Palestinian Hunger Striker Wins Victory in Battle of Wills With Israeli Army

Israeli government spokespeople are using the “Gitmo shield” as their get-out-of-jail-free card, claiming that many Western democracies use such administrative detention practices (audio news report). This, of course, is a half-truth. Some democracies have used the system for limited periods when facing specific crises. Britain during the Troubles (and in the period of the Palestinian Mandate), and the US since 9/11. But Israel has used the system the longest, the most widely and with the least level of judicial review.

The world media have not acquitted themselves well in covering this story. CNN finally reported it a few days ago as did the BBC. The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner mentioned the case without naming Khader Adnan two days ago in a story she wrote about the Israeli torture of Palestinian children. Yesterday, shortly before Adnan accepted his deal with the Israeli authorities, she finally actually spelled out his name in print. The Israeli media reported the story, but grudgingly. Most other papers, especially those in the US were left out in the cold.

Which, once again, shows that for the most comprehensive coverage you need to follow the blogs and social media. Every day, the #KhaderAdnan hashtag trended in the top ten. His supporters kept his cause alive on Twitter and, in a sense, Adnan owes his life to his followers on Twitter and the application itself. As with the Arab Spring revolts and Iran election protests, score another victory in the fight against authoritarianism and injustice to Twitter.

On a less hopeful note, February 18 marked the one-year anniversary of Dirar Abusisi’s kidnapping by Israeli and Ukrainian security forces and his rendition to Israel on charges of directing Hamas’ missile technology program. Israel has still not brought him to trial and he has refused plea deals offered by the state prosecutor because he claims he is innocent. Abusisi’s lawyer is suing before the Supreme Court for access to all evidence the prosecution has used to build its case. The state has used various delaying tactics and excuses to deny the materials and fend off any hearings on the matter. For every Khader Adnan in the Israeli justice system, there are two or more Dirar Abusisis.