Palestinian Prisoner Ends Hunger Strike After Israel Says It Will Release Him Next Month

A Palestinian prisoner ended his 140-day hunger strike after making a deal with Israel on Tuesday to be released next month, his lawyer said.

Jawad Boulous, Hisham Abu Hawash's lawyer, said that once Israel promised to release him on February 25, his client agreed to end the hunger strike.

Abu Hawash is a 40-year-old father of five and a member of the Islamic Jihad militant group. He, along with several other Palestinians, started the hunger strike in protest of being imprisoned without charge. They are being held under "administrative detention," which is a contentious measure Israel says is a security necessity.

Suspects can be imprisoned for months or years without a charge and seeing the evidence against them under administrative detention. Islamic Jihad is deemed to be a terrorist group by Israel, responsible for killing many Israelis.

In the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians have protested in support of Abu Hawash. Islamic Jihad previously threatened military action against Israel if Abu Hawash died while being held. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim-majority states with headquarters in Saudi Arabia, also released a statement, saying they had "grave concern" regarding his condition.

Hisham Abu Hawash, Prison Release, Hunger Strike
Palestinians hold signs as they rally in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash in the city of Nablus in the north of the occupied West Bank on January 4, 2022, to demand his release from Israeli detention without charges. Abu Hawash ended his 140-day hunger strike after making a deal with Israel on Tuesday to be released next month. Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images

The Prisoners' Club, which represents former and current Palestinian prisoners, hailed the strike as a victory. It said Abu Hawash had previously spent eight years in Israeli prisons, more than half of it in administrative detention.

The 2.5 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank are subject to Israeli military courts, while Jewish settlers living in the territory are citizens subject to Israel's civilian justice system. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state.

Israel says administrative detention is needed to foil attacks and to detain dangerous militants without revealing sensitive intelligence sources. Israeli and international rights groups say the practice denies individuals the right to due process. Hundreds of Palestinians are held in administrative detention at any given time.

Palestinian hunger strikers are transferred to Israeli hospitals under guard as their condition deteriorates. Medics give them water and urge them to take vitamins, which many refuse. Photographs circulating online in recent days showed Abu Hawash in a hospital bed, his face pale and drawn.

The vitamin deficiency of a prolonged hunger strike can cause irreparable neurological damage, and many former Palestinian hunger strikers say they have struggled to resume normal lives after being released.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.