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
She finds her new responsibility difficult.
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
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
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
Both Adnan’s lawyer, Jawad Boulus, and Randa rejected the request.
“He didn’t remain steadfast for this long to give up now.”
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.
family hopes that their soon-to-be-born child will be a boy.
[Khader’s] life is in danger, but praise be to God he has a strong will and very
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
After 64 days, Adnan is now on the longest-known hunger strike in
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
“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
There were a lot of Arab visitors in the hospital.
[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
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
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.
said that a lot of Israeli journalists had helped her husband’s case by
“We deal with them in the best way
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
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
She said her husband is keeping silent on what would make him end
“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.”