Palestinian Journalist Held by Israel to End Hunger Strike After Deal

Muhammad Al-Qiq will begin to take food and water after Israel agrees to let him go by mid-March.

Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qiq after being released following his last hunger strike in May 2016.
Nasser Shiyoukh, AP

Palestinian journalist Mohammad Al-Qiq agreed to end his month-long hunger strike starting Friday, following an agreement with Israel over his early release later this month.

Relatives of Al-Qiq, who has been held in administrative detention without charges, will hold a press conference Friday afternoon announcing the agreement, which was crafted over the past few days.

Israel arrested Al-Qiq on January 15 at the Beit El checkpoint, while he was en route to Ramallah. The security services interrogated him. Al-Qiq demanded a trial if there was evidence against him and announced he would launch a hunger strike if put under administrative detention.

Al-Qiq began a full hunger strike on February 6 after Israel issued a six-month administrative detention order against him. A few days later the order was cut to three months, but he announced he would continue his hunger strike until release.

Israel's prisoners administration announced on Wednesday that al-Qiq was transferred to a local hospital because his condition had deteriorated, having lost 12 kilograms.

Al-Qiq’s attorney, Khaled Azbarka, stressed that Al-Qiq was very weak and still suffers from the side effects of his previous hunger strike, which lasted almost three months. Thus, he said, there is concern of a dangerous deterioration in his medical condition.

The agreement stipulates that Al-Qiq will be released in on March 14, according to the family, adding they would explain the decision and the motivation for this agreement at a press conference in the afternoon.