The Palestinian freedom struggle

IssueApril - May 2016
News by David Polden

On 26 February, the Israel authorities agreed to release Palestinian journalist Mohammad Al-Qiq on 21 May, a month early, in return for him agreeing to give up his hunger strike and not renew it. Al-Qiq, who works for a Saudi Arabian TV network, was arrested in November at his Ramallah home.

He was placed in administrative detention – without charge, evidence or trial – on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.

Some 700 Palestinians are currently in administrative detention in Israel.

After al-Qiq had gone 60 days on hunger strike, the International Committee of the Red Cross stated that his life was at risk and he was transferred to hospital where it was reported that he was too weak to move without a wheelchair.

On 17 March, an Israeli soldier and a settler forced their way into al-Qiq’s room in the al-Afula Hospital (while the guard was away from his post), and shouted ‘You must die. You deserve only death’, according to the Middle East Monitor.

Just before al-Qiq is released in May, an 11-minute film dramatising his imprisonment, called Al-Qeeq, will be screened at the Cannes film festival.

Bil’in 11

20 February marked 11 years of weekly protests by inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Bil’in against Israel’s building of its ‘separation wall’ taking away some 60 percent of the villagers’ farm land. The peaceful demonstration was met with stun grenades and tear gas. When some Palestinians then threw stones, the Israeli defence forces used rubber-coated steel bullets and more tear gas.

The weekly protests have been met by tear gas, rubber bullets, foul-smelling ‘skunk water’, arrests, injuries and a few deaths, but the protests have continued.

The protests led to an Israeli court order for the re-routing of the wall, which has been partially carried out.

Following on from this example, other Palestinian villages have organised similar such protests.

Third term for CO

On 29 February, Tair Kamner was sentenced to 30 days detention for refusing to do her military service in the Israeli defence force.

She had already refused on two previous occasions and had served 45 days in detention as a result. Tair refused on the grounds of Israel’s perpetual occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. On all three occasions, Tair was not permitted a lawyer or to give her reasons for refusal.

There is no limit to the number of times Tair may be called up to do her military service and be sentenced if she refuses.