Palestinian Khader Adnan Ends 66-Day Hunger Strike

Palestinian Khader Adnan ended his 66-day hunger strike as lawyers reached a deal with the Israeli government for Adnan's release from administrative detention.

Adnan, who has been a spokesman the Islamic Jihad militant group, will be released from Israeli prison on April 17.

According to the terms of the agreement, Adnan must begin eating immediately. He has not accepted food since December 18, one day after his arrest on suspicion of acts that "threaten regional security," according to Israeli officials. It was the longest hunger strike ever staged by a Palestinian prisoner.

The deal for Adnan's release came less than an hour before his case was scheduled to appear before the Israeli Supreme Court. The case had been moved forward by 48 hours after doctors expressed concern that Adnan might not survive that long.

According to physicians' reports, he had lost over 50 pounds, his hair was falling out, and he was at risk of a heart attack.

During Adnan's imprisonment, large numbers of Palestinians had taken to the Gaza Strip to protest his imprisonment. Islamic Jihad also promised retribution against the Israeli government if Adnan died in their custody.

Adnan's hunger strike was meant to bring attention to the Israeli practice of administrative detention. The practice, which dates back to the British Mandate, says that a prisoner can be held without charge for a six month period, renewable indefinitely.

The protest drew the attention of the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who said, "Detainees have the right to be informed about the charges underlying any detention and be subject to a fair trial."

The baker and produce store owner from the town of Arraba also has a long history of political dissent. Adnan has been arrested nine times since 1999, for a total of six years of imprisonment. He was arrested eight times by Israel and once by the Palestinian National Authority.

Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, wasted no time denouncing the deal for Adnan's release.

"It was a wrong decision to release the Jihad activist. But it is our duty to respect and honor every Supreme Court decision even when we don't agree with it," Lieberman said.

Adnan's wife, Randa, says that she and their two children eagerly await Adnan's return home. "He's shown by his steadfastness that we can be victorious," she said.