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Skunk Water for Palestinian Protesters, Not Right-Wing Jews, in Roads Near Mohammad AllanâEUR(TM)s Hunger Strike

World  (tags: activism news, protests, skunk, Ashkelon, Mohammed Allaan, COMA, HUNGER STRIKE, world, activists, administrative detention, life support, Palestinian lawyer, Israeli repression, USA, occupation, Palestinian human rights, middle-east, media )

- 1311 days ago -
For the second time in five days police dispersed Palestinian protesters in Ashkelon using force, and spraying heaps of putrid smelling liquid


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fly bird (26)
Tuesday August 18, 2015, 3:12 am
Bedlam stretched across the working-class Israeli town of Ashkelon yesterday after Israel reneged on what would have been a first medical visit by a Palestinian health official to Mohammed Allan, 31, a Palestinian hunger striking detainee hospitalized in the coastal Israeli city. For the second time in five days police dispersed Palestinian protesters in Ashkelon using force, and spraying heaps of putrid smelling liquid from a water cannon. This time, soaking demonstrators, members of Knesset and Israeli bystanders alike.

Police arrested 15 Palestinians, thrashing many, including Basel Ghattas, who is a member of the Israeli Knesset. “We are disappointed in the police, but it is not the first time,” Ghattas said, referencing another member of his Joint Arab List party, Jamal Zahalka who suffered a broken bone during a protest in Israel’s Negev desert last year.

One demonstrator was driven out of Ashkelon by an ambulance.

By nightfall word of the violent confrontation had spread, and right-wing residents amassed at the clash point, walking along the main drag, which was closed to passing cars. With a strong anti-police current in the crowd, the Israeli nationalists threw stones at the authorities and chanted “Mohammed is a Pig” “Death to Arabs,” “Death to reporters” and “the Jewish nation lives.”

Police did not use force, or the “skunk water” cannon against the Israeli dissidents.

Earlier in the day Hani Abdeen, the former Palestinian Minister of Health, was scheduled to examine Allan, who went into a coma after his 60th day of fast last Friday. Israel’s prison service had approved Abdeen’s permit last week, yet when he arrived at Barzilai hospital along with a delegation of Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, a phone call from Israel’s Ministry of Security informed him the visit was cancelled.

“He sat with doctors for two hours, and then waited another two hours,” said Hanin Zoabi, a member of the Knesset with the Joint Arab List who along with Ghattas accompanied Abdeen.

“At the end we understood there was a direct order from Netanyahu to not enter and check Mohammed Allan,” Zoabi said. She gained permission to Allan’s treatment room last Monday after applying for a special permit for Knesset members. The Palestinian doctor and Arab members of Knesset say they want to independently monitor Allan’s care, because they are concerned that his present intravenous hydration therapy could contain supplements and vitamins that would violate the terms of his hunger strike.

With the medical review redlined, the Knesset officials were then met by busloads of Palestinians who traveled to Ashkelon from across Israel for a protest outside of the hospital that had been organized days before. Yet Israeli police cordoned off a road leading to the facility and the demonstration was seemingly also cancelled. With that, the Palestinians—Zoabi and Ghattas included—regrouped at a main intersection marking the entrance to Ashkelon in an area where police had sealed off their rented vehicles.

Protesters then hoisted Palestinian flags and moved toward the high-traffic cross-streets. Police dashed towards one youth, knocking him to the ground. Another officer pepper sprayed protesters, sending the Palestinians running in all directions. Israeli authorities pursued them, with arrests taking place across the grassy plots and gas stations at the entrance of the town. Then the skunk water cannon doused the group and border police, covering a chaotic scene in a clear substance with the stench of fecal matter.

Then right-wing residents of Ashkelon staged their own protest against the presence of Arabs inside the Israeli town. Nationalist activists covered themselves with Israeli flags and that of Lehava, an anti-miscegenation group associated with far-right movements. An Israeli photographer working for a wire agency said he was surrounded by the rightists who aggressively demanded to know if he was Jewish.

