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Gazans rally in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian detainee

Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have taken part in a demonstration in solidarity with a Palestinian detainee who has been on a hunger strike for over 140 days in Israeli custody.

The protest held in support of Hisham Abu Hawash was attended by his family members, activists, lawmakers and general public.

Abu Hawwash has been on a hunger strike for four months – 141 days – in protest against Israel’s so-called administrative detention policy.

The protesters carried photos of the Palestinian detainee and banners that read “We Are All With You” and “You Are Not Alone Hisham”.

The demonstration was organized by the Palestinian resistance movement, Islamic Jihad.

Speaking at the protest, Khaled al-Batsh, a member of the political bureau of the Islamic Jihad, warned Israel that the movement would take revenge if Abu Hawwash succumbs.

“This is not the stance of the Islamic Jihad movement alone, but all factions, led by the al-Quds Brigades and al-Qassam Brigades,” he said, referring to the armed wings of the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas resistance movement respectively.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab in an interview on Monday said “all options” were on the table.

“We are in urgent contact with Egyptian mediators in order to prevent an escalation that Israel is pushing from,” he was quoted as saying.

Earlier on Monday, leaders of the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad met in Gaza to discuss the case of Abu Hawwash.

The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) cited sources as saying that military leaders from the al-Quds Brigades and the al-Qassam Brigades also took part in the meeting.

As follow up of the meeting, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and secretary general of the Islamic Jihad Ziyad al- Nakhalah held a phone call on Monday night and discussed the latest developments, in particular the health condition of Abu Hawwash.

According to the PIC, they pledged to work jointly to put an end to this “human tragedy”, and the issue of administrative detention, which they said constitutes an infringement on the rights of Palestinians, especially in the occupied West Bank.

Several solidarity protests have taken place in the occupied West Bank provinces of Nablus, Bethlehem, Jenin and al-Khalil (Hebron) as well as the village of Abu Dis, east of the occupied al-Quds, in recent weeks for the Palestinian detainee.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces dispersed the protesters using rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs earlier this week.

Abu Hawwash, a father of five, was arrested in October 2020 and held in an Israeli jail under a draconian policy in which an individual is indefinitely kept in custody without legal trial.

Abu Hawash’s family members are demanding his immediate release and transfer to a West Bank hospital for medical treatment.

His wife, Aisha Hrebat, said on Sunday that he was in a “very dangerous” situation, adding that he was unable to speak and doesn’t know what’s going on around him.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) attorney, Jawad Boulos, says the doctors have confirmed that Abu Hawwash is facing the risk of sudden death at any moment.

The Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs also said in a statement on Monday that the 40-year-old Palestinian inmate was in serious health condition and “on the brink of death”.

Thousands of Palestinians are held in various Israeli jails without trial. Human rights organizations say Israel violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners under the Geneva Convention.

Palestinian inmates are subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression in Israeli jails. They are kept under deplorable conditions, without proper hygiene.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), Israel issued 1,595 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in the occupied territories in 2021 alone.

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