A New Palestinian Martyr, And Israel's "Other" Crisis That Won't Go Away
A Palestinian has died from a hunger strike in an Israeli prison, exacerbating the cycle of violence in the region. Israeli's protesting Benjamin Netanyahu''s right-wing government have little to offer to resolve the eternal crisis of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Khader Adnan, a 44-year-old leader of the radical Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad, had been imprisoned in Israel for the 10th time when he began his third hunger strike on February 5, which would prove to be fatal. The resident of Jenin in the West Bank was found unconscious in his cell Tuesday, and declared dead upon arrival at the hospital after 86 days of refusing food and medical care.
Israeli authorities claim that Adnan had refused all assistance, but an Israeli medical NGO asserts that Israel denied a request for hospitalization as his condition deteriorated.
Islamic Jihad immediately declared Adnan a "martyr," though he was accused of "endorsing terrorism," and rocket fire was reported after his death from Gaza , the organization's stronghold. However, the widow of the Palestinian activist addressed the leaders of the jihadist group: "You did nothing to save him while he was alive, so do nothing after his death," she said. "It is my nine sons who will avenge their father in due course."
The ancient "eye-for-an-eye" law of revenge is still holding strong.
This incident is just one more example of a deteriorating situation over the past few months, with nearly 100 deaths this year, mostly Palestinians. The situation worsened last year with the absence of any political prospects for the residents of the Occupied Territories, and it has accelerated with the formation of Israel's most right-wing government in history, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which includes far-right groups that advocate a hard crackdown on Palestinian activism.
A woman attends an event to protest the killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan, who had been on a hunger strike in prison for nearly three months, on May 2, 2023, in Gaza City.
Hour of truth
Intransigence toward a member of a terrorist group on a hunger strike is part of their security posture. Linked to the settler movement, they believe that these territories form the "Greater Israel" and that their Palestinian inhabitants should not stand in their way.
The equation depends on the lifespan of this coalition.
There are two parallel crises in Israel. The one that's been making headlines recently includes protests against institutional projects of the coalition (such as weakening the authority of the Israeli Supreme Court) that are considered a threat to democracy. But the other is no less critical, related to the future of the Palestinian territories, a crisis that has been at an impasse for years.
At this stage, there is no bridge between these two crises. Israeli protesters, if only to maintain broad consensus, avoid raising the Palestinian issue — also because they can't offer any answer on the matter.
Part of the equation depends on the lifespan of this coalition, which is composed in part of extremists who refuse to make concessions, on neither reforms nor, obviously, the Palestinian question. But now, Netanyahu's Easter break is over, and the hour of truth is approaching.
Instead, for the Palestinians, the daily hopelessness of the latent confrontation continues. Khaled Adnan is one more name on a list of premature deaths that grows longer every day.
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