Mohammed Allaan, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has been jailed by Israel since 2014, when he was arrested for the second time for involvement in terrorist activities. Although his recent hunger strike has made headlines in Israel and abroad, Gerald Steinberg explains that it was part of a well-coordinated effort to get him released:
The threats of large-scale violence in Israel and international condemnation if Allaan were to die [in custody] were used to pressure Israel to release him unconditionally. [The effectiveness of such a] strategy was demonstrated in the early 1980s, when ten IRA hunger-striking terrorists in British jails died, with major ramifications. To avoid a similar situation, Israel had previously freed a number of alleged terrorists in administrative detention. . . .
In this deadly political chess game, a number of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), claiming to promote moral agendas, have played a central role. The petition before the High Court of Justice, asking the judges to release Allaan, was brought by Adalah, an influential Israeli political advocacy NGO. Adalah was joined by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the Arab Association for Human Rights, Al-Mezan (Gaza-based), and other groups. These NGOs are among the leaders of campaigns demonizing Israel, and the Allaan hunger strike is another means to achieve this end. . . .
A survey of NGO websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds shows the intense focus of these resources on the Allaan case, which they have presented as primarily involving the medical ethics of force-feeding and the legality of administrative detention . . . with no mention of Islamic Jihad terrorism. . . .
The successes that Allan and his NGO support group can now claim following the media campaign, the threats of violence, and his subsequent release guarantee the frequent [future] use of the hunger-strike strategy.