Free Mohammed al-Qiq

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The Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq is close to death according to independent doctors who have visited him in the hospital where he is being kept by the Israeli authorities who are quite prepared to let him die.

Al-Qiq is from the West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron, where he worked as a TV reporter for the Saudi news channel ‘Almajd’. On November 21st 2015, his home in the city of Ramallah was raided by Israeli forces that arrested him and dragged him off for interrogation.

Since that date al-Qiq has been held under Israel’s notorious ‘administrative detention’ law which allowed the Zionist state to hold individuals indefinitely under the pretext of ‘security’ grounds, without any charges being brought and without the right to legal representation.

In fact al-Qiq’s crime was that as a journalist he was engaged in exposing the murderous crimes of the illegal Israeli occupation forces and their continuous campaign of terror against the Palestinian people.

This attempt to silence him was made clear by the Israelis from the start. Al-Qiq told his lawyers that during his interrogation he was accused of ‘media incitement’ and that if he didn’t confess to this charge he would be raped and his wife assaulted.

He was given two options to either confess to incitement or face up to seven years administrative detention. Al-Qiq heroically refused to confess and refused to accept unlawful, arbitrary detention and took the only road of defiance open to him by refusing all food and water since November 25.

As a result of his hunger strike, al-Qiq’s physical condition has deteriorated to such an extent that he has lost his hearing and speech. So grave is his condition that he had to be transferred to an intensive care unit at the Afula hospital and on February 4 Israeli judges ‘suspended’ his detention order meaning he no longer had to be chained to his bed.

But in a legal twist, the judges invented a new legal category for him that of ‘suspended detainee’ meaning he won’t be released or charged but left to die in hospital. Attempts by his family and supporters to have him taken by ambulance to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah where it is assumed he would agree to resume eating have failed.

Israeli security forces quickly filled up the hospital to prevent such a move. The Zionist state is going all out to make sure that Al-Qiq dies, in the vain hope that this will silence the voice of Palestinian resistance. The Israeli efforts to smash all opposition to its genocidal attacks on Palestinians has the faithful support of the Tory government, which next week will announce a law that would ban local councils, student unions and other public bodies form boycotting goods for political reasons.

This new law is aimed specifically at criminalising the boycott of goods produced by Israeli companies in the occupied West Bank. This is being made crystal clear by the fact that the formal announcement will be made by the Tory cabinet minister, Matt Hancock, when he visits Israel this week.

Hancock has already said that the boycott of Israeli goods and firms that have invested in companies operating in the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank was ‘undermining’ Britain’s national security. This demonstrates just how crucial is the issue of defending and propping up the state of Israel as an armed encampment of imperialism in the Middle East for British capitalism.

It underlines that the enemy of the Palestinian people is the same enemy of the working class at home. On the issue of boycotts, the demand must be for the trade union movement in Britain to immediately organise a complete boycott of all Israeli goods and services and for the immediate release of Mohammed Al-Qiq and all Palestinian prisoners.

Alongside this, the working class must support the Palestinian people by bringing down Israel’s Tory protectors, the enemy at home, and demanding the TUC call a general strike to kick them out and advance to a workers government and a socialism.