Days of Palestine

Israeli military court extends detention of PIJ senior leader Bassam Al-Saadi for another six days


An Israeli military court at Ofer prison extended the detention of 62-year-old senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Bassam Al-Saadi for six additional days, according to authorities on Thursday, despite it seemingly breaking a ceasefire deal with the militant group.

The Palestinian leader was reportedly injured during his arrest by Israeli forces in Jenin last week, which triggered an escalation between Israel and the PIJ’s armed wing in Gaza. It ended with 48 Palestinians killed, including 15 children, while no Israelis died from Palestinian rocket fire.

The release of Bassam Al-Saadi was among the terms of a ceasefire deal reached between Israel and the PIJ after four days of confrontation.

The ceasefire terms also included the release of 40-year-old Khalil Awawdeh, a Palestinian detainee who has been on hunger strike protesting his detention without charge for 161 days.

“Bassam Al-Saadi wasn’t given an administrative detention order, nor was he charged of anything so far,” Ayah Shreiteh, spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club told The New Arab.

“At the moment, Al-Saadi’s legal status is unclear. We simply can’t guess if he will be released or not. There is no guarantee, same as in the case of Khalil Awawdeh, who hasn’t yet been transferred to a hospital.”

Prison doctors warned on Thursday that Awawdeh’s health is rapidly deteriorating due to the hunger strike and that he should be sent to hospital immediately.

The extension of Al-Saadi’s detention arrives a day after dozens of Palestinians were injured or wounded by Israeli forces across the West Bank and Jerusalem, in protest against the killing of four Palestinians by Israeli forces in Nablus and Jenin.

The timing of the ruling also coincides with an announcement of new protests by Palestinian administrative detention prisoners, including refusing meals in the Israeli Ofer prison on Wednesday. In a statement made public by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, the detainees said that they will stage more protests in the coming days.

The detainees’ move came in response of Israel’s administrative detention order of Nidal Abu Aker, a 52-year-old Palestinian journalist and community leader from the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, arrested by Israeli forces the same day as Bassam Al-Saadi.

On Wednesday, the UN envoy to the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, said that he had dispatched a UN team to visit Al-Saadi and inspect his detention conditions in the Israeli jail.

Wennesland added that the ceasefire is “very fragile” and called on all sides to “maintain calm”.