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Israel Supreme Court declines to free Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike

The Israeli Supreme Court [official website] on Monday ruled against two Palestinian prisoners in their appeal seeking release from detention. Thaer Halahla and Bilal Diab have been placed in administrative detention, a legal method of incarcerating potentially dangerous individuals indefinitely without a trial. The two men, along with over 1,500 other Palestinian detainees in Israel have been refusing food [Reuters report] to protest their detention without trial. In its decision, the court determined [AFP report] that such policies were necessary to combat terrorism in Israel, but suggested the authorities should consider releasing the two prisoners for health reasons. Last month, Israel released hunger strike detainee Khader Adnan because of his deteriorating health.

Israel has recently faced criticism for the country's policy toward Palestinians. The Israeli Supreme Court announced [JURIST report] in February that it would hear the hunger strike case Adnan, despite a military judge rejecting his appeal in early February. Adnan was released from detention in April. In early February, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Israel to change its policies [JURIST report] that forbid Palestinians from traveling through and living in Gaza and the West Bank. The Israeli Supreme Court upheld [JURIST report] a law that prevents Palestinians who marry Israelis from obtaining Israeli citizenship. With its ruling the court again rejected the petition filed by Adalah [advocacy website], a civil rights group in Israel, arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

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