Mohammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist who spent 94-days on hunger strike last year to challenge his administrative detention—Israel’s policy of imprisoning Palestinians without charge or trial—announced Monday a second hunger strike, this time against his re-arrest.
Al-Qiq ended his last hunger strike in May after Israel’s High Court intervened in his detention and came to an agreement for his release.
He was detained again on January 16, 2017 on his way home from attending a demonstration in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, where he was protesting Israel’s continued withholding of the bodies of several Palestinians who had been shot dead by Israeli forces since a wave of unrest sparked in October 2015.
The announcement follows an Israeli military court ruling, which extended his most recent internment without trial by six more months.
Right after the trial, Al-Qiq’s wife, Fayha Shalash, told Mondoweiss that the proceedings, which were held in Ofer Military Court, were illegitimate.
“He announced his hunger strike in court after his detention was renewed. Today is his first day of hunger strike,” she said. “He refuses the legitimacy of this kind of arrest — he was already arrested for 22 days, where they kept up their investigations and questions and they found nothing.”
In addition to questioning al-Qiq during his detainment, Israeli forces also raided his family home in Hebron, as well as the couple’s apartment in Ramallah on January 25, 2017 where Shalash was stripped searched.
“Since they couldn’t find anything in their questioning or searches to levy against him, they chose to put him under administrative detention, that way they can keep him as long as they want and they don’t need charges.”
Shalash said the news of a second hunger strike was sad for her family, but they are determined to support al-Qiq, just as they had done during the 94-day strike that nearly killed the imprisoned journalist.
“We are not ready for another hunger strike, but hopefully it will end well for him and we will do our best to be supportive of him and continue to hope for the best,” she said.
Shalash added that she believed the arrest in January was “arbitrary.”
“This whole thing is just a way to put Mohammed back in jail, they have no proof of anything against him, they just want to keep him away from everything,” she said. “Just one day ago people were still giving their blessing for my husband’s health from his last hunger strike — it hasn’t been that long between the time he was released from his last hunger strike and when he was arrested in January — but it’s okay, we as a family will continue to support him.”
At least 700 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention without charge or trial by Israeli forces, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer. Administrative detention orders are generally six-month sentences that can be renewed indefinitely. Palestinians have long used hunger strikes as a means to protest the internment without trial policy.