(JTA) – The Palestinian detainee who had refused to eat for 60 days broke his hunger strike following authorities’ decision to release him.
Mohammad Allaan’s brother, Amid Allaan, told Israeli media of the decision Thursday night at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, where the Palestinian detainee who is an alleged member of Islamic Jihad is being treated in connection with his protracted hunger strike.
“Mohammad Allaan in now neither a prisoner nor on a hunger strike,” Amid Allaan told Army Radio. “He’s a free man who’s in hospital for treatment.”
Mohammad Allaan is not expected to begin eating on his own for another two weeks and is currently being nourished intravenously.
Allaan was being held under administrative detention – a provision that allows authorities to hold individuals, mostly those suspected of terrorism or espionage, without charging them. But earlier this week, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered his release amid fears that he would die or cause himself irreversible brain damage.
Allaan fought in court against force feeding which authorities wanted to perform on him. Eli Ben-Dahan, Israel’s deputy defence minister, said Israel offered to release Allaan if he would agree to leave the country, including the Palestinian Authority, for four years but he declined.
The ruling by the court – which rightist leaders have long criticized for overruling majority-passed votes that the justices found undemocratic – to release Allaan provoked angry reactions from Ben-Dahan and other officials.
“If security forces believe Allaan is dangerous and needs to remain detained to prevent innocent casualties, then naturally it must not be allowed for the state to surrender to his demands and release him,” Ben-Dahan wrote on Facebook Wednesday.
Ze’ev Elkin, Israel’s minister for immigrant absorption, called the court’s ruling “scandalous” in an interview for Army Radio. “We cannot tolerate a reality in which the Supreme Court replaces the Knesset, the government and is now also replacing the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service, determining what’s dangerous and what isn’t,” he said.
The state’s intention to force feed Allaan, however, was opposed by Israeli physicians, including Leonid Edelman, head of the Israeli Medical Association, who called it torture and said Allaan should be released to save his life.