Palestinian journalist ends hunger strike

Under deal with Israel, Mohammed al-Qeeq, who was held without a trial or charge, will remain in custody till May 21.

A Palestinian activist and journalist has ended his three-month hunger strike and will be released in three months.

The family of Mohammed al-Qeeq, who worked for a Saudi media outlet, announced on Friday that he was ending his fast.

Fayha Shalash, Qeeq’s wife, described the announcement as “a very big victory for us and for him”.

PROFILE: Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq

Under a deal with Israel, he will remain in custody until May 21, but his so-called administrative detention will not be renewed after that.

Qeeq, 33, went without food after he was detained by Israeli forces and held without a trial or charge.

Held without charges

Qeeq launched his fast on November in protest against being held without charges. He was accused by Israel of being involved in activities with Hamas, the Palestinian group.

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Reporting from West Jerusalem, Al Jazeera correspondent Imtiyaz Tyab said Qeeq will stay in the northern Israel hospital he is currently being treated in.

“We have been told that he will only be treated by Palestinian-Israeli doctors,” he said.

“We’ve also been told that his family, who live in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, will be allowed to be with him for the duration of his treatment and the rest of his detention.”

Qeeq was held on “administrative detention”, a practice defended by Israel as necessary to stop violent attacks.

Our correspondent said hundreds of Palestinians are currently in administrative detention and “hunger-striking is a very powerful tool at their disposal. It would appear for at least al-Qeeq, it has secured his release.”

‘Bodily integrity’

In June 2014, the Israeli Knesset passed legislation permitting the use of force-feeding against hunger strikers.

Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights groups subsequently condemned the bill, as did the UN and the Israeli Medical Association.

Laith Abu Zeyad, an international advocacy officer for Addameer Prisoner Support Network, says the practice violates prisoners’ “bodily integrity and their basic human dignity”.

Since an escalation in protests against Israel’s ongoing occupation in October, the number of Palestinians arrested or detained by Israeli forces has soared, Abu Zeyad told Al Jazeera in January.

Qeeq’s hunger strike was longer than fasts by other Palestinians or by prisoners in Northern Ireland in 1981, according to advocacy groups.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies