Palestinian Detainee Ends Hunger Strike After Deal Reached With Israel

Mohammed al-Qiq will end his 93-day hunger strike Friday, but will not leave Israeli hospital as he initially requested; instead his detention period will be shortened.

Palestinian hunger striker al-Qiq with Joint Arab List MK Osama Saadi after deal to end his strike was announced. February 26, 2016.
Palestinian hunger striker al-Qiq with Joint Arab List MK Osama Saadi after deal to end his strike was announced. February 26, 2016. Jack Khoury

Palestinian and Israeli officials have reached an agreement to end the hunger strike of a Palestinian detained in Israel.

Mohammed al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist from Ramallah, has been on a hunger strike for the past 93 days in protest of his detention without trial. He was arrested by Israeli security forces on November 21 in connection with alleged involvement in terror activities linked to Hamas.

The deal stipulates that Qiq, who is hospitalized in the northern Israeli city of Afula, will not be transferred to Al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem, as he had initially requested, but will remain in Israel's Haemek hospital. However, his remand will be shortened to end on May 21, instead of June 21.

Though there have been reports of talks to resolve the crisis surrounding his strike, his lawyer said Friday the "deal came together last night (Thursday)," confirmed that Qiq "will remain in the hospital to receive medical care. His family will visit in the coming hours."

Head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Mohammed Barakeh, said Qiq's "historic three month hunger strike ended in victory."

A Palestinian man carrying a placard bearing a portrait of Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq at a demonstration north of Ramallah.
AFP

The High Court suspended Qiq's detention earlier this month due to his medical condition. He isn't consuming anything but tap water, and has refused to receive essential minerals. He is conscious but isn't communicating. According to sources in the hospital, he is lucid, but his body is growing weaker and he faces the risk of collapse. The doctors intend to take life-saving measures if his condition deteriorates drastically.
 
The agreement different from the one offered to Qiq by the High Court of Justice. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein denied a request by Qiq's attorneys to transfer the hunger striker to Ramallah, saying that a hospital in East Jerusalem is the only option. Qiq rejected the deal because Israel refused to promise not to re-arrest him after he recuperates.

The agreement resembles the one reached between Israel and another Palestinian administrative detainee, Mohammed Alan. As per the deal, the state won't renew his detention unless new evidence warrants it. 

Prior to his arrest, Qiq was often interviewed by media outlets affiliated with Hamas, and is considered very critical of the Palestinian Authority. During the period before his arrest, he wrote articles criticizing the PA and its security services for the arrest of political activists in the West Bank. In an article that appeared in a London-based Arabic newspaper in October, he called those claiming that the Palestinian people were weary of violence and bloodshed “liars” who were trying to undermine the intifada.