PalSoc members shocked shoppers last Friday with their silent protest against the detainment of political prisoner Khader Adnan.
The public saw a number of students standing in a row across Cornmarket street wearing tape over their mouths that bore the slogan ‘Dying to live’.
Livia Bergmeiher, an Arabic student at Wadham, explained, ‘This is Palsoc’s first protest in aid of Palestinian prisoners, but with over 300 people being detained in the same way in Israel this will not be our last, no matter what happens with Mr Adnan’s case. The Israel government can detain prisoners for six months without a trial.’
She added, ‘We had all been following the case very closely as a group and the mainstream media only began covering it after solidarity movements began protesting and sending petitions to local MP’s and Israeli officials. We thought it would be good to raise awareness in the local community, and the public response was really positive.’
Adnan, a 33 year-old baker, has been detained since mid-December ‘for activities that threaten regional securities’ and several claims that he is a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a group deemed terrorist by Israeli authorities.
The Maths graduate and Masters student in Economics has not eaten since December 18th last year, the day after he was arrested near his home in a West Bank village south of Jenin. He claims that he is protesting against the violent nature of his arrest and his detainment without charges or trial.
In a letter from jail he wrote, ‘I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on.’
Khader Adnan starved himself for 66 days, the longest recorded hunger strike in Palestinian history. After 64 days without food doctors suggest that there is an immediate risk of death. Adnan has lost one third of his body weight and has been described as in ‘immediate danger of death.’
Charlotte-Anna Malischewski, a member of Palsoc, commented, ‘No one should be detained without charge, no matter who they are, where they are, or what some may suspect they have done. Khader Adnan is dying to live with the most basic of human rights, because the way Israel treats Palestinians has left him with no just choice, discrimination or death.
‘I participated in the Oxford Palestine Society vigil and fasted in response to a call from Jewish Voice for Peace and Ta’anit Tzedek. My Judaism teaches me that we have a collective responsibility to build a more just world, tikkun olam.’
Freddie Fulton, Jsoc President, stated, ‘It is a very difficult situation. It is important to mention that he had been arrested around 9 times and once by the Palestinian national authority, they hadn’t just picked up anyone off the street. It is also hard for us to understand what it must be like as a country to have routine terrorist attacks as a matter of course, not knowing who to trust. It’s an unfortunate consequence but would Britain really behave differently if they were in the same targeted position?’ On Tuesday Adnan and his lawyers made a deal with the Israeli authorities that ‘as long as no new significant and substantative material is added regarding the appellant, there is no intention to extend the administrative detention.’ A spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, Vice President and High Representative of foreign affairs at the EU told Cherwell, ‘We welcome the fact that a way out has been found in this case, and wish an early recovery for Mr Adnan.’ Cherwell was told that the EU would ‘reiterate [their] longstanding concern about the extensive use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charge. Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying any detention and be subject to a fair trial.’