Israeli authorities and Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi have agreed to a
deal that will see him end his strike and agree to serve eight more months in
prison, Israeli and Palestinian officials said on Tuesday.
Israeli security official said Tuesday that “in recent days, in keeping with
recommendations made by the security services and authorized by the political
echelon, the prisoner will cease his hunger strike and remain in jail for a
further eight months, for a total of 17 months altogether.”
added that Issawi will be released on suspended sentence and that for the next
14.5 years, if he violates the conditions of his release at any time, he will
return to prison to serve out his original sentence.
The official added
that they continued to offer Issawi the option of being deported to the Gaza
Strip, adding that since European Union and United Nations representatives had
spoken to Israeli officials about Issawi, Israel had a standing offer to allow
him to leave for an EU or UN member state that would take him. Palestinian
officials said Tuesday that offer was rejected by Issawi.
arrested after violating terms of his release, and was investigated on suspicion
of carrying out security violations based on confidential information gathered
against him,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement to the press.
case was brought before the committee for examining release violations – which
decided to jail him. As a result of negotiations between the different parties,
it was agreed that Issawi will confess to violating the terms of his release. It
was also agreed that as a result of this violation, the committee ruled that he
will return to prison until he has finished a total 17 months since the
beginning of his arrest.”
Abdullah Zghari, executive director of the
Palestinian Prisoners Club, said that Israeli officials met with Issawi at
Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center on Tuesday, and reached the deal which will
allow him to return to his east Jerusalem home after the rest of his prison
sentence, in return for ending his strike, which has become a symbol of
Palestinian protest in Israel and has helped fuel protests against Israeli
forces in the West Bank.
Issawi was one of 1,027 prisoners released in
the exchange for captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, after he served eight years
of a 26-year sentence for a shooting attack. Issawi was re-arrested in August
for violating the terms of his release by leaving the Jerusalem area and shortly
thereafter began his hunger strike.
On Sunday, his lawyer from the
Palestinian Prisoners Society said he stopped taking nutritional supplements, a
move that threatened to worsen his medical condition. As his health continued to
worsen recently, following well over 200 days of his hunger strike, Israeli
officials worried that his death could lead to a resurgence of violence in the
West Bank, as the deaths of Palestinian security prisoners have in the recent
Zghari said that for the near future, Issawi will have to take
supplements and go through rehabilitation in order to return his body to the
condition where he will be able to eat normal meals again.
“This deal is
a victory for the Palestinian prisoners and their families against the Israeli
occupation,” Zghari told The Jerusalem Post.
“This has opened the eyes of
all the other prisoners and many will start hunger strikes because they know
without pressure the Israeli occupation will not give in.”
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