Joint List MKs, activists clash over PIJ hunger-striking prisoner

Video from the scene showed a right-wing activist shouting at the MKs followed by one of them reaching for the activist's phone.

Israeli Arab lawmakers from the Joint Arab List (from L to R) Osama Saadi, Ahmed Tibi, Ayman Odeh, Masud Ganaim and Haneen Zoabi stand in front of the Dome of the Rock during a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City July 28, 2015.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli Arab lawmakers from the Joint Arab List (from L to R) Osama Saadi, Ahmed Tibi, Ayman Odeh, Masud Ganaim and Haneen Zoabi stand in front of the Dome of the Rock during a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City July 28, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Joint List MK Osama Saadi assaulted a right-wing activist on Saturday night while visiting Palestinian Maher al-Akhras, who is engaged in a hunger strike and is hospitalized at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, according to the NGO Honenu.
The activist was filming a dispute involving Saadi, Joint List MK Ofer Casif and a number of right-wing activists at the hospital when Saadi attempted to take the phone from the activist, allegedly punching him in the process.
Video from the scene showed the right-wing activists shouting at the MKs, saying that it was "shameful" that Akhras was being treated at Kaplan. The MKs told the activist to leave and complained to police who were present at the scene that the activists had come to agitate; shortly afterward, Saadi reached for the activist's phone. Police at the scene fined the activist for not wearing a mask.
A complaint was filed with Israel Police through Honenu. The two MKs and a number of activists with them allegedly confronted security guards and other visitors at the hospital, according to the NGO.
Akhras has been engaged in a hunger strike for over 90 days.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Michael Link, called on Israel Saturday to release Akhras.
“Recent visits by doctors to his hospital bed in Israel indicate that he is on the verge of suffering major organ failure, and some damage might be permanent,” said Link, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency.
Akhras has been in administrative detention for months. He denies being a member of PIJ and has been arrested multiple times in the past, according to WAFA.
Israel has said that Akhras is a member of Islamic Jihad who poses a danger to the state, though it was unclear if the accusation was related to carrying out actual violence or some kind of recruiting or incitement relating to the group.

Administrative detention is a special status in Israel where detainees gets to argue for their release in a judicial proceeding, but the standards of the proceeding do not offer the same protections as regular criminal trials.

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.