Khader Adnan to Hunger Strikers: Go Forth and Be Victorious
By: Fadi Abu Saada
Published Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Ramallah – Khader Adnan defied everything related to the Israeli occupation, its prisons, and jailers. He rose up against interrogators and informants, and against all kinds of intimidation and humiliation. He put his body on the line with a 66-day hunger strike until the occupation relented. Adnan spoke to Al-Akhbar about the details of his historic hunger strike.
Fadi Abu Saada: Why did you decide to go on the hunger strike the day of your arrest?
Khader Adnan: I decided to go on a hunger strike based on four main reasons. The first reason concerns the period before I was detained. There were several failed attempts to arrest me through requests by the Israeli secret service calling for a meeting. But I refused. Being humiliated and having to see Israel flexing its muscles does not disturb me at all.
The second reason concerned being abused during my arrest, including when the jailers assaulted me physically.
The third is the type and methods of interrogation.
The fourth and last reason is my repeated administrative detention without reason. My rejection of administrative detention complements my rejection of the occupation itself and my search for dignity which was stolen from us by the Israelis.
FAS:What is administrative detention?
KA: I believe Britain is responsible for this type of detention and its idea. It comes from the British mandate in Palestine. They used to call it the “emergency regulations.”
This type of detention starts with a letter from the intelligence officer in a particular region. He would send it to the region’s military commander requesting the arrest of a particular person based on “secret information” that cannot be divulged. In other words, it is “information received from a collaborator with the occupation.”
This type of detention can be renewed several times. In the case of brothers Mohammad Jaradat, Usama Barham, and martyr Ayman Daraghmeh, it was up to five or six years. Renewal is like a hammer hanging over the heads of the detainee and his family. The psychological torture has no equivalent and the worst thing is that the detainee and his family know that there will be no specific date for his release.
FAS: How did you spend your day during the hunger strike?
KA: I did not just stop eating. I also took a vow of silence for more than 20 days and refused to bathe for 65 days.
I prayed a lot and read the Koran when I was able to get a copy. I never slept during the day. People thought that was strange, but I preferred to sleep at night and wake up for morning prayers.
The daily search was always “amusing” because I used to confront the jailers who conducted the search.
FAS: How did they try to break your will and pressure you to end the hunger strike?
KA: They basically tried this by transferring me from one Israeli hospital to another for tests. First they took me to Ramleh hospital, then to “Tal al-Rabi” in Tel Aviv, then to occupied Jerusalem, then Safad, then the isolation in Ramleh again. It was very exhausting.
Then they turned the hospitals where they took me into courts for my case.
The main method they used was isolating me from the outside world and assigning three or four jailers in my room to pressure me.
They deliberately tied one of my hands and one of my feet for hours, even when I had to use the bathroom. They said it was so I would not escape, even though there is no window or exit anywhere.
The occupation soldiers tried to provoke me by turning my confinement cell into a “restaurant” full of all kinds of food that one might crave.
They tried to break my will but I was stronger, thank God.
FAS: What about threats to your family and friends?
KA: True, a secret service officer came to me and told me, “Say hello to your father.” He had said the same thing when they came to arrest me once. They threatened to arrest all my family and friends and actually arrested four of my friends from my town, Arrabeh, a few days before my release.
Occupation soldiers are not satisfied with all of that. They criminalize everyone who speaks about me or my experience.
The best example is what happened with the Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein who mentioned me in his Friday sermon at al-Aqsa mosque.
The Israeli government responded by starting a felony case against him, as if he was a criminal, just because he spoke about me.
FAS: What do you say to the 2,000 detainees who followed your path and are now in their second week of a hunger strike?
KA: I tell them, go forth under the grace of God for you shall be victorious. You named it the “battle of dignity,” so do not fail your families or the remaining prisoners. Continue until you are granted your demands.
A hunger strike is a matter of destiny and it is of utmost importance. We ask God to grant us victory.
I conclude my message by saying, do not drop the banner of the eight knights, especially Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla. They have been on a hunger strike in detention for 58 days, continuing the battle of Sheikh Khader, Hana Shalabi, and the others.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.