by James M. Wall
Khader Adnan has reached an agreement with the Israeli military authorities. He promises to end his hunger strike, but only if Israel guarantees to give him back his freedom April 17.
Israel blinked, saying, in effect,
“Yes, you may go free April 17, four months after we put you in prison without charges. Your administrative detention will end and you may return to your wife and two daughters.”
Israel blinked because it feared its own Supreme Court might go outside the Zionist box and expose the inherent inhumanity codified in administrative detention.
In a remarkable exchange on CNN International, Hala Gorani grilled Israel spokesman Mark Regev before Israel made public its latest “generous offer”. Regev stalled and squirmed under Gorani’s relentless questioning. It is highly probable that he was aware at the time that the Israeli strategy of avoiding a Supreme Court ruling was about to be announced.
The ten minute grilling is a classic display of what a good journalist can do to a duplicitous government spokesperson. Don’t look for this interview on CNN US. The interview became available on the internet through a posting by Adam Horowitz on the ever-valuable Mondoweiss web site.
Rest assured Israel was thinking less about the life of Khader Adnan, and more about its own image as a democracy, when it acted on its own to avoid having administrative detention fully exposed for what it is by its own Supreme Court.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will soon speak to AIPAC, Israel’s American support system, when he visits Washington for AIPAC’s annual meeting, March 4-6. He will also sit down with President Barack Obama who may have influenced him to “get rid of this Khader Adnan problem before you come to the White House”.
A massive outpouring of Palestinian grief for a dead hunger striker would not be good background for an Obama-Netanyahu confab.
But be cautious. The Israeli government is not known for straight shooting when it makes agreements either with Palestinians or with the American government. IMEU has gathered comments on what we might expect next. This was the reaction from Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada:
“While we await final confirmation from Khader Adnan himself that he has ended his hunger strike, reports of the deal to free him early from detention without charge or trial represent a big victory.
Israel made two concessions that met minimum conditions set by Adnan to end his strike: counting his 4-month administrative detention from the date of his arrest, rather than the date the order was issued — meaning he will be released 3 weeks early, and secondly, Israel agreed not to renew the order as it so often does.
The fact remains, however, that Adnan is still in custody without charge or trial, along with more than 300 other detainees, including 21 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. It is also worth noting that while Israeli officials continue to insinuate that Adnan is ‘violent’ and a ‘terrorist,’ they have still not charged him with any crime. It is simply inconceivable that if they believed their own claims, that Israel would have agreed to this deal”.
Meanwhile, in the main stream media, three of MSM’s major pundits have yet to address the Khader Adnan story. They missed the fact that he was the answer to their collective call for a Palestinian Gandhi.
Peter Hart, activities director of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), a New York-based web site, noticed a symmetry among three of these major media pundits.
During Adnan’s nearly ten week hunger strike, and before Israel backed down on administrative detention, Hart wrote in Huffington Post, that he found columns by Joe Klein, Time magazine, and the New York Times’ Tom Friedman and Nicholas Kristof, all sounding suspiciously like a well-rehearsed media trio singing in perfect harmony from the same page in the same hymn book. Hart explains:
For years prominent corporate media pundits have told us that the world — and the media — would embrace a dramatic, non-violent Palestinian resistance movement.
If only such a movement — perhaps led by a Gandhi-like figure — were to finally emerge, we are told, the media coverage will come, and sympathy from across the world will strengthen support for the Palestinian cause.
This is nonsense — there has been non-violent Palestinian resistance for years.
The three columns by Klein, Friedman and Kristof, were consistent on two important points. One, they made no reference of the long tradition of Palestinian non-violent protests. And two, they all came up with the same solution to the problem, a Palestinian-Gandhi who would draw immediate worldwide television coverage.
Time’s Joe Klein wondered why no Palestinian Gandhi-like figure had appeared. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, wrote on July 7, 2010, that if Palestinians would finally pursue nonviolent resistance, “Those images would be on televisions around the world.” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman insisted on May 5, 2011, that if Palestinians would simply adopt peaceful resistance, “it would become a global news event. Every network in the world would be there.”
The non-violent model cited by all three pundits was India’s Mohandas Gandhi, who led successful non-violent protests against Britain’s colonial empire which had been occupying Gandhi’s native India.
