Khader Adnan agrees to stop hunger strike in exchange for April release

The Prime Minister’s Office reported on Tuesday that Khader Adnan, now on the 66th day of his hunger strike, will call off his protest in a deal that will see him released on April 17. The report was confirmed on Tuesday evening by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, which has been overseeing the case.

Announcing the deal, Ofir Gendelman from the PMO tweeted, “#khaderadnan announced that he is ending his hunger strike. If there’s no new evidence against him, he will be released from custody on 17.4.”

Israel’s High Court of Justice had been set on Tuesday afternoon to hear a petition against Adnan’s administrative detention, but the hearing was canceled and the petition withdrawn in the wake of the deal. The court clarified that the deal is incumbent upon the military court’s agreement not to extend Adnan’s detention past April 17, as long as new substantial evidence against him does not come to light. The court’s announcement can be read here, in Hebrew.

An Addameer press release explained that the terms of the agreement met the conditions outlined by Adnan to call off his strike: that his detention would not be extended, and would be counted from the date of his arrest and not from January 8, the date the detention order was issued. The press release also calls into question the danger to security that Israeli authorities claim Adnan poses:

Addameer maintains that the fact that Israeli officials negotiated the duration of his detention, in addition to agreeing to an early release, reveals that there were no grounds for his administrative detention in the first place. His administrative detention order, as is the case with all other administrative detainees, is based on the alleged threat he poses to the “security of the State of Israel.” However, if Israeli officials agree that he will not be a threat on 17 April, as clear from today’s deal, he surely does not pose any threat today and his case provides further proof of Israel’s policy of arbitrary detention. Addameer reiterates its call for his immediate and unconditional release and the release of the 308 other administrative detainees.

Adnan, who is affiliated with Islamic Jihad, was arrested on December 17, after which he immediately launched his hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention. He is presently hospitalized at Ziv Medical Center in Safed, and has not been charged or notified of the suspicions against him.

Ahead of the hearing, which was originally set for Thursday but moved up last minute, hundreds demonstrated in front of the Ofer Prison in the West Bank. According to Omar Rahman, Israeli forces sprayed demonstrators with teargas and “skunk” water. Injuries and arrests were reported.

Rumors that Adnan would be released abounded on Twitter ahead of the planned hearing. Addameer, the Palestinian prisoner support organization, tweeted that they could not confirm these rumors, and activists called for caution.

On the rumors, the organization tweeted, “We know that Israelis are trying to negotiate a deal & we cannot confirm until we know the details of the deal and #KhaderAdnan‘s position,” later adding that, in order to protect his family, additional information would not be released without confirmation.

For more +972 coverage on Khader Adnan and his hunger strike, click here.

Mairav Zonszein contributed to this report.