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Palestinian prisoner ends new hunger strike after 2 days

Citing health and legal concerns, Mohammed Allaan halts renewed fast; back in detention for involvement in terror group

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Maazouze, the mother of Mohammed Allaan, a Palestinian prisoner who was on a long-term hunger strike, holds a portrait of her son during a rally calling for his release in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on August 9, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Maazouze, the mother of Mohammed Allaan, a Palestinian prisoner who was on a long-term hunger strike, holds a portrait of her son during a rally calling for his release in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on August 9, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Palestinian hunger striker Mohammed Allaan, who came close to death in August after fasting for two months to protest his arrest by Israel, on Friday called off his renewed protest after two days.

A representative from a Ramallah-based advocacy group told the Palestinian news outlet Ma’an that Allaan decided to suspend the new hunger strike out of health and legal considerations.

Allaan was released from administrative detention by court order in August, after doctors found he had sustained brain damage as a result of his two-month hunger strike. It was unclear whether the damage was permanent.

He had been protesting his administrative detention — a controversial Israeli policy that allows the detention of security suspects without charge or trial for up to six months.

But immediately after his release Wednesday from Barzilai Medical Center, a new administrative detention order was issued, prompting Allaan to resume his protest.

According to Ma’an, Jawad Boulos, the director of legal affairs at the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PCC) who visited Allaan at the Ramle prison on Friday, reported that he was unable to walk and was confined to a wheelchair. Boulos said his health was being closely monitored by the prison’s medical staff.

The PPC said that a number of other Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention were determined to continue their own hunger strikes in protest of their incarceration.

Allaan, who was being held by Israel for his suspected involvement in the Islamic Jihad terror group, began his first hunger strike in June. His current detention is scheduled to end on November 4.

During his 66-day fast, Allaan’s health steadily deteriorated until he was said to be on the brink of death. He was hospitalized at Barzilai in critical condition, and had twice slipped into a coma.

Despite a recently enacted law allowing doctors to force feed prisoners, Barzilai staff refused to sign off on the directive, saying the measure amounted to physical torture. The Israel Medical Association also said that medical considerations must not be influenced by politics, and accused the bill’s sponsors of attempting to use the issue for narrow political purposes.

Allaan has become a cause celebre in Palestinian society, and throughout his hospitalization Arab supporters and Jewish detractors staged rallies near the hospital, at times clashing with police.

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