Updated: Refusing exile: Palestinian prisoner Samer Al-Issawi ending hunger strike in ‘victory’ deal

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Samer Al-Issawi

(Update below) After refusing food for more than 265 days legendary Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer Al-Issawi has struck a deal with Israeli military prosecutors described by his lawyer, Jawad Bulous, as “a big victory for Samer.” The news comes just one day after Al-Issawi told a military judge that he did not recognize the court’s authority at a hearing in the hospital on Monday, and refused to take part in any further legal proceedings against him. Today military prosecutors offered Al-Issawi, age 32, a deal that will allow him to return to his home in Jerusalem after 8 more months in prison.


Attorney Jawad Bulous said Israeli military prosecutors agreed on early Tuesday to release Issawi after he serves another eight months in prison, which would mean he would be released later this year. The lawyer said he expected the deal to be signed later in the day, after which Issawi will end his hunger strike…..

“No doubt, this is a big victory for Samer,” Bulous said. The hunger strike “forced the Israeli side to reverse their position.”

Reportedly, Al-Issawi stopped taking nutritional supplements last Sunday but resumed taking the supplements as of midnight Monday in the presence of his sister, Shireen, and his lawyer after they conveyed the offer at his hospital bedside.

It is significant that Issawi refused to be exiled and is being released to his hometown of Al-Issawiyeh, a village in the district of Jerusalem. Al-Issawi refused to stop his hunger strike, and be released and deported to Gaza.

Update: Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) reports:

Boulus said the importance of this deal is that Issawi will not be convicted by an Israeli military committee to spend the remaining 20 years left in his sentence in prison…….

Boulus said the deal also includes an Israeli presidential amnesty, which means Issawi cannot be re-arrested and forced to serve the remaining 20 years of his former sentence.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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8 Responses

  1. kalithea
    April 23, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Wonderful news!!! This man is a tower of courage and strength. May he live to witness the end of Israeli occupation and oppression and the dawn of FREE PALESTINE with the return of the refugees to their homeland.

  2. Mike_Konrad
    April 23, 2013, 1:05 pm

    What do you bet that just as Samer Issawi is about to be released in eight months, suddenly new information will come up which will make it necessary to keep him in prison? Security! New evidence, when they cannot make pubic.

    “We were going to release him, your honor, but who knew? These things happen. Security.”

    I am not saying Israel is wrong or right. Or that Samer Al-Issawi is wrong or right.

    I am just saying that I think that what is going on is an attempt to get Samer to break his fast, under the theory that he will be too disinheartened to start again.

    The Israelis have purched about a year and half of time. The eight months + the time needed for Issawi to get to this present emaciated state all over again.

    How many times does Israel agree to release a prisoner then as the release date comes up … Who knew? … Go figure?! … new information comes up … Security … and the prisoner is not released. Find a new judge. One who is more understanding.

    I am NOT criticizing Israel.

    Israel just bought time. Issawi is probably going nowhere. Not now. Not in eight months. That is my guess.

    I don’t believe Issawi’s story that he was innocent in the brief period of time he was out.

    I don’t believe Israel’s story that he violated his restrictions outside Jerusalem.

    He probably violated his restrictions inside the territory of Jerusalem, and the Israelis cannot or will not admit their sources; and invented the story of his restriction violation of leaving Jerusalem.

    Or it might be that Mr. Issawi was a big fish, and when no one was paying attention, they invented an excuse to re-arrest him. They had no intention of letting him remain at large.

    None of this is central … now.

    Israel won.

    Samer Issawi broke his fast.

    In eight months Samer Issawi may be too disinheartened to restart the fast when Israel renegs.

    If Samer Issawi does restart the fast, the present threat of a third Intifada have disappearred, in which case the Israelis can let him die.

    Or … a lot of accidents can happen in eight months. He fell down a staircase. He had a heart attack, when he started eating again. He did it to himself. Of course, the electrolyte salts put in his foods won’t show up in the autopsy.

    Whether you are pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian … this is a victory for Israel, not Samer Issawi.

    Make no mistake. Israel won this time.

