Hana Shalabi continues resistance as health fails
Palestine News Network
Monday March 19, Administrative detainee Hana Shalabi is determined to continue her hunger strike of 33 days, despite the deterioration of her health.
Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Ministry announced that the Israeli court have scheduled a second court session for Shalabi on March 20, 2012 in Ofer Israeli prison. The Israeli prosecution is to appeal against the decision that was submitted to the court to cancel the administrative detention of Hana Shalabi. The session will be held without her presence.
The representative of the female prisoners Lina Jarabouni, warned during a meeting with the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society’s Shireen Iraqi, that the health of Hana Shalabi is in danger.
According to the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-detainees press release on Sunday March 18, Iraqi said “I asked to meet Hana Shalabi, but she couldn’t come out due to her health.”
“A doctor from the prison’s administration examined Shalabi. He found that she cannot stand up on her feet, and is suffering severe pain in the head and heart,” said Iraqi. “Shalabi is also suffering from low blood pressure and low rate of blood sugar. Shalabi has lost 14 kilograms in body weight.”
Iraqi also said that the Committee of Physicians for Human Rights will visit on Monday March 19, to carry out other medical tests and to attempt to transfer her to a hospital.
No sooner had Khader Adnan ended his 66 day life threatening hunger strike than new urgent concerns are being voiced for Hana Shalabi, another West Bank hunger striker now without food for more than 24 days. Both strikes were directed by Palestinian activists against the abusive use of administrative detention by Israeli West Bank occupying military forces, protesting both the practice of internment without charges or trial and the degrading and physically harsh treatment administered during the arrest, interrogation, and detention process.
The case of Hana Shalabi should move even the most hardhearted. She seems a young tender and normal woman who is a member of Islamic Jihad, and is dedicated to her family, hopes for marriage, and simple pleasures of shopping.
She had previously been held in administrative detention at the HaSharon prison in Israel for a 30 month period between 2009 and 2011, being released in the prisoner exchange of four months ago that freed 1027 Palestinians and the lone Israeli soldier captive, Gilad Shalit. Since her release she has been trying to recover from the deep sense of estrangement she experienced in prison, and rarely left her home or the company of her family. As she was returning to normalcy she was re-arrested in an abusive manner, which allegedly included a strip-search by a male soldier. On February 16, 2012, the day of this renewal of her administrative detention, Hana Shalabi indicated her resolve to start a hunger strike to protest her own treatment and to demand an end of administrative detention now relied upon by Israel to hold at least 309 Palestinian in prison. Her parents have been denied visitation rights, Hana Shalabi has been placed in solitary confinement, and her health has deteriorated to the point of concern for her life. Impressively, her parents have committed themselves to a hunger strike for as long as their daughter remains under administrative detention. Her mother, Badia Shalabi, has made a video in which she says that even to see food makes her cry considering the suffering of her daughter.
Despite the calls to Palestinian from liberals in the West these extraordinary hunger strikes have met with silence or indifference in both Israel and the West. Israeli authorities declare that such a posture is a voluntary action for which they have no responsibility. The UN has not raised its voice, as well. I share the view of Khitam Saafin, Chairwoman of Union of Palestinian Woman’s Committee: “The UN must be responsible for the whole violation that are going on against our people. These prisoners are war prisoners, not security prisoners, not criminals. They are freedom fighters for their rights.” The plight of Hana Shalabi is also well expressed by Yael Maron, a spokesperson for the Israeli NGO, Physicians for Human Rights- Israel: “The story of Hana Shalabi, like that of Khader Adnan, before is in my opinion a remarkable example of a struggle that’s completely non-violent towards one’s surroundings. It is the last protest a prisoner can make, and I find it brave and inspiring.”
To engage in an open ended hunger strike, especially for a person who is not in a leadership role, requires a deep and abiding dedication to right a perceived wrong of the greatest gravity. It is physically painful and dangerous to bodily health, as well as being psychologically demanding in the extreme. It presupposes the strongest of wills, and usually arises, as in these instances, from a sense that any lesser form of resistance is futile, and has a long record of failure. In the end, it is an appeal to the conscience and humanity of the other, and a desperate call to all of us, to understand better the cartography of abuse that abusive imprisonment entails, which I would imagine is pervasively humiliating for a religiously oriented young Islamic woman. To risk life this way without harming or even threatening the oppressor is to turn terrorism against the innocent on its head. It is potentially to sacrifice one’s life to make an appeal of last resort, an appeal that transcends normal law and politics.
