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An unbreakable will

The family of Maher Al-Akhras, who is on hunger strike in Israeli prison. Credit: Diana Khwaelid

“I will go on a hunger strike until I get freedom or martyrdom.”

This is what the prisoner Maher Al-Akhras (52), from the village of Hajjah, Jenin district, said after the Israeli occupation forces raided his house and arrested him without charges last Thursday night, August 24.

The prisoner Maher works as a farmer. He owns a farm with cows and takes care of his family of 6 children, the youngest of whom is his daughter Toqa, who is 9 years old. He is a man who loves his family, supports the families of prisoners and martyrs and is always present for help and solidarity.

He is considered one of the most famous prisoners who went on an open hunger strike in order to get freedom. He is a former prisoner, and the Israeli occupying forces have not brought clear charges against him.

Credit: Diana Khwaelid

Maher suffers from a difficult health situation, and his wife said that she feels afraid for her husband, since he suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, and recently underwent surgery. The lawyer also said that he is in pain and does not feel well. Maher refuses to take any medication from the Israeli prison administration and to get treatment, because he was arrested without charge and wrongfully. He is one of dozens of prisoners who were arrested without a clear charge, and are held under administrative detention in Israeli jail. This is one of the ways through which the occupation imposes its control on the Palestinian people.

His daughter Toqa added that she worries for her father, and she stressed that the occupation is unjust and brutal and that she misses him very much. Like any child in the world, she has the right to live with her father in peace.

Her mum assured her that Maher is a strong person and believes in his just cause, that his will will not be broken, that the Lord is taking care of him, and she hopes that he will be released.

Maher’s mother, who is 74 years old, said that she misses her son, and she is worried for him because of his health, and prays for him day and night, until he comes out safely. She believes that the occupation’s racist practices will not continue, and that the occupation will disappear.

Maher, who has been on hunger strike for 6 days, is sacrificing his life and health in order to demand his freedom, to tell the occupation that the Palestinian people have the right to live in freedom and peace.

Credit: Diana Khwaelid