Mohammed al-Qeeq, imprisoned Palestiian journalist now on his 84th day of hunger strike, will face another hearing in the Israeli Supreme Court today, Tuesday 16 February, on the issue of being transferred to receive treatment in a Palestinian hospital, specifically in Ramallah. This comes as a video has been widely circulated showing al-Qeeq’s severe pain and physical symptoms as a result of his prolonged hunger strike, demanding his release from administrative detention, Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial.
The Israeli Supreme Court proposed yesterday that al-Qeeq be transferred to Makassed hospital in Jerusalem, which al-Qeeq rejected and continued his hunger strike, as his treatment there would remain under military guard and control rather than an exercise of freedom. The hearing today will address al-Qeeq’s demand to choose his hospital for treatment. Makassed hospital management issued a statement saying they would refuse to receive al-Qeeq so long as he refuses transfer there, saying they would welcome him if he accepts transfer there, in accordance with his demand for freedom and without Israeli conditions. They expressed their support for al-Qeeq’s right to choose the place where he will be treated.
Palestinian lawyer Hanan al-Khatib said that al-Qeeq was screaming loudly and calling to hear his son’s voice. “Throughout his strike I did not see him in this situation. The situation is painful, sad and extremely dangerous,” said al-Khatib, who reported that doctors went to al-Qeeq’s room where he refused treatment. Al-Qeeq, 33, is held in HaEmek hospital in Afula. While his administrative detention was “suspended” by the Israeli supreme court, he cannot leave the hospital and the Israeli military denied his transfer to a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank. He has maintained his strike and says he will accept treatment only under conditions of freedom in a Palestinian hospital.
These developments came as Palestinian prisoners announced hunger strikes in solidarity with al-Qeeq. 17 leaders of the Hamas movement in Israeli prisons announced an open hunger strike demanding al-Qeeq’s freedom, which they began on Sunday, 14 February, including prisoners in Eshel, Nafha, Negev and Ramon prisons. The strikers are: Hassan Salameh, Mohammed al-Qadruh, Mustafa al-Astal, Ashraf Zughayyar, Omar Jaber, Raed Kana’an, Thamer Saba’aneh, Ala’a Shuraitah, Othman Bilal, Ma’ath Bilal, Jamal Abu al-Heija, Muammar Shahruri, Ishaq Arafa, Muayyad Hamad, Ma’ath Abu Taymeh, Malik Hamed, Awad al-Sa’ida.
Former long-term hunger striker Samer Issawi, who was released following his lengthy strike and then re-arrested in June 2014, also announced that he was beginning a hunger strike in solidarity with al-Qeeq.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network calls for EMERGENCY ACTION everywhere in the world to save Mohammed al-Qeeq and secure his freedom, in every city, on every campus, in every community. Events and actions have taken place in London, New York, Montreal, Berlin, Dublin, Brussels, Nicosia, Lebanon, and throughout Palestine. Now is the time for protests, sit-ins, flyering, tabling, and call-in actions to raise the voice and the profile of Mohammed al-Qeeq and create real popular pressure for his immediate release.
1. Contact government officials and demand that they break their silence on Al-Qeeq and support for Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. In the United States, call the Israel Foreign Service Desk
1-202-647-3672 and the White House – 202-456-1111. Demand action on al-Qeeq’s case and an end to aid to Israel. In the UK, call UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Philip Hammond, MP, +44 20 7008 1500. In Canada, call Foreign Minister Stephane Dion: 613-996-5789.
2. Protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy (or federal building, G4S office or public square) and demand freedom for Mohammed al-Qeeq. Raise the issue of this case publicly and distribute information – this flyer is available for you to distribute at protests in your community. Find your closest Israeli consulate: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israel. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org inform us of your action – we will publicize and share news with the prisoners.
3. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Palestinians have urged an international boycott of Israeli goods and institutions – and corporations that profit from occupation , like G4S, the world’s largest private security company, that sells security equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints and police training centers – directly profiting from the occupation that destroys Palestinian lives. At the same time G4S profits from occupation, institutions like the United Nations continue to do business with it. Go to addameer.org/UNdropG4S to take action!