The photographer remarked that a similar protest and counter protest last Wednesday was even more turbulent. He credited the havoc to Ashkelon’s insular environment. Before 1950 Ashkelon was called Majdal Asqalan and was a Palestinian-Arab agricultural village by the sea. Following an order issued by Israeli’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the chief architect of the Israeli army Yigal Allon, Arab villagers were expelled to Gaza and Lod in the backs of trucks. When new Israeli immigrants moved into the town it was renamed Ashkelon. As a result, few Arabs live in there today.

Last week Allan’s hunger strike caused a debate in the Israeli government over a controversial law to permit force-feeding. Israeli medical groups and the Soroka Hospital in Beersheva where Allan was then being held announced they would refuse to implement such an order, even if it was legal. Allan was then moved to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon where the director said he would go through with the force-feeding if asked.

Allan, a lawyer from a Nablus-area hamlet, was detained last November. He is being held in administrative detention, arrest without trial. His hunger strike was intended to pressure the Israeli government to either release him or bring his case in front of a judge.

In the 1980s three hunger-striking prisoners died when they were asphyxiated by force-feedings, said Qadura Fares, head of the Prisoners Club. “But only one died from hunger.”

Fares said that for decades Palestinians in Israeli jails have employed hunger strikes in order to force the Israeli prison service to enter negotiations with inmates. The first hunger strike took place in 1970. It yielded quality of life upgrades, prompting Palestinians detainees to continue the health-compromising practice. “Beds, radio, tv, pajamas, books– everything was achieved by hunger strikes, not by dialogue,” Fares said.

“Sometimes we have a big achievement, sometimes we don’t succeed. But the majority of these hunger strikes worked, and I don’t remember any development in the improvement of prisoners’ life without a hunger strike,” Fares concluded.

In recent years Palestinian detainees have opted for individual over collective hunger strikes, and in all those cases the jailed were protesting administrative detention orders. “There were many other hunger strikers, that last one was Khader Adnan,” a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad in the West Bank who was let out of prison a month ago, Ghattas said. “They negotiated with him and he was released.”

The former Palestinian detainee has also staged nightly protests in the West Bank along with nearly 100 supporters of Mohammed Allan. On Saturday, Adnan and the Ramallah demonstrators faced off with Palestinian Preventative Security forces as the group attempted to approach the Muqataa, the headquarters for the Palestinian Authority. Last week protesters also shut down offices for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in both Ramallah and Jerusalem. The ICRC provides family services for detained Palestinians in Israeli jails and has caught ire in recent years from Palestinians who claim the organization provides cover for Israel’s practice of imprisoning Palestinians without trial.

“Now the decision is in the political level and not in the professional level, and the political level is making if very hard because they want to make it a case study, ensuring all of the potential Palestinian hunger strikers don’t try it,” Ghattas said. Yet for the moment, it is impossible for Israel to come to an accord with Allan as he is unconscious, on a ventilator and being treated with fluids in accordance with a pre-existing Israeli law on protocols for unresponsive patients.

“The paradox here is, if they succeed in curing him or reviewing his health then he will strike again and refuse to take any liquids or any more vitamins or any more supporting materials, and this means he will go [hunger strike] again to the level where he will almost be dying,” Ghattas said.

Carol R (11)
Tuesday August 18, 2015, 6:59 am
Thanks Jess.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Wednesday August 19, 2015, 2:45 pm
It's quite amazing the aggressive behaviors still continue.

Nicolai L (39)
Thursday August 20, 2015, 3:15 am
it's a shame...
thanks for sharing

Stan B (123)
Friday August 21, 2015, 1:50 am
Skunk water. Big deal. It's better than shooting or beheading them.

Animae C (507)
Wednesday February 10, 2016, 5:14 am
Thanx Jess
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