A Palestinian political prisoner on a hunger strike to protest his detention without charge or trial was brought out of sedation in an Israeli hospital on Tuesday and vowed to continue his fast, one of his lawyers said.
Mohammed Allaan, accused of working with the armed group Islamic Jihad, has refused food, vitamins and medical treatment for two months. His condition is being closely monitored by opposing forces in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, amid concerns that tensions may boil over into new violence if he dies.
Allaan had been sedated and given medication intravenously at Barzilai Medical Center in southern Israel since Friday, after doctors said his condition deteriorated sharply. On Tuesday, doctors at the hospital reported an improvement in his condition. They took him off a respirator and cut his sedation and said that he was conscious and communicating.
Jawad Bolus, the head of the legal department for the Palestinian Prisoner Club, which is advocating on Allaan’s behalf, said in a statement that he visited the hospital on Tuesday and heard Allaan “stress that he was pursuing his hunger strike.”
Bolus said Allaan instructed the medical staff to halt intravenous treatment but then agreed vitamins could be administered until a court hearing on Wednesday. Allaan told doctors that unless a solution was found to his plight within 24 hours, “he would stop taking anything, including vitamins and water,” Bolus said.
Confrontations erupted last week outside Barzilai between Palestinians and Israelis. Dozens of Palestinian activists in East Jerusalem have launched a sit-in at the International Committee of the Red Cross, calling for Allaan’s release, among other demands. Islamic Jihad has threatened attacks against Israel if he dies.
At a hearing in Israel's Supreme Court on Monday on his petition for unconditional release, the Justice Ministry said it would consider freeing him if he agreed to be exiled abroad for four years.
His lawyers rejected the proposal, saying Allaan poses no security threat, and the court, urging the sides to negotiate, scheduled another session for Wednesday.
Allaan has suggested he will end his hunger strike if he is released in time for Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday likely to fall on Sept. 23, Haaretz reported one of his lawyers as saying. His current detention order, if not renewed, ends in November.