Palestinians strike in West Bank following death of freedom fighter Nasser Abu Hmeid in Israeli prison 

Hmeid was diagnosed with cancer in August 2021. Appeals for his release from prison so that he may access better treatment were denied by the Israeli courts and prison authorities

December 20, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Nasser Abu Hmeid dies in Israeli prison
Nasser Abu Hmeid. (Photo: Wafa)

Palestinian resistance movement Fatah called for a day-long strike and protests across the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, December 20, following the death of freedom fighter Nasser Abu Hmeid in an Israeli hospital early that morning, Wafa news agency reported.

Hmeid (50) was diagnosed with severe lung cancer in August last year. Palestinians prisoners’ groups have accused Israel of deliberate medical negligence by delaying medical examinations and failing to provide him adequate treatment. The Israeli government also refused to release him on medical grounds so that he may access better treatment. 

After Hmeid fell into a coma at the Ramle prison clinic, he was transferred to an Israeli hospital on Monday, where he was declared dead on Tuesday morning.     

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh issued a statement mourning Hmeid’s death. Asking for immediate international intervention, Shtayyeh claimed that “Abu Hmeid died as a result of the policy of deliberate medical negligence that Israeli occupation prisons administration uses against sick prisoners.” 

Hmeid was arrested from the Al-Amri refugee camp in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank during the second Palestinian Intifada in 2002. He was sentenced to seven life terms and 50 years in prison for participating in Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation.  

Hmeid’s family has also been a victim of Israeli oppression. His elder brother was shot dead by Israeli forces in 1994 and four of his brothers are inside Israeli prisons. His family’s house has also been demolished by Israeli forces several times. 

The Fatah movement called for large-scale demonstrations as part of a “day of rage” across the occupied territories and at Israeli checkpoints. There have been reports of thousands of Palestinian prisoners also observing a day of mourning from inside Israeli prisons.

A total of 233 Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli prisons since 1967, at least 74 of them from medical negligence, as per the Quds News Network. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), there are over 600 Palestinians inside Israeli jails suffering from serious illnesses, around 24 of whom have been diagnosed with cancer of various kinds. Israeli courts and prison authorities continue to neglect their health and keep them in harsh prison conditions, risking their lives.