The statements were made during a speech by Hamas leader Khalid al-Batsh during Friday prayers that were performed by hundreds of Palestinians in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in the besieged Gaza Strip in support of Shadid and Abu Farah.
Al-Batsh called upon all Palestinians to protest in the streets to demand Israel release the hunger strikers, while also stressing the important role Arab and Islamic nations play in supporting the Palestinian struggle. Shadid, 20, and Abu Farah, 29, have been on hunger strike for 69 and 70 days respectively, in protest of being placed under administrative detention — an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence.
The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs stated last month that both had slipped into a coma and have partially or completely lost their ability to breath, speak, drink, and hear. The committee also warned that Israeli authorities had threatened to force feed both hunger strikers.Meanwhile, the head of the Israeli medical center where they have been treated warned of the increasing risk of “sudden death.”An Israeli court temporarily suspended the prisoners’ detention orders on Nov. 18 due to the deteriorating health of the hunger strikers, according to Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun. However, the hunger strikers have continued to refuse food until they are completely released from detention and transferred to a Palestinian hospital.Scores of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes in the past year to protest various issues, most notably administrative detention. The most prominent hunger strikers included Muhammad al-Qiq, Bilal Kayid, and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul. Although Israeli authorities claim the withholding of evidence during administrative detention, which allows detention for three to six-month renewable intervals based on undisclosed evidence, is essential for state security concerns, rights groups have instead claimed the policy allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians for an indefinite period of time without showing any evidence that could justify their detentions.Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political and social processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists.According to Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons as of October, 720 of whom were being held in administrative detention.