Israel Detains Palestinian Journalist Freed Last Year After 93-day Hunger Strike

Mohammed al-Qiq, released in May 2016 after long detention without trial, launches new hunger strike after arrest for what Shin Bet calls 'involvement in incitement to terror in Israel.'

Palestinians protesting administrative detention of Mohammed al-Qiq, seen in poster, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank, on Jan. 22, 2016.
Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Shin Bet security service officials detained Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq Sunday evening at the Beit El checkpoint on his way from Bethlehem to Ramallah. Qiq, who has ties to Hamas and had previously been in administrative detention – that is, detention without trial – immediately launched a hunger strike.

Qiq's wife, Fiha, said he had been arrested by Israel Defense Forces soldiers after participating in a rally in Bethlehem calling for the release of the bodies of Palestinian terrorists being held by Israel. She said the car in which her husband had been travelling was stopped and the passengers were all questioned, but only he was brought in for further interrogation.

Qiq was originally arrested by Israeli security forces on suspicion “of activity against the security of the region and conspiracy to commit a crime” in November 2015. He subsequently launched a 93-day hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention, and was eventually released in May 2016 after intervention by the High Court of Justice and a reduction by the Shin Bet of the period of his arrest by one month.

Qiq said at the time that he had secured his release after a very difficult battle, and had achieved a very important moral victory for himself and other prisoners and detainees. He said that his struggle proves that Israel is unwilling to compromise except when confronted with aggressive behavior.

The Shin Bet said Monday in response to his detention: “Mohammad al-Qiq was detained last night by IDF and Shin Bet forces, due to a suspicion of involvement in incitement to terror against Israel and renewed activity in the context of the Hamas organization. Qiq’s detention was carried out as part of extensive activity to prevent Hamas terror infrastructures in the Ramallah and Binyamin sector, in which he took part.”