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Palestinian hunger striker - From obscurity to symbol of resistance

 When Mohammed Allan`s friends found out he was launching a hunger strike, they knew his stubbornness meant he would not give up easily.



Jerusalem: When Mohammed Allan`s friends found out he was launching a hunger strike, they knew his stubbornness meant he would not give up easily.

"We knew he would go until the end with it," Odai Alaweyeh told AFP of the 31-year-old Palestinian lawyer said to be a member of militant movement Islamic Jihad.

"He is the kind of person who, if he believes in an idea or cause, he goes until the end."

Allan finally ended his hunger strike on Thursday after beginning it on June 18 to protest his detainment without trial by Israel. 

His decision to stop fasting came after Israel`s High Court suspended his detention -- and after he had twice been in a coma. 

The court ruled that he must remain in hospital, but left open the question of what would happen if or when his health improved.

He was bedridden Thursday, but conscious and being given vitamins and minerals intravenously.

Allan has been held since November in what is known as administrative detention, which allows internment without charge or trial for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely.

Palestinian authorities say Israel has offered to release Allan in November, at the end of his second six-month interval, but activists have continued to push for immediate freedom.

Around 340 Palestinians are now held in administrative detention, according to Israeli authorities, and detainees have regularly gone on hunger strike to protest.

From Einabus near Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Allan was little known only several weeks ago.

But his thickly bearded face has recently become something of a new symbol of Palestinian resistance, with his photo posted on social networks and branded on posters supporting his cause, not to mention being published by newspapers and television stations.

For Israeli authorities, before his arrest in November he "was in contact with an Islamic Jihad terrorist" with the aim of carrying out large-scale attacks.

He was previously imprisoned from 2006 to 2009 for allegedly seeking to recruit suicide bombers and assisting wanted Palestinians, according to Israeli domestic security agency Shin Bet.

His lawyers say he was never informed of the accusations against him during his recent detainment, and his friend Alaweyeh described him as "religious, but not radical".

"He is stubborn, but he is a good and straightforward man," he said.

Friends said he practiced criminal defence law and took on civil cases.

He has also become a cause for rightwing Israelis, but for different reasons.

They have argued strongly against his release, criticising judges for giving in to what they see as "blackmail".

Some have pushed for him to be force-fed under a controversial law passed last month that allows for the practice in certain circumstances.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Wednesday that Allan`s release "would constitute a reward for his hunger strike and could encourage mass hunger strikes among security detainees".

From Zee News

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