We can only fervently hope and pray that Hana Shalabi’s heroic path of resistance will end with her release and the restoration of her health. For Israel’s own moral wellbeing it is time, really long past time, to renounce reliance on administrative detention and to do more than this, to end forthwith its varied crimes of occupation. At this point the only possible way to do this is to withdraw unconditionally behind the 1967 borders, and to start peace negotiations from that altered position. It is politically unimaginable that Israeli leaders will heed such a call, but it is morally unimaginable that Israel will survive its impending spiritual collapse if it does not do so.
In the meantime, we who are beyond these zones of occupation, abuse, and imprisonment must not only stand and watch as this tragic drama plays itself out. Wherever we are, whatever we can do, we need to act, to appeal, to shout, and to denounce the inhumanity of allowing such cruelty to be enacted before our watching eyes.
Press release, EMHRN
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) is seriously concerned about Israel’s abusive regime of administrative detention. This regime has been the subject of numerous protests by Palestinian and international human rights organisations, including recent public interventions in the context of the hunger strikes by administrative detainees Khader Adnan and Hana ash-Shalabi.
EMHRN expresses its grave concern for the life and well-being of Ms ash-Shalabi, who has been on hunger strike since the time of her arrest on the night of 15-16 February 2012, a period of 33 days. Ms ash-Shalabi’s father and mother have also been on hunger strike in solidarity with their daughter since 23 February.
Ms ash-Shalabi is one of 309 individuals held under a practice known as “administrative detention,” a procedure used to detain individuals without charge or trial on the basis of “security considerations”. Palestinian citizens of the occupied territory seized as administrative detainees are held on the basis of an order by Israel’s regional military commander. These orders specify no crime, and no criminal charge is issued. Administrative detainees are brought before military courts for review of such orders, but in the absence of information regarding the basis for detention, and consequent to the military court system’s use of “secret material” unavailable to the prisoners or their legal defence, detainees are unable to effectively contest their detention. Terms of administrative detention are issued in increments of up to six months, subject to indefinite renewal. Israel has held many detainees, including children, for years under this procedure – Ms ash-Shalabi herself, for example, was previously held in administrative detention for a period exceeding two years.
The use of administrative detention, otherwise known as internment, is strictly regulated by international humanitarian law (IHL). EMHRN believes that Israel systematically fails to comply with the requirements of IHL and that the State’s administrative detention practices are in violation of international law, including Israel’s treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Under Israel’s detention regime in the occupied Palestinian territory, administrative detainees are not informed of the basis for their detention, and review of administrative detention cases by Israeli military courts is typically pro forma, relying on uncontestable material, defined by the Israeli authorities as secret. As such, the proceedings do not provide an equitable hearing to Palestinian prisoners, depriving administrative detainees of the right to effectively challenge their detention. Israel’s practice therefore constitutes an infringement of the fundamental right to freedom from arbitrary detention. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recently held that administrative detention is applied in both an arbitrary and discriminatory fashion. The procedure is also intimately associated with detainee abuse, in further violation of international human rights law, particularly the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
EHMRN condemns Israel’s current regime of administrative detention, which as practiced amounts to an unlawful, arbitrary, and systematic violation of detainees’ rights. EMHRN demands that the Israeli authorities take immediate measures to comply with the requirements of international law, and either bring criminal charges and ensure humane conditions of detention for Ms ash-Shalabi and the 309 other administrative detainees, or else proceed to their release without delay.
By Today in Palestine//Mondoweiss
Zahera Shalabi is the sister of Hana Shalabi, a 29 year-old woman from the village of Burqin in the Jenin district in Palestine. In February 2012, the Shalabis’ home was raided and Hana was arrested. She has since been in Israeli prison under what is called Administrative Detention where over 300 Palestinians are held without charge or trial. Zahera speaks about her sister as a young woman who is an artist and a dreamer who never hurt anyone. She speaks of the struggles her family has been going through since Hana was arrested. Shalabi’s parents have both been on hunger strike in solidarity with their daughter. As Hana Shalabi could be dying in prison, her father appeals to the whole world to hear their call and to put pressure on the Israeli government to release his daughter. In his own words, “Hana is not only my daughter, she is the daughter of every Palestinian.”
This video was shot and edited by Vivien Sansour, with editing support by ListenIn Pictures and was originally posted here.