Terrorist prisoners (illustration)
Terrorist prisoners (illustration) Flash 90

Israel has released yet another Palestinian Arab terrorist prisoner who had gone on a hunger strike, the Ma’an news agency reported on Monday, citing the man’s family.

According to the family of the prisoner, Ghassan Zawahra, he was released to Aida, a Palestinian Arab town near Bethlehem after being held for 18 months under administrative detention.

Zawahra went on a hunger strike on August 20, along with seven other prisoners, to protest his administrative detention, according to Ma’an. More than a month later on September 29, Israeli authorities announced that Zawahra and one other fellow hunger striker would not have their administrative detention renewed and Zawahra agreed to end his strike, the PA-based news agency added.

Arab terrorist prisoners have turned hunger striking into a pressure tactic aimed at forcing Israel to release them out of fear for their lives. Israel has several times in the past caved to the pressure and released some hunger strikers.

Some 1,550 Palestinian Arabs imprisoned in Israel ended a hunger strike in May 2012, in exchange for a package of measures which would allow visits from relatives in Gaza and the transfer of detainees out of solitary confinement.

The most recent famous case of a terrorist who went on a hunger strike and was ultimately freed was that of Mohammed Allan, who was freed by Israel at the beginning of November.

Allan first began his high-profile 65-day hunger strike in June in protest of his administrative detention. The High Court of Justice overturned the detention in August, following reports Allan had suffered brain damage. 

Upon his release from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon at the end of August, Allan was promptly rearrested, and vowed to renew his hunger strike.

He subsequently scrapped the renewed strike, in light of contacts with the Israeli military over his release as well as health concerns. Israel announced at the end of September it would release him. 

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) says that before his arrest, Allan "was in contact with an Islamic Jihad terrorist" with the aim of carrying out large-scale attacks.