RAMALLAH – Along with her job preparing food for the family bakery, Randa Adnan, the wife of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, now has a new role – that of media spokeswoman.

It was 6:15 p.m. on Sunday when Randa and her husband’s family returned to Arrabe village, southwest of Jenin, after the long trip to visit the Islamic Jihad leader at the Galilee Medical Center in Safed. She charged her non-stop-ringing mobile phone, finished her prayers and started answering journalists’ calls.

Randa, who is five-months pregnant, takes care of her two daughters and her in-laws, with whom she shares her home. She also prepares white cheese and makes zaatar for the family bakery.

She finds her new responsibility difficult.

“The worst part of it is the lack of objective news reporting. Sometimes, some [reporters] use half of what I say and change the meaning of what I say,” she said.

She read in the media that she had asked Al- Azhar University in Cairo for a fatwa on whether her husband’s strike was acceptable. She denies the report. The university reportedly said Adnan’s strike was suicidal and thus forbidden.

The family hasn’t asked Khader, who is going into his 64th day of a hunger strike, to stop, and Randa harshly criticized the report of an Al- Azhar fatwa. There are conflicting reports about the sheikh who issued the fatwa. Some say he was a sheikh at Al-Azhar and is not working there anymore. Some say he is.

On social media websites, some Palestinians asked Adnan to end his strike because they were concerned about his health. “If he dies, they [Israelis] will win,” some wrote, stressing that he is already a hero.

Both Adnan’s lawyer, Jawad Boulus, and Randa rejected the request. “He didn’t remain steadfast for this long to give up now.”

However, Randa said that her mother-in-law tried on Sunday to convince Adnan to end his strike. Adnan calmed his mother with Islamic verses.

“We all know the purpose of [allowing] this visit, even my husband: Bringing his wheel-chaired mother to visit is an attempt [by the Israeli authorities] to make him give up,” Randa told The Jerusalem Post. The thirty-one-year-old thinks that allowing the continual visits of family members is designed to weaken the prisoner and get him to end his strike.

After the long trip to Safed (they had to wait for two hours at the Jalama checkpoint near Jenin), the parents, wife, daughters, brother and sister met with Adnan. He usually lies with his hands and legs chained in the hospital room.

When they entered the hospital room, they found that the guards had unshackled Adnan so he could pray. They left him unfettered during the visit.

During her second visit in less than a week, Randa opted to give his 73-year-old parents time to speak with him. He told them he was doing fine and would continue his strike.

Adnan and his wife knew they couldn’t fulfill his wish to see her face. “We weren’t alone in the room; there were guards and I wear a veil,” she said. She told him that they would have another opportunity soon.

Adnan cuddled with his daughters. Four-year-old Ma’ali has become accustomed to her father’s new look. Her first question was if he still loved her. “My daughter is a bit selfish; she wanted him to love her more than her younger sister, Bisan,” Randa said.

The family hopes that their soon-to-be-born child will be a boy.

“His [Khader’s] life is in danger, but praise be to God he has a strong will and very high spirits.

No one believes that he is still conscious and able to speak,” Randa said.

“He is fading away and his eyes are sunken,” she said with a smile. “They are beautiful, bluish-green in color, and should be seen.”

After 64 days, Adnan is now on the longest-known hunger strike in Palestinian history.

A group hunger strike was carried on for a total of 56 days by a number of detainees in 1976, according to the Palestinian Ministry for Prisoners Affairs. The strikers fasted for 45 days, stopped for a couple of weeks, and then continued for another 20 days.

Adnan has served nine stints in Israeli jails for a total of five years. He started his current imprisonment in December. The first eight times Randa was not allowed to visit him.

“The Israeli occupation wants to improve its black image. They know that there is media attention and want to show that they care about him,” she said.

There were a lot of Arab visitors in the hospital.

“They [Israeli authorities] kept the people away from Adnan’s room to isolate him from the outside world,” she claimed.

The calls to support Adnan in his strike have only been heard recently. A few Palestinian activists and Bir Zeit University students protested daily near Ofer Prison, which is near Beitunya west of Ramallah.

“Wake up before I die,” was one of the slogans they used, amid calls to start a third intifada.

Adnan was an on-and-off student at Bir Zeit University, where he gave free Hebrew lessons to other students.

As Boulus left the hospital on Sunday he said he was surprised to see his client in such high spirits. “You can’t believe his will; I am amazed.”

Boulus told the Post there was no justification for this detention. “If I knew what his charges were, I would not be representing him in the first place,” the lawyer said.

Last Wednesday he filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice. The court accepted his petition on Sunday and the hearing is scheduled to take place at noon on Thursday.

Randa said that a lot of Israeli journalists had helped her husband’s case by reporting objectively.

“We deal with them in the best way possible.

It’s important that the world knows that we are not against peace and we don’t hate Jews; we only hate the occupation,” she told the Post.

Randa says she gets worried every time someone calls late at night, and every night she dreams that her husband has died. Recently, there were several rumors to this effect. “I have strong faith that he will make it and come back to his family, where we can raise a good family,” Randa said.

She said her husband is keeping silent on what would make him end his strike.

“I read it in his eyes,” she said, smiling. “It will be an honorable deal, but I will not share the details with the media.”

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