. In the past few days, pickets, mobilizations and demonstrations have been held in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Glasgow, Chicago, Derry, Belfast, and London. Amnesty International has issued a new appeal calling for Hana’s release – however, many other human rights organizations have maintained complete silence even as Hana Shalabi’s hunger strike reaches its 40th day.

More action is urgently needed to mobilize global support for Hana al-Shalabi as her health worsens and her appeals are denied, to support her steadfast struggle for her freedom, the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners and the freedom of Palestine.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

  1. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges the Palestine solidarity movement in North America and around the world to publicize the case of Hana al-Shalabi and all Palestinian political prisoners. Join in the call for an April 17 day of action for Palestinian prisoners’ day!
  2. Contact Israeli occupation officials and demand Hana al-Shalabi’s release. Sign your letter here
  3. Write to your government officials:
    1. In Canada: Click here to send a letter to Foreign Minister John Baird (developed by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid)
    2. In the United States: Call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209). Demand that Jeffrey Feltman bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel and raise the question of Khader Adnan’s administrative detention.
  4. Organize a picket or protest outside the Israeli embassy or consulate in your location and demand the immediate freedom of Hana al-Shalabi and all Palestinian political prisoners. Make it clear that the eyes of the world are on the situation of Hana Shalabi and demand an end to the use of isolation, torture solitary confinement, and administrative detention against Palestinian political prisoners. Send us reports of your protests at Israeli embassies and consulates at samidoun@samidoun.ca.
  5. Keep sharing Hana’s story on social media.