Palestinian Hunger Striker Released to Gaza Exile

Move May Reduce Tensions Ahead of Obama's Visit

By Reuters

Published March 17, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner was exiled by Israel to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Sunday, Palestinian officials said.

The deal involving Ayman Sharawneh, whose case had helped fuel Palestinian protests, could reduce friction ahead of Wednesday’s two-day visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Israel and Palestinian territory.

Sharawneh, 37, from the Hebron area in the occupied West Bank, had signed an agreement to stay in Gaza for 10 years, according to Qadura Fares, head of an advocacy group for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel made no comment.

Sharawneh had been freed from an Israeli prison as part of a 2011 swap for an Israeli soldier who was held for more than five years in Gaza, then arrested again last year.

He had joined other prisoners in intermittently refusing food in protest against their being jailed without trial.

Sharawneh, who had been treated in Israeli hospitals during his hunger strikes, was driven into Gaza in an ambulance through the high-security Erez Crossing under cover of darkness.

He was admitted to the main hospital in Gaza City, where he received a hero’s welcome - dozens of supporters greeting him with green and white Hamas flags.

A pro-Hamas prisoners’ association said Sharawneh was being admitted to an intensive care unit.

Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government, praised Sharawneh as a “hero prisoner.”

He had originally been jailed in 2002 during a Palestinian uprising. After his rearrest, he was among four prisoners who began hunger strikes in protest.

The condition of those inmates and the death of another detainee helped fuel a string of protests in which dozens were injured across the West Bank. Two of the other inmates have since stopped their hunger strikes after a promise to free them.

Both sides have sought to calm the atmosphere ahead of what will be Obama’s first visit as president, for talks expected to address peace negotiations frozen since late 2010 after disputes over Jewish settlement building.

Israel holds 178 Palestinians as “administrative” detainees - jailed without trial as suspected militants for renewable three to six-month terms based on classified evidence.

Qadoura stressed that Shawarneh had signed onto the deal of his own accord. Palestinian authorities object to deportations from land they seek for a state.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.