Palestinian Hunger Striker’s Family Begs Abbas to Intervene

Journalist Mohammed al-Qiq has not eaten in almost 90 days and remains detained in Israeli hospital.

Mohammed al-Qiq in the hospital.
AP

The family of Palestinian hunger striker Mohammed al-Qiq made an urgent appeal on Saturday night to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to international public opinion, asking for immediate action to bring about his release.

Qiq’s wife, Faihaa Shalash, said at a press conference convened by the family in the town of al-Dura that her husband was in dire condition and at risk of imminent death. “Honorable President Abbas, I urge you and tell you that your son Mohammed’s life depends on you.”

The family’s call came after the beefing up of security and police presence at the ward where Qiq is hospitalized at Haemek Hospital in Afula. The family believes the police are preparing for the worst.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist from Ramallah, has been on a hunger strike for the past 88 days in protest against his detention without trial. He was arrested by Israeli security forces on November 21 in connection with alleged involvement in terror activities.

The call also came against the backdrop of reports of a possible deal to end the hunger strike. The Palestinian Authority’s department of prisoners’ affairs reported on Friday that a deal was possible within 24 hours, but nothing has materialized thus far.

As part of the suggestions made, it was proposed that Qiq be transferred to al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, where he would stop his strike and continue to receive medical assistance. It is unclear if the state will undertake not to renew his administrative detention after his health improves and whether it will shorten the duration of his detention order, scheduled to end next June.

Al-Makassed hospital announced on Friday that it was ready to receive Qiq if he agrees. By Saturday night there was still no news regarding Israel’s position. People close to Qiq complained that there were too many advisors and supporters trying to influence him regarding a transfer to another hospital and the termination of his hunger strike.