Israel Deploys Anti-Missile System in Case Palestinian on Hunger Strike Dies in Jail

Michaela Whitton
August 21, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has positioned an Iron Dome battery in Southern Israel out of fear of attacks if the condition of Palestinian hunger striker Mohammed Allan further deteriorates.

The deployment of the rocket defense system near the town of Ashdod occurred on Wednesday, seeminglybefore Israel’s Supreme Court suspended the detention order and agreed to release the Palestinian lawyer while he receives medical care.

According to Israeli media, the installation of the Iron Dome — designed to intercept short-range rockets and mortar shells — comes as a response to an alleged statement by Islamic Jihad claiming they are no longer obliged to uphold their truce with Israel if Allan dies.

Israel claims they are holding the 33-year-old lawyer due to his associations with Islamic Jihad. He denies affiliations with the group but has been imprisoned since last November under administrative detention – a controversial practice allowing authorities to hold prisoners for months without charge or trial.

There are a reported 5,750 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and 401 of them are administrative detainees. With limited options available to them for protesting their detention, they are forced to resort to the extreme measures of hunger strikes to bring attention to their plight and urge the authorities to listen.

Prior to losing consciousness, Allan made a statement through his lawyer.

“Administrative detention returns us to slavery, and therefore I refuse to be a slave to anyone. The truth is that I currently prefer hunger as long as freedom is the goal in the absence of law in Israeli courts. So, I found myself forced to fight this battle,” he said.

He told his lawyer on August 12th that he was losing his vision, hearing loud noises, and experiencing weakness and numbness in his arms, legs, hands, and feet. Last Friday, he slipped into a coma and is said to be suffering brain damage due to vitamin deficiency.

On Wednesday, the court agreed to suspend his detention order while he receives medical treatment. Despite a controversial new law narrowly passed in July that allows Israel to force-feed Palestinian prisoners, the administration of fluids and nutritional supplements during his treatment in Israel’s Barzilai hospital is not considered force-feeding.

High drama has surrounded the case, with Allan becoming a national hero and rallies calling for his release taking place throughout Northern Israel and the West Bank. Clashes outside the hospital between Allan’s Palestinian supporters and right-wing Israeli opponents led to a number of arrests earlier this week.

In a statement that has undoubtedly enraged family and supporters, the Israeli government has said Allan’s detention will be cancelled if he is found to have irreversible brain damage as he would no longer pose a threat.

Palestinian media reported on Thursday that Allan had slipped back into a coma and faced the risk of death. Head of Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Committee Issa Qaraqa claims the Israeli authorities have not taken Allan’s condition seriously and are “guilty of killing him slowly.”

By Friday, both Palestinian and Israeli media reported an improvement in the lawyer’s condition, claiming that he is no longer in a coma but remains in a “critical condition.”

Despite Israel’s rejection of hunger strikes as one of the most radical traditions of nonviolent protest and dissent,  it remains to be seen if its refusal to end, or even examine, its cruel policies mean the state will need to use their Iron Dome.

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Michaela Whitton joined Anti-Media as its first journalist abroad in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include human rights, conflict, the Middle East, Palestine, and Israel. Born and residing in the United Kingdom, she is also a photographer. Learn more about Whitton here!