On March 22, Hana Shalabi's
36th hunger strike day began. After examining her, Physicians for Human
Rights-Israel (PHR-I) said she's in imminent danger of death.
Israel wants her to die. She requires immediate hospitalization. At
PHR-I's request, she was sent to Meir Hospital on March 19 but not admitted.
The same night, she was transferred back to Ramleh Prison Hospital.
Healthcare there and in all Israeli prison facilities is an oxymoron.
There's none worthy of the name.
Her doctor wasn't told she's back in prison until the next day. He and
others deplore the appalling care she'll get in terms of quality, efficacy,
and timeliness. Israel condemned Hana to death unless effective intervention
A joint PHR-I, Addameer, Al Haq statement quoted Hana saying:
"To all the free and loyal Palestinian people, I direct my words to
you—while I and all my brothers and sisters in the occupier’s prisons
are on hunger strike, we call on you to continue your solidarity and
for the issue of prisoners to be on the highest priority list....I call
on foreign states to continue action in applying pressure (on Israel)
towards the release of all our courageous prisoners."
The joint statement "expressed grave concern" for her health. Without
proper care, she risks imminent death because of significant physical
PHR-I's chairman asked the Israel Prison Service (IPS) chief medical
officer, Dini Orkin, why Hana's hospitalization was denied. She responded
saying the IPS commissioner wants another medical opinion, despite the
urgency given her health.
Especially troubling is what Hana told her doctor. During March 19 transfers,
she was grossly mistreated, including being "dragged across the floor."
Doing so aggravated her weak condition.
Hana's also being pressured to begin eating. Force-feeding is threatened
despite clear medical ethics issues and international treaties prohibiting
the practice. Attempts have also been made "to undermine her confidence
and trust in her PHR-I doctor."
She's been lied to, including spurious claims that he doesn't care about
her. In fact, he's her best hope to survive.
At the same time, a military court of appeals judge again postponed
ruling on her case. No announced date was given.
"The judge requested a detailed medical report on Ms. Shalabi’s health
condition, which has been prepared by the PHR-Israel doctor and submitted
to the court."
Addameer lawyer Mahmoud Hassan said:
"(T)he Israeli military prosecution’s concern is to get Hana to end
her hunger strike as opposed to seriously considering the reasons underlying
Hana’s protest, including the infringement on her right to fair trial
and right to an effective defense."
Like thousands of other wrongfully imprisoned Palestinians, Hana's denied
all rights, including due process and judicial fairness. They're also
subjected to torture, inhuman, and degrading treatment. It's official
Israeli policy. Fundamental international law is routinely spurned.
In Hana's case, she denied her right to live. She wants freedom or death.
Her lawyer, Jawad Boulos, quoted her saying:
"It's true our lives are very precious, but our freedom is even more
precious and more powerful than their cells."
PHR-I member Yael Maron said:
"The story of Hana Shalabi, like that of Khader Adnan before, is, in
my opinion, a remarkable example of a struggle that's completely nonviolent
towards one's surroundings. It is the last protest a prisoner can make,
and I find it brave and inspiring."
Except for UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk, UN officials
ignore her. In response, Union of Palestinian Women's Committees chairwoman
Khitam Saafin said:
"The UN must be responsible for the whole of violations that are going
on against our people. These prisoners are war prisoners, not security
prisoners, not criminals. They are freedom fighters for their rights."
Falk said her courage "should move even the hard-hearted." She's "young,
tender," nonviolent, and dedicated to what deserves universal praise,
not lawless imprisonment and brutality.
Hunger striking reflects her struggle against injustice. It's not about
her alone. It's for thousands of other wrongfully incarcerated and mistreated
Palestinian prisoners. Israel persecutes them mercilessly.
Hana's resisting her only way. Doing so shows extraordinary courage.
She's willing to die for justice. What greater sacrifice than that!
Despite appalling mistreatment, her spirit's indomitable. She inspires
others to resist injustice their way and support her and others like
Hana explained it best, saying:
"This is for all the prisoners and not for me alone."
It's also about wanting global attention paid to intolerable abuses
vital to condemn and end. Hana's willing to die so others can live free.
What greater sacrifice than that! Her struggle is ours. We're all Hana
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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