Israeli troops said to rearrest Palestinian who went on 141-day hunger strike

Hisham Abu Hawash was held in without trial until he was released in February as his condition deteriorated; Shin Bet says he is a member of Islamic Jihad

Palestinians participate in a solidarity rally with hunger-striking Palestinian administrative detainee Hisham Abu Hawash in his hometown Dura, near Hebron, on December 7, 2021. (WAFA)
Palestinians participate in a solidarity rally with hunger-striking Palestinian administrative detainee Hisham Abu Hawash in his hometown Dura, near Hebron, on December 7, 2021. (WAFA)

A Palestinian former detainee who went on a well-publicized 141-day hunger strike prior to his release was reportedly rearrested in a raid overnight Tuesday by Israeli security forces.

According to Palestinian reports, Hisham Abu Hawash was among 13 people arrested in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Israel Defense Forces said it had arrested 11 wanted Palestinians overnight across the West Bank, including in the town of Dura, near Hebron, where Abu Hawash lives.

The Shin Bet did not respond to The Times of Israel’s requests for comment on Abu Hawash’s renewed arrest.

Previously, the Shin Bet said Abu Hawash is an Islamic Jihad member involved in terror activity, though charges were never brought against him during his most recent period of detention.

Abu Hawash, 40, was held in Israel under an administrative detention order from October 2020 until February 2022, when Israeli authorities agreed not to renew his detention as his condition deteriorated.

Abu Hawash’s marathon hunger strike drew intense interest among Palestinians as well as international pressure on Israel.

Palestinian administrative detainee Hisham Abu Hawash with his two sons at the Asaf Harofeh Medical Center on December 26, 2021. (Screen capture/ YouTube)

He was held under a controversial policy that allows Israeli authorities to arrest those deemed to pose an imminent threat without charges or a full trial. Israel contends that such means are necessary to fight terror, but rights groups say Israel abuses the practice.

When doctors warned that Abu Hawash was deteriorating, Israel was out under pressure to find a solution, fearing that his death could spark widespread unrest.

According to Physicians for Human Rights, Abu Hawash weighed 86 kilograms (190 pounds) before his hunger strike. By December 29, when a doctor visited Abu Hawash on behalf of the organization, he was estimated to weigh just 45 kilograms (99 pounds).

As Abu Hawash’s physical condition spiraled, the European Union and the United Kingdom both called on Israel to either charge the detainee or release him.

Islamic Jihad repeatedly threatened renewed violence against Israel should Abu Hawash die in custody.

In 2006, Abu Hawash was sentenced by an Israeli military court to four and a half years in prison for aiding other Palestinians who committed attacks on Israeli soldiers during the Second Intifada, as part of a plea bargain. He also confessed to planning a shooting attack of his own that never took place, according to court filings.

Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.

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