Known as ‘Mahatma’ (great soul), Gandhi was the leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule, and is widely considered the father of his country. His doctrine of non-violent protest to achieve political and social progress has been hugely influential.
Sixty-three years after Gandhi’s death, another Palestinian Ghandi challenges the curse of invisibility. He is a citizen of an outpost of the American empire called Israel, which poses a problem for our pundit trio. Their corporate masters approach with great caution any opponents of Israel.
The Palestinian Gandhi, Khader Adnan, (pictured above) is a 33-year-old Palestinian husband, with a pregnant wife and two daughters, who was placed under administrative detention in Israel’s military prison system December 17, 2011.
The hunger strike Adnan began on the day after his arrest, was in protest against his own administrative detention, and on behalf of all those Palestinian prisoners who suffer under administration detention, the legal subterfuge under which Israel says it has the power to hold a prisoner for an indefinite period without having to bring any charges against him or her.
Israel’s High Court of Justice has today scheduled a petitions hearing regarding the case of Khader Adnan to take place Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 11:30am. The petition was filed by Khader Adnan’s lawyers on 15 February.The High Court of Justice was provided with a detailed medical report prepared on 14 February by an Israeli-accredited doctor on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel).Despite the elaborate medical report, which confirmed that Khader Adnan “is in immediate danger of death,” and that “a fast in excess of 70 days does not permit survival,” the Israeli High Court appointed the petition session for 23 February with no guarantees that a decision will be made on the same day.
He was here, alright, chained to an Israeli military hospital bed, yet they saw him not.
Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now web site, is one important exception to how easily the US media accepts any and all Israeli versions of reality. She is a hidden treasure. For her take on the hunger strike, which was still in process at the time.
And finally, the media silence on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians like Khader Adnan, reveals the degree to which main stream media’s silence exposes the unpleasant fact that MSM’s primary loyalty is not to its readers, but to its corporate masters.
The Twitter social media– one important factor that made Israel decide to pay serious attention to Khader Adnan’s hunger strike–is described by in a posting by Jalal Abukhate, on the website al-akhbar, published before Israel reversed itself on Adnan. (The picture here is from that web site. It shows Adnan’s father holding his own poster asking for his son’s release.)
Abukhater describes Twitter and its potential to support movements of protests. Twitter’s presence was an important factor in Egypt and Libya at the outset of the Arab Spring.
Organizing a trending hashtag for Khader Adnan is just like organizing a large protest on the corner of the busiest and most crowded street in a city.
As you read this, Khader Adnan is very close to death. It is high time the Israeli state respond to calls by Amnesty International,Human Rights Watch, the Carter Center, and many other human rights organizations to release Adnan immediately.
As Adnan enters the 65th day of his hunger strike, activists and human rights defenders have joined this campaign. In addition, Amnesty International is calling for Israel to abolish the system of administrative detention.
Adnan is the victim of arbitrary detention. He is one of 309 Palestinians who are currently being held under Israeli administrative detention. Adnan, an administrative detainee, has not been charged, he has not been tried, and he does not know when the period of detention will end. Indefinite detention without a trial or charge is not permitted under International Law. It is considered a form of arbitrary detention which no country should be practicing.
The silence of the world community is deafening. The late awakening of the mainstream media is inexcusable. Imagine if Adnan were an Iranian man on hunger strike in an Iranian jail. Would we have had to do this massive movement on Twitter to get the world’s attention? I don’t think so.
While the mainstream media has failed to cover Adnan’s story, Twitter is at the forefront of the campaign to pressure the Israeli government to act. Twitter users have taken on the responsibility of filling the void created by the mainstream media.
At this moment, according to Topsy Twitter statistics, the hashtag #KhaderAdnan has been mentioned about 40,000 times on Twitter. It should be noted that this statistic excludes other related hashtags which would count in the thousands.
A hashtag is a special tool used in Twitter to mark certain tweets as part of one conversation. In order to enter a hashtag, one must add (#) before any keyword. When a hashtag is selected the user is directed to a page where they are able to read all Twitter updates using this specific hashtag. Whenever there is a big news story, a popular event, or even a revolution, people use a certain hashtag to contribute to that conversation. That is what Palestinian and other activists are doing now for Adnan.
The picture of Khader Adnan at top, is from the End the Occupation blog.