A Palestinian woman on hunger strike in protest at her detention without charges by Israel will be deported to the Gaza Strip under a deal ending her fast, her representatives said on Thursday.
Hana Shalabi, a member of the Islamic Jihad militant group, stopped taking food after Israeli troops seized her in the occupied West Bank on February 16, becoming the second Palestinian detainee in quick succession to go on hunger strike.
Qadoura Fares of the Palestinian Prisoners Club said Shalabi had agreed to three years’ exile in Gaza, which is geographically separate from the West Bank and under Israeli blockade, "in return for ending her strike and being freed".
"We reject deportation, but this is her decision and her own life," Fares told Reuters.
Shalabi’s lawyer, Jawwad Boulous, confirmed the agreement but said he did not know when it might be implemented given her deteriorated health. An Islamic Jihad spokesman said he had no knowledge of the deal.
An Israeli official said: "I am aware there were negotiations of that sort." The official did not immediately elaborate.
Citing the need to protect intelligence sources from exposure in court proceedings, Israel held Shalabi without charge under so-called "administrative detention".
But her original six-month detention was trimmed to four months by military judges on March 4.
Israel had previously held Shalabi for 25 months but released her in October under a prisoner swap with the Islamist militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza and, like Islamic Jihad, is deeply hostile to the Jewish state.
Shalabi’s father, Yehia, said that since the exchange his daughter had not been active in Islamic Jihad.
Israel struck a deal last month with Khader Adnan, another Islamic Jihad member, persuading him to end his 66-day fast after assuring him that he would be released in April from his detention without trial.
Human rights groups have condemned Israel’s detention without trial of some 300 Palestinians.