Israel bars family from visiting gravely ill hunger striker

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus take part in a demonstration on 17 February calling for the release of Muhammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist on hunger strike since November against his administrative detention by Israel.

Nedal Eshtayah APA images

Israel is refusing to allow the family of Muhammad al-Qiq to visit the gravely ill hunger striker in the hospital where he is being detained.

As al-Qiq’s condition continues to deteriorate, his wife Fayha Shalash and their two young children are desperate to be by his bedside.

Al-Qiq, a 33-year-old journalist from the occupied West Bank village of Dura, could experience organ failure at any moment after refusing food for 86 days to protest his detention without charge or trial.

The family submitted urgent requests for a visit through the Palestinian Authority and the Red Cross, the Quds news outlet reported.

Muhammad al-Qiq in Afula hospital on 10 February.

Oren Ziv ActiveStills

On Friday, the Palestinian Prisoners Club, whose lawyers represent al-Qiq, said that Israeli occupation authorities had once again refused a request to let family members travel to HaEmek hospital in Afula, a city in present-day Israel, to see al-Qiq.

According to the group, the refusal violates the Israeli high court’s 4 February order suspending al-Qiq’s administrative detention, which said that he could receive visitors.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said efforts would continue to try to persuade Israel to allow his family to join al-Qiq given his dangerous health situation.

No lawful authority

On Thursday, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem made an urgent appeal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release al-Qiq.

It criticized the decision of the Israeli high court to refuse al-Qiq’s request to be transferred to a hospital in Ramallah, despite the fact that the court has ostensibly suspended his administrative detention order.

B’Tselem said the court’s decision “reflects a new low in the instrumentalist approach to human beings” and that al-Qiq is currently being held without lawful authority.

“Since al-Qiq’s liberty is currently being restricted by a non-existent authority, it is difficult to identify the body that bears direct responsibility for the continued deprivation of his liberty and endangerment of his life,” B’Tselem director Hagai Elad wrote to Netanyahu.

Elad added: “Does this responsibility rest with the military commander who issued the original detention order, which has for the meantime been ‘suspended’? Does it rest with the attorney general, who is responsible [for] the state’s proper legal conduct? Does it rest with the president of the supreme court, whose colleagues have concocted a new legal myth – a person who is not free, yet is not detained?”

Fayha Shalash, the wife of gravely ill hunger-striking Palestinian journalist Muhammed al-Qiq, sits with her son at her home in the West Bank village of Dura on 20 January. Al Qiq, seen in the poster, started a hunger strike against his arbitrary detention by Israel in November.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

Earlier this week, Amnesty International called on Israel to “urgently facilitate [al-Qiq’s] transfer to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah.”

Protests by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and present-day Israel have continued in support of al-Qiq.

Al-Qiq’s wife, Fayha Shalash, made an appeal by video on Thursday urging people around the world to step up pressure on Israel to free him.




God Bless you Mohammad al-Qiq...I have fasted, I have prayed, I have been in solidarity with you and your family as with the countless voices not being heard. You are a precious one to endure such unfathomable injustice, pain, torture, deprivation, humiliation and imprisonment. May your lawyers read this and may they relay my message to you....please live for your family's sake. They need you and humanity needs you my brother. Palestine needs you and the world needs you. May God be with you now and forever. Amen Salam


Ali Abunima speaks 3 languages fluently - Arabic, English and French. Yet this guy knows no Ivrit. This is a problem. That's why his analysis is confused, his political views are distorted and his interpretations are mistaken. I realized this reading his book entitled "1 state solution - A bold proposal..."

How can you be an expert in a county if you can't speak the language?

Ali Abunimah's picture

תודה רבה על הטוק-בק שלך, תומר. אני קורא בתקשורת הישראלית כל יום כחלק מעבודתי כעיתונאי. אל תשכח למשל שכאשר איילת שקד קראה לרצח עם, זה היה בעברית. אז אני מסכים איתך שחשוב מאוד להבין את שפה הכובש.


but this Tomer has a logic of one accusing an African anti-aparteid journalist of being unable to understand the aparteid SA with only knowing a native language and English, but not Afrikaans.
I bet that Tomer is not so good in Arabic too, but it has not stopped him from being sure he understands what you are writing about Palestine.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.