Under immense pressure from human rights groups and Walid Daqqa’s family, Israeli prison authorities—after weeks of delays—finally transferred the ailing Palestinian prisoner to the Assaf Harofeh hospital near Tel Aviv on Monday, May 22, Palestinian Shebab News Agency reported.
Daqqa (61) was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer last year and suffered a blood clot-induced stroke this year in February. Despite his deteriorating health condition, Israeli occupation authorities were refusing to release him on medical grounds or even transfer him to a proper hospital.
Palestinian Authority (PA) and other human rights groups had been demanding Daqqa’s immediate release given his deteriorating health condition and need for intensive medical care.
The 60-year-old Prisoner Walid Daqqa is battling death.
Daqqa requires extensive medical attention, as he suffers from Bone Marrow Cancer yet Israeli occupation refuses to release him.#Free_Walid_Daqqah@Iftrade97 pic.twitter.com/UR2aNCJ51Y
— Mission of the State of Palestine in Ireland (@IrePalestine) May 22, 2023
Daqqa was detained in 1986 from the Palestinian city of Baqa al-Gharbiya. He was later sentenced to life for resisting the occupation. Several years ago, the Israeli government added two more years to his sentence which was originally supposed to end in 2023.
Daqqa has already spent more than 37 years in prison and is one of the 23 Palestinian prisoners detained by the occupation prior to the 1995 Oslo Accords.
In March, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) had submitted an urgent appeal to the UN special procedures for Daqqa’s immediate release, claiming that his continued incarceration threatens his life and violates the basic human rights of life, health, and dignity.
Walid Daqqa, a 61-year-old Palestinian writer, ac tivist, intellectual, and political prisoner, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow cancer in 2022. Walid has been in dire need of urgent medical attention since then.#Free_Walid_Daqqah pic.twitter.com/vLI7Ar0agG
— Addameer –الضمير (@Addameer) May 23, 2023
Last week, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners observed a day-long hunger strike in solidarity with the demand for Daqqa’s release from prison.
Last week, #Palestinian prisoners carried out a one-day hunger strike to demand the release of the cancer-stricken prisoner amid the continued deterioration of his health condition.#Palestine#FreeThemAll https://t.co/rjq7H3236i
— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 22, 2023
On Tuesday, Palestinians in Gaza held a vigil demanding his release.
Palestinians held a vigil in Gaza City in support of the Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa who is battling the risk of death inside the Israeli occupation prisons.
Photograph: Atya Darweesh#FreeThemAll pic.twitter.com/g6uRuNYCZL
— Al-Jarmaq News (@Aljarmaqnetnews) May 23, 2023
Israel has routinely been accused of deliberate medical negligence when it comes to Palestinian prisoners’ health. It often delays treatment and ignores appeals by terminally ill prisoners. Some Palestinian prisoners have recently died due to medical negligence inside Israeli prisons. Earlier this month, Khader Adnan died in prison after 87 days of hunger strike. Despite knowing his dire health condition, Israeli authorities refused to release him from prison. He had been on hunger strike to protest his illegal detention by the occupation authorities.
In a report, Al-Mayadeen quoted the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-prisoners Ministry as claiming that extremist Israeli politician and incumbent Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir had refused to transfer Daqqa to a hospital, and rather wished that his “life must end behind bars.”
The Ministry also alleged that Israel’s “fascist government” is leading an “unprecedented brutal campaign against Palestinian prisoners.” The Israeli government is practically executing Palestinian prisoners “through systematic policies and practical measures aimed at getting the prisoners sick and then letting them die slowly,” it accused.
There are around 4,900 Palestinians currently incarcerated in Israeli prisons, a large number of them administrative detainees.