An Islamic Jihad militant attends an anti-Israel rally in Rafah..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The armed wing of the Gazan terrorist outfit Islamic Jihad warned on Friday that if one of its members, currently on a hunger strike in Israeli custody, dies, the group will resume attacks.
The statement came after Muhammad Allan, in the 61st day of a hunger strike in protest at his being held in administrative detention without trial, lost consciousness on Friday morning and was in danger of dying, according to doctors at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon where he was sent in an attempt to keep him alive.
“After the deterioration in the condition of the heroic prisoner Muhammad Allan to an unconscious state after 61 days of hunger strike – in the event that he should fall as a shahid [martyr], as far as we’re concerned the cease-fire is over,” the statement from Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades read.
“The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed branch of Islamic Jihad, announces that if Allan falls as a shahid, it will be a crime of the occupation toward our prisoners and our people that will force us to respond forcefully, ending our obligation to the cease-fire,” the group added.
Doctors at Barzilai said on Friday that Allan’s condition had worsened and he “is receiving medical treatment, including respiration and a saline drip, and his condition is stable.”
Both the doctor representing the Red Cross and the patient’s lawyer were informed of his condition, hospital officials added.
Dr. Hezi Levy, the director- general of Barzilai, said that “his life is in danger. He has been on a hunger strike for some 60 days. This is not a simple situation. His body is losing materials that are not being replaced, materials that are essential to his body’s systems. The hospital has announced this and informed his family.”
On Saturday afternoon, a few hundred people, including Muslim clerics and Joint List MKs Ahmad Tibi, Haneen Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, Yousef Jabareen and Osama Sa’adi, demonstrated in solidarity with Allan on Route 65 in Wadi Ara.
Protesters shouted slogans including “Nothing is better than killing soldiers and policemen,” and, “Kidnap soldiers and free prisoners.”
Israeli prisons were on high alert for disturbances amid Allan’s deterioration and hundreds of Muslims protested for his release at the Temple Mount on Friday.
On July 30, the Knesset passed into law the “Prevention of Damage by Hunger Strikers” bill, which gives authorities the right to forcefeed hunger-striking prisoners.
The measure can only be applied if it is approved by the attorney-general and a president of a district court, and a doctor determines that the hunger strike, if continued, would cause irreparable damage to the prisoner or that his life is in danger.
Authorities must also first try to get the prisoner to consent to the treatment and make him aware of the realities of the procedure, which would be administered by infusions, tubes forced through the mouth or nose into the stomach, and a prison guard would be able to use reasonable force if the prisoner resists.
Security officials are concerned that the death of a hunger striker would prompt a wave of rioting. The force-feeding legislation is meant to give authorities the ability to keep hunger strikers alive, without giving in to their demands.
Ben Hartman and Noam Amir contributed to this report.