Enforced by Israeli military orders, administrative detention allows for the imprisonment of Palestinians for up to a period of six months, before an extension is added, on the basis that the accused is ‘a security threat.’
Protesters hold a Palestinian flag and a spoon, which has become a symbol celebrating the six Palestinian prisoners who escaped Gilboa prison. 10 September, 2021. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
About 500 Palestinian prisoners detained under administrative detention in Israeli prisons held their 16th consecutive day of boycotting the practice of arbitrary arrests under the slogan “Our choice is freedom.”
The boycott involves Palestinian detainees refusing to show up for court sessions, as these begin with an initial hearing that validates the administrative detention order.
The boycott, initiated on 1 January, started during the hunger strike of prisoner Hisham Abu Hawwash while he was on his 138th day of hunger strike, and in a critical state.
Hawwash suspended his strike a day later on 5 January after winning concessions for his release, which is now scheduled for 26 February.
The Palestinian Prisoners Club said in a statement that the collective boycott came in response to a policy of escalation pushed by occupation authorities in the last year, as the number of administrative detention orders issued by Israel against both former and new prisoners rose to 1,595.
Administrative detention is commonly used by Israeli authorities against Palestinians, and involves arbitrarily detaining and arresting people without a charge or a trial.
Among the Palestinians in administrative detention are four minors and a female prisoner, Shurooq al-Badan.
The month with the highest frequency of administrative detention orders was during 11-day Israeli siege on Gaza in May 2021, when 200 orders for administrative detention were made.
In response to the mass arbitrary arrests, around 60 prisoners and detainees, many of whom were detained under administrative detention, went on hunger strikes in protest against the practice.
According to Al Mayadeen’s Jerusalem correspondent, hunger striker and Palestinian prisoner Muhammad al-Ardah, one of the six Palestinians who escaped from the high security Gilboa prison in Israel in September 2021, suspended his four day hunger strike on 16 January.