The wife of a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner, Maher Al-Akhars, announced on Thursday, October 8, that she will be joining her husband in his ongoing protest, the WAFA News Agency reported. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), Taghrid Al-Akhras hopes that by joining her husband’s hunger strike, she will be able to garner more attention for his case and his deteriorating health condition.
Al-Akhras, a 49-year-old father of six from the town of Silat Al-Daher south of Jenin, began his open-ended hunger strike after he was arrested by the Israeli army on July 27 and placed in administrative detention, meaning he’s essentially being held indefinitely without charges being brought against him and without being allowed to appear before a judge. Having been diagnosed with hypertension in 2018, Al-Akhrasis currently hospitalized at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, where his medical condition is critical due to complications caused by significant weight loss.
On Tuesday, October 6, a number of Hadash activists and members of the Knesset from the Joint List visited Al-Akhras in hospital. However, upon their arrival, MKs Yousef Jabareen, Ofer Cassif, Ahmad Tibi and and Osama Saadi were detained for nearly 20 minutes at the hospital entrance. “I visited Al-Akhras two weeks ago, but his condition has deteriorated since, he is suffering and being tormented,” Cassif told Al-Ittihad, the Communist daily newspaper. “If Israel lets him die, it will be the responsibility of the Israeli government,” added Cassif. He said he had demanded that Defense Minister Benny Gantz release Al-Akhras, but this was rejected by top officials in the Defense Ministry. Cassif told reporters, “Doctors say he may die at any moment.”
The PPS affirmed that “freezing” Al-Akhras’ detention as Israeli officials suggested instead of cancelling it is an “act of deception and constituted an attempt to end his hunger strike without granting him his legitimate rights.” “From his hospital bed, Al-Akhras voiced one message to his lawyer,” the PPS added, “Either freedom or martyrdom.”