Linah Alsaafin of Al Jazeera on the death of popular Palestinian leader Khader Adnan following a hunger strike protest against Israeli internment.
In total, Adnan went on 5 hunger strikes (2004, 2012, 2014, 2021, 2023) and was imprisoned by Israel 12 times - mostly on administrative detention, meaning held indefinitely without charges.
He is survived by his wife Randa Musa and his nine children.
Adnan drew international attention 11 years ago when he went on hunger strike for 66 days, drawing comparisons to the 1981 Irish hunger strikers, especially Bobby Sands, and inspiring a Palestinian hunger strike movement.
Upon his release in April 2012, Adnan did not go home but went to immediately visit the families of seven prisoners. He finally went home very late.
I remember making the 2-hour journey from Ramallah to his hometown Arraba in Jenin that day, the morning after he was released.
I was the first journalist there, clutching a pen and notebook. Adnan was still sleeping, and his elderly father came and sat me with me in the courtyard, regaling me with historical and revolutionary facts about Arraba.
Adnan finally joined us, still in his pyjamas, but by then there was a media circus already who swooped in with their bulky cameras to get their own interviews.
At noon, schoolchildren from the town came to pay their respects to Adnan, and he shook every one of their hands.
It was impossible to reach him alone, so I spent the whole day inside with his mother and his resilient wife Randa, pregnant with their 3rd child at the time. Randa lamented that Adnan was still in his pjs giving interviews and managed to steal him away to get him properly dressed.
Finally I managed to sit with him for 15 minutes, resulting in this interview.
We went outside again to get photos and Oren Ziv from ActiveStills captured Adnan with his 2 daughters, Maali and Bisan.
Adnan was unwavering, soft-spoken and direct. “I am but a baker”, he once said.
But he was more than that. He gained support on the ground by being present in protests for prisoners, highlighting their plight, and never forgot the families of those killed by Israel Image
When people ask why there isn’t a proper Palestinian leadership in lieu of the heavily corrupt, out-of-touch and mafia-esque Palestinian Authority, it’s no exaggeration to say the true leaders are exiled, imprisoned for long time, or killed.
Adnan’s death is an immeasurable loss.
“The mass hunger strike is a signal to all oppressed and vulnerable people everywhere, not just Palestinians. It’s a message to everyone suffering from injustice, under the boot of oppression.” -Khader Adnan, April 2012
* Over 4,900 Palestinian prisoners are in Israeli jails, including 160 children. More than 1,000 are held under administrative detention - the highest number in 20 years.