    It is as much a victory for Samer, as the Gaza war was for Hamas.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 23, 2013, 2:41 pm

      I am NOT criticizing Israel.

      yeah, we already know you’re incapable of that mike.

      suddenly new information will come up which will make it necessary to keep him in prison?

      i doubt it:

      Boulus said the deal also includes an Israeli presidential amnesty, which means Issawi cannot be re-arrested and forced to serve the remaining 20 years of his former sentence.

    • justicewillprevail
      April 23, 2013, 3:47 pm

      MK, that is lot of verbiage to say absolutely nothing. What a waste of time. So you can speculate any amount of nonsense and parade it as some kind of opinion, trying very hard to sound like you could care less.
      You have no understanding of the power of resistance like this. Samer Issawi is a moral giant. You, on the other hand, can only denigrate him with ridiculous arguments in order to deny him the power he possesses, and downplay his courage. I don’t care at all what you think might happen, why should anybody care about worthless speculation, which diverts from what happened today?

    • Cliff
      April 23, 2013, 4:41 pm

      Mike_Konrad said:

      I am not saying Israel is wrong or right. Or that Samer Al-Issawi is wrong or right.

      I don’t believe Issawi’s story […]

      I don’t believe Israel’s story […]

      I am NOT criticizing Israel.


      I like how you spaz back and forth to ultimately reiterate repeatedly that ‘Israel won.’

  3. yrn
    April 23, 2013, 3:07 pm

    “However, the possibility remains that the procedure regarding military leave it until the end of the sentence handed down on him before his release in Shalit deal.”

    Ynet…….. wafa can write story’s, we already know they are capable of that

  4. DICKERSON3870
    April 23, 2013, 7:07 pm

    RE: “Today military prosecutors offered Al-Issawi, age 32, a deal that will allow him to return to his home in Jerusalem after 8 more months in prison.” ~ Annie Robbins

    MY CONCERN: After Al-Issawi’s release, what’s to keep the Israeli authorities from waiting a few months and then using some pretext to rearrest him; thereby turning Al-Issawi into yet another Palestinian version of Kafka’s “Josef K”* like they have done with the Nassar Halabi** (and many other Palestinians)?

    ** FROM MONDOWEISS (by Joe Catron on October 18, 2012):

    [EXCERPT] . . . Halabi’s youngest son Nasser was arrested at her home during a 2009 night raid. One week later her middle son, Rami, was arrested in order to pressure Nasser into a confession. At the time the military ransacked Halabi’s house. “They destroyed everything in the home. They took the laptop, phone, telephone—many telephones—and money also,” she lamented, describing how the soldiers forced her and her family into one room while in another, they packed up items that were never returned.
    Two years later Nasser was released and then enrolled in Bethlehem University. But after only a glimpse of normal adulthood, he was rearrested seven months later. The pattern of arrest without charge, release and then re-arrest has ripped the late-teens and early twenties from all of Halabi’s sons. . .

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2012/10/on-eve-of-historic-anniversary-boycotts-hunger-strikes-and-repression-continue.html

    * THE PREDICAMENT OF NASSAR HALABI IS A BIT LIKE THAT OF JOSEF K IN ORSON WELL’S FILM ADAPTATION OF FRANZ KAFKA’S “THE TRIAL”: After months of trial postponement, Josef K goes to court painter Titorelli to ask for advice. He is told to hope for little. He might get definite acquittal, ostensible acquittal, or indefinite postponement. No one is ever really acquitted, but sometimes cases can be extended indefinitely.

    Titorelli: “You see, in definite acquittal, all the documents are annulled. But with ostensible acquittal, your whole dossier continues to circulate. Up to the higher courts, down to the lower ones, up again, down. These oscillations and peregrinations, you just can’t figure ‘em.”
    Josef K: “No use in trying either, I suppose.”
    Titorelli: “Not a hope. Why, I’ve known cases of an acquitted man coming home from the court and finding the cops waiting there to arrest him all over again. But then, of course, theoretically it’s always possible to get another ostensible acquittal.”
    Josef K: “The second acquittal wouldn’t be final either.”
    Titorelli: “It’s automatically followed by the third arrest. The third acquittal, by the fourth arrest. The fourth…”

    SOURCE – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057427/quotes?qt=qt0135410

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