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Former hunger-striking prisoner continues new strike in protest of redetention

June 15, 2017 8:54 P.M. (Updated: June 18, 2017 4:41 P.M.)
A Palestinian youth stands behind a wall sprayed with graffiti in Gaza City depicting Muhammed Allan. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner and lawyer Muhammad Allan entered the eighth day of a hunger strike in Israeli jail on Thursday, in protest of his recent redetention by Israeli forces, according to the al-Quds news website.

Al-Quds quoted the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society as saying that Allan launched his strike on June 8, the day he was detained from his home in the Nablus-area village of Einabus during a predawn raid, adding that a court session was held Thursday to extend Allan’s detention.

Allan’s father, according to al-Quds, said an Israeli military court charged his son with “incitement” on Facebook, saying that that Israeli forces “have been after his son to detain him and take revenge on him since the day he was released last year from administrative detention.”

Allan was released from prison in November 2015 after a year-long stint in administrative detention -- Israel’s widely-condemned policy of internment without charge or trial -- during which time he endured a grueling 66-day hunger strike in protest of his detention.

Israeli forces detained at least 400 Palestinians in less than a year over social media activity, and 400 others were detained for the same reason by the Palestinian Authority through its widely condemned policy of security coordination with Israel, Israeli news daily Haaretz reported in April.

Israeli authorities have justified their crackdown on Palestinian social media activity, arguing that a wave of unrest that began in October 2015 was stoked by online “incitement,” though Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for acts of violence.

Israeli leadership has boasting numerous times in recent months that severe security measures and "Facebook arrests" have succeeded in reducing the trend of small-scale attacks against Israelis, despite a poll conducted last year by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research that found support for attacks declined "due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy."

A more recent report by Haaretz revealed how Israel has been monitoring Palestinians’ social media profiles and subsequently making arrests when “the kid doesn’t know that he is a terrorist yet,” as one Israeli army officer put it.

Suppression of Palestinian freedom of expression in recent months has also seen bookstores shuttered, while activists, journalists, novelists, and poets have been detained.

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