Daily Israel Report

Hunger Striking Terrorists Headed to Supreme Court

Two terrorists are appealing to Israel's Supreme Court after an IDF judge ruled they are 'responsible for their own state of health'.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/23/2012, 9:17 PM

ביהמ"ש העליון
ביהמ"ש העליון
פלאש 90

An IDF court Monday rejected appeals by two Arab security prisoners from Palestinian Authority enclaves who have been refusing food for 55 days.

“We just confirmed with Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh’s families that both their appeals were rejected today,” a spokeswoman for the Addameer NGO told AFP.

Diab, 27, and Halahla, 34, began refusing food on February 29 in protest at being held without charge under a procedure known as administrative detention.

Their lawyer, Jamil al-Khatib, alleges that their condition is "rapidly deteriorating."

The IDF judge who presided over Monday's hearing rejected their appeals, saying the two prisoners were “responsible for their own state of health.”

“Yesterday the judge held a closed meeting with the Shin Bet (internal security service) and the military advocate general, and he examined their appeals," al-Khatib said.

“He looked at the confidential files and decided that their hunger strike was their choice and does not affect the danger which they pose,” he said.

“I will also make an appeal to the (Israeli) High Court tomorrow,” al-Khatib added.

Al-Khatib's clients began their hunger strike shortly after the State Prosecutor decided to release Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan after he appealed to the Supreme Court.

Adnan went 66 days without food and only agreed to end his strike after Israel agreed not to renew his detention beyond the original order.

Touted as an innocent victim falsely incarcerated by Israel, a video later surfaced in which Adnan pleaded for prospective suicide bombers to “carry the next explosive belt.”

The decision to release him was widely criticized as "opening the floodgates" to more hunger-strike challenges by prisoners with reason to believe Israeli officials would capitulate.

Diab and Halahla have both lost 55 pounds according to al-Khatib, who said their health had "entered a dangerous phase."

Both men, who security officials say are members of Islamic Jihad like Adnan, have been held at Ramle prison since August 2011.

There arrests came as the IDF and Israel's General Security Services began a full court press to crackdown on terror cells in Judea and Samaria last summer.

It is not clear, should the basis of the administrative detention order meet the necessary legal criteria, on what grounds al-Khatib expects the Supreme Court to order his clients released.

The World Medical Association maintains hunger-striking prisoners who have made a rational decision to refuse sustenance should be allowed to continue their strike.

In 1975 the organization resolved, "Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially."

"The decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent physician. The consequences of the refusal of nourishment shall be explained by the physician to the prisoner," the WMA maintains.

Under Israel's administrative detention laws security officials may seek a court order to detain an individual without charge if they are suspected of being a threat to national security.

Such orders can be appealed to a higher court, and must be reviewed by the court every six months. Israel's Supreme Court is the final court of appeal.

Israeli officials have a strict policy of not discussing intelligence matters in public and Adnan's hearings have been held in closed court.

In late January, the GSS and Israel Police foiled a shooting attack planned by an Israeli Arab in collaboration with an Islamic Jihad terror cell from Tulkarem in northern Samaria.

Last August, Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza were involved in the deadly cross-border ambush of an Israeli civilian bus that left 8 Israelis – 7 of them civilians – dead.

Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza  – whose terror cells are heavily involved in rocket attacks on Israel's southern communities – have been targeted with airstrikes rather than arrest and detention.

On two separate occasions within the last month, terrorists associated with Islamic Jihad have been arrested attempting to smuggle pipe-bombs, firearms, knives, and ammunition into Israel.