Palestinian political prisoner Khalil Awahdeh ends his extended hunger strike

Palestinian political prisoner Khalil Awahdeh has ended his hunger strike lasting over 170 days as of Wednesday July 31. Awahdeh, 40, began his hunger strike in protest of his imprisonment, due to the fact that he was jailed with no charge nor trial. Awahdeh’s strike gained massive media attention as global attention was focused more on the Palestine-Israel conflict. Many people across the world have voiced support for his strike, sympathizing with his lack of trial.

Awahdeh’s lawyer, Ahlam Haddad, has stated that Awahdeh will be released on October 2, citing his strike as a motivating factor for Awahdeh’s release. Until his release, he will remain in the hospital for treatment, as his health has been deteriorating, with Haddad stating he will require long-term care. 

Awahdeh’s strike began in December 2021, shortly following his initial jailing. Awahdeh is one of many jailed under Israel’s administrative detention. Administrative detention is the country’s jailing of prisoners with no case or formal charge, often done to provide time to gather evidence so that a formal trial can occur. Critics of this practice have cited the ability to abuse this detention, with some arguing that Awahdeh is an example of this.

Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division, is one of many critics of this practice. Awahdeh’s protest was one of many. Whitson worked closely to ensure release of other hunger strikers in 2012.

“It is outrageous that Israel has locked these men up for months without either charging them with crimes or allowing them to see the evidence it says it has against them… The detainees evidently feel they have to put their lives in jeopardy through hunger strikes so that Israel will end these unlawful practices,” said Whitson.