Defeating Israel

By Jamal Kanj

Last week Palestinian journalist Mohammed Al Qiq ended a record 94-day hunger strike protesting the so-called administrative detention in Israeli jail.

Administrative detention is a misnomer procedure used to hold Palestinian activists in military confinement without charges or due-process. The six-month administrative order can be extended indefinitely without informing the detainee of the charges or affording them or their counsel the right to examine the evidence against them.

It is just one Israeli oppressive occupation instrument that drives the civil movement underground and transforms it to violent resistance. Under international law, administrative detention could be permissible under exceptional circumstances. It comes, however, with rigid restrictions on its application. In the case of Israel, the exception is the norm.

The latest political prisoner Al Qiq was on the verge of death when Israel finally agreed not to extend his detention beyond the current six months order.

According to the Israeli organisation Physicians for Human Rights, Al Qiq’s hunger strike lasted longer than the 1981 hunger strikes by members of the Irish Republican Army who were held by Britain in Northern Ireland. Al Qiq’s lawyer Jawad Boulus’ earlier appeal to Israel’s supreme court to release his client was rejected.

The court ruled that the military judge’s order to detain him was legal. According to Boulus, the supreme court was “briefed on classified material” that he was neither allowed to review nor challenge.

About eight years ago, Al Qiq served 16 months in Israeli jails for political activities on the elected student council at Birzeit University. At the time of his detention, the 33-year-old father of two worked as a TV correspondent for Saudi’s Almajd television.

Al Qiq was arrested during an Israeli military raid in the middle of the night at his home in the city of Ramallah. The city, according to agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is located in Area A, ostensibly under the PA’s full civil and security control.

On November 25, 2015, four days following his arrest, Al Qiq started a hunger strike to protest ill-treatment and his detention without due process. Henceforward, a battle of will ensued between the captive and his jailers. In early January, he was strapped to his bed for four days and was forcibly fed intravenously. On February 1, Al Qiq’s wife, Fayha Shalash told reporters that her husband had requested not to receive any medical treatment, even if he loses consciousness. “His decision is very clear: either free or dead, not in between.”

Israeli jailers continued to monitor his deteriorating health hoping the “self-torture” pain would eventually force him to end his strike. Driven by pure devilish schadenfreude, Israeli authorities watched him on closed circuit TV screaming in agony as his internal organs started to fail. Gravely ill but not total collapse, the Israeli supreme court rejected Al Qiq’s petition on February 16 to transfer him to a Palestinian hospital. The court sided with the military’s secret evidence that he would represent a threat if he was released from Israeli custody.

In the last week of February, Al Qiq lost the ability to speak and was at risk of death. Realising he would never surrender, his jailers ultimately agreed not to extend his six-month administrative detention order. Unfortunately, it took Al Qiq 94 days of extreme agony to show the world that Israel had no imperative cause to detain him in the first place.

While there were very few instances when Israeli Jews were held in administrative detention, the law was applied disproportionally to Palestinian activists.  Israel compares only to apartheid South Africa who used administrative detention widely in an effort to crush the opposition to apartheid.

Israel has failed to break the will of another prisoner. And like apartheid South Africa, it will not succeed in subjugating the will of a people longing for justice and freedom from an imported ethnocentric occupation.

– Jamal Kanj ( writes regular newspaper column and publishes on several websites on Arab world issues. He is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. He contributed this article to (A version of this article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.) 


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  • Yoch Man

    The British empire was second only to Rome in its expansion and cruelty. “Palestine” and Israel are to seperate places under three different sets of governments. In Israel, 25% of the population is not Jewish, in fact, that 25% is mostly Arab (as is all of “Palestine”) and they are represented by Arabs in the Israeli government. Show me a single Jew, White, Christian, Asian in either of the two “Palestinian” governments. Factually Apartheid can only be applied to Palestine in the local area. The man is an enemy combatant and we know that England/Britian/UK is hypocritical to point their finger at others based on their long past. This article is pure Jewish hatred.

    • There is nothing here of “Jewish hatred.” That is purely ridiculous. Why was this man held when ultimately it turned out there was nothing to hold him for except for watching him die?

      I know that you are not a serious person or you would be well aware that Israel currently has more than 754,000 illegal squatters over in Palestine. In addition, they have their brutal occupation army in Palestine “protecting” these illegal squatters in furtherance of this crime against humanity.

      There is no doubt of this fact, simply read Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention paragraph 6. It is highly illegal for an occupier country to transfer its citizens into occupied territory. When it has been done more than three-quarters of a million times with violence, it is a crime against humanity of huge proportions.

      The Palestinians live under a different set of laws as outlined by many groups over the years not the least of which is B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights Israel (ACRI).

      You need to stop spreading this falsehood that Jews are stupid. American Jews do not support Israeli Apartheid. Most are simply appalled and nearly paralyzed that it has gotten this far. When you make the pronouncement that Apartheid does not fit for you I have to say it certainly fit for Yitzhak Rabin when in 1976 he said that the illegal “settlers” and “settlements” were a “cancer” and that Israel was headed to Apartheid, it was prescient no?

      Over the years I have come across lots of people like you who have the temerity to deny the reality that we can all see for ourselves, and you somehow think you are righteously defending Israel or “the Jews”.

      You do not speak for any Jew that I know because none of them, including those in my own family, support Israeli Apartheid. It is clearly Apartheid as this has dragged on for well more than a half a century and yet the illegal colonies keep on growing, the Palestinians keep on dying, and yet they persist in pursuit of their rights.

      Because right is right. The Palestinians were promised self-determination two years before Balfour. Article 22 paragraphs 1 and 4 of the League of Nations Mandate guarantees this right for (Class-A mandate state) Palestine and they were incorporated into the Palestine Mandate along with the principle of the policy statement by Alfred Balfour in 1917 for a Jewish national home in Palestine.

      We know that in 1922, two months before the Palestine Mandate was formalized none other than Winston Churchill wrote that not all of Palestine was destined for a Jewish national home, but such a home would be founded in Palestine.

      Israel accepted this in UNGA 181 and this is what President Truman recognized.

      The problem is that you and a few very loud right wing wingnuts have managed to change the narrative of facts for a while and have managed to create an Apartheid state by taking by force territory outside of Israel which has destroyed the Jewish national home. Israel was created in Palestine, not the other way around, it will never ever be the other way around under the rule of law.

      No more the pleasant myths about the beacon of light, the shining city on the hill, a light unto nations etc – nope, just gritty day to day Apartheid in the Israeli ‘hood.

      Except for people like you, there could be peace tomorrow (Arab Peace Initiative 2002). A perfect first step and proof that Israel was serious about peace would be the removal of the more than 754,000 illegal squatters out of Palestine and to take the brutal and demoralized occupation army with them.

      Then the world could see that Israel was serious about peace. But that is not what is happening and unless the world passes a UN Chapter Seven Security Council resolution to eject Israel out of Palestine, we will see no solution based upon the rule of law anytime soon.

      But make no mistake, the lid is blown off the Hasbara cover that has kept Israeli Apartheid from view for so long. Each and every day now there are articles in the traditional press talking about this or that official who is prevented from even going into Palestine, by Israel, and yet you can still sit there and claim, “nope, no Apartheid here.”

      It is brutal illegal occupation decade after decade that has bred so much terror that has spread so far and wide, this genie is not going back into the bottle no matter how much you try and deny it.

      The illegal colonists have been able to vote in Israeli elