Palestinian hunger striker exiled to Gaza

GAZA Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:48pm GMT

1 of 3. Freed Palestinian prisoner Ayman Sharawneh gestures as he holds a copy of the Koran inside an ambulance upon his arrival near Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip March 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Salem

GAZA (Reuters) - 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.

(Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (7)
Harry079 wrote:
“A hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner was exiled by Israel to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Sunday”

Exiled into Hamas-ruled the Gaza Strip?

What the heck does that mean?

It means Israel released the twice arrested Palestinian as a fig leaf before President Obama’s trip.

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions
all on a sesame seed bun.

Mar 17, 2013 11:33pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
Reuters1945 wrote:

1)Israel does not have any interest nor is Israel under any obligation to offer President Obama some sort of “fig leaf”, as you call it, before his visit to the Middle-East.

President Obama has more than made his position/s regarding the State of Israel, abundantly clear since his first term in Office when he paid a visit to Egypt early on, but did not feel a stop off of even 60 minutes in Israel, was in either his, or Israel’s interest.

That important decision by Obama, spoke volumes and its meaning and significance was not lost on anyone, anywhere in the world, with even a partially functioning brain or even no brain at all.

The Scare-crow in the “Wizard of Oz” could have figured that one out.

Obama’s visit to the State of Israel now comes up “a dollar short and a day too late”, as an old saying goes.

The State of Israel has, and will continue, to survive President Obama’s term/s in the White House. And Israel will still be around long after President Obama is gone and simply becomes another Ex-American President.

2) As far as the newly released Palestinian “hunger striker’s release”, it is likely he was not released to Gaza as any type of favor.

Gaza represents a small version of Hell on Earth where people have about as many rights and freedoms as you can count on the fingers of the left hand of a snake. Or more appropriately said: on the left hand of an alleged thief in a country that practices extreme Sharia law and cuts off an accused thief’s hand/s as a form of the extreme and barbarous, type punishment, that went out with the close of the Middle Ages.

3) Finally, despite all the complaints voiced against the State of Israel, to my knowledge, Israel is the only nation on Earth, where if a convicted prisoner wishes to acquire a “Get out of Jail Free” card, all he has to do is go on a hunger strike and refuse to eat.

Image any convicted prisoner in the US, China, Russia, the EU or Africa succeeding in getting himself released from prison simply by refusing to eat his meals.

That is only likely to happen if pigs suddenly sprout wings and learn to fly.

By the way- I voted for Obama only by default because I felt that his opponent, by virtue of his parking his immense wealth in the Cayman Islands, a place well known for being used by the wealthy, as a tax haven, did not possess the level of ethics one has a right to expect of the President of the United States of America.

Mar 17, 2013 2:09am GMT  --  Report as abuse
renumeratedfrog wrote:
LOL… Freaking drama theatre… Guess what palis (and you too yids)! Nobody cares about your 5 penny theatre anymore… The world is a big place and there’s much more important things going on there than your little squabbles…

Mar 17, 2013 3:33am GMT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.