The Palestinian Authority resident Arab prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israel were jailed for good reason, Israel’s defense establishment said Friday. The reminder came in the wake of statements of concern from the United Nations and European Union.
Four PA residents arrested for terrorist activity are currently hunger striking in Israel.
Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for the longest period of time, was sentenced to 26 years in prison in 2002 after being found guilty on multiple counts of attempted murder along with other terror-related crimes. He was released in the Shalit deal, and immediately returned to terrorism as an active member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
He was arrested when he entered Judea and Samaria in violation of his parole agreement. Subject to the decision of a military court, he could be released in March under a sentence giving him credit for time served.
Issawi’s family is deeply involved in terrorism: two brothers were arrested on multiple occasions for terrorist attacks committed as members of the DFLP, and a sister was convicted of smuggling money between terrorist groups and imprisoned terrorists.
A second hunger striking terrorist, Eman Ismail Salame Sharouna, is a Hamas member from the Hevron region who was arrested in 2002 for his involvement in multiple attacks. Among other things, Sharouna took part in a bombing in Be’er Sheva that wounded 18 people, attempted to kidnap an IDF soldier, and was involved in shooting attacks targeting soldiers.
He was sentenced to 38 years in prison, but was released in the Shalit deal in November 2011. He returned to Hamas immediately after his release, and was rearrested in January 2012.
The two other hunger strikers are both members of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group from northern Samaria (Shomron). The two, Jafer Az al-Din and Tarek Dar Hussein, were arrested under an administrative detention order in November 2012, during the Pillar of Defense counterterror operation in Gaza.
Jafer is the brother of a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist from the Jenin region who was released in the Shalit Deal but sent to Gaza rather than returned to Samaria. Both he and Tarek Dar Hussein were jailed for attempting to renew Islamic Jihad operations in Samaria.
The Islamic Jihad network is considered particularly dangerous. The group has been responsible for a number of suicide bombings and other attacks. Islamic Jihad terrorists from the Jenin region were recently caught attempting to kidnap an Israeli citizen.
Sources in the defense establishment noted that Israel previously attempted to prevent terrorist prisoners from damaging their own health with a hunger strike by coming to an agreement with the prisoners. The current hunger strikes are a violation of that agreement, they noted.