Skip to main content

Issawi’s release places individual hunger strikes in spotlight

Samer Issawi's release set off exuberant celebrations in the streets, but more importantly has refocused the spotlight on his fellow hunger strikers in prison.
Released Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi gestures as he celebrates in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya December 23, 2013. Israel on Monday freed al-Issawi from jail, to complete a deal agreed earlier this year over his release in exchange for him ending a lengthy hunger strike that almost killed him. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX16SOH

On Monday, Dec. 23, the village of Issawiyeh and Palestinians from the neighboring areas turned out in thousands to participate in the homecoming of Samer Issawi, 30, who after 17 months in an Israeli prison was finally released. Issawi had embarked on an epic 266-day hunger strike shortly after his arrest in July 2012, when he began refusing meals in protest of his imprisonment.

Women ululated and an atmosphere not unlike a wedding took place within the Issawi crowded family home. The young men and children outside chanted Issawi’s name and shouted against the Israeli prisons and occupation amid the backdrop of fireworks and lively activity in preparation for Issawi’s return.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.