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Samer Issawi accepts deal to end his hunger strike

After staging an intermittent hunger strike for some nine months, hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi agreed to start eating again, pending the signing of a deal later in the day. The deal would see him released to his home in Jerusalem in eight months.

Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi is taken to his court hearing in the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem, February 19, 2013. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

Update (April 23, 4:10 p.m.): Issawi has signed the deal and ended his hunger strike, Maan reports. He is expected to be released in late December of this year.

Palestinian hunger striking prisoner Samer Issawi has agreed to end his hunger strike, and will be released to his home Jerusalem in eight months’ time, Reuters reported late Monday night.

The details of the deal were not immediately clear, but Issawi has insisted all along that he would not agree to be exiled, like other released prisoners have. Read more background: here, here and here.

Demonstration in support of Samer Issawi this week in East Jerusalem (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Demonstration in support of Samer Issawi in East Jerusalem last month (Oren Ziv / Activestills)


Samer Issawi was released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in October, 2011, having served 10 years of a 30-year sentence. He began his hunger strike nine months later, shortly after the IDF re-arrested him in the summer of 2012.

In February, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court sentenced him to eight months in prison for violating the terms of his release, with credit for time served. According to that conviction and sentencing, he was to be released on March 6. However, he still faced the re-sentencing hearings in military court.

Activists in Jaffa have been holding daily protests in solidarity with Samer Issawi, a Palestinian on hunger strike held in an Israeli medical detention center, February 4, 2013. (Photo by: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

Issawi announced this week that he would boycott the military court proceedings against him and that he refused to recognize the legitimacy of the courts.

Issawi’s lawyer, Jawad Boulous, told Haaretz that the agreement will see him serve a total of 18 months (from his arrest in July).

The full details of the deal were expected to be announced later Tuesday, Maan reported.

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    1. Richard Witty

      A smart resolution for all concerned.

      Reply to Comment
    2. sumud is the key to deliverance! mabruk Samer Issawi

      Reply to Comment
    3. XYZ

      The photo on the main page is very effective propaganda. The subject has this innocent, almost pathetic look, with his hands clasped in a gesture of supplicaton. Almost makes you forget he was originally in prison for attempted murder. Minor point, I guess.

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        I forgot to mention that he is photographed sitting in a wheelchair. That certainly adds to the pathos. Sort of like Sheikh Yassin.

        Reply to Comment
    4. rsgengland

      The UK sat out the hunger strikers of the IRA, and the hunger striking phenomena in Norther Ireland stopped.
      Every time a hunger striker has his demands met, irrespective of how small these demands may be, it gives encouragement for the next set of hunger strikers.
      The only way to prevent hunger strikers, is to leave them to their own devices, and sit through the consequences.
      That way it is a big problem, but only for one time.

      Reply to Comment
      • No, rsgen, he is going to be released because the security apparatus is afraid of a flare up upon his death which might ignite a third intifata. I’m certain the apparatus agrees with you otherwise; but it recognizes that social mobilization in the Bank may well be different than that in Northern Ireland.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Assuming Issawi survives his uptake of food (not at all given), the question is what he has become and will become upon release. These unto death strikers are the most likely hope for a transfigured struggle; but just a step away from hope is the abyss. The man has given much; he may have to give more.

      Reply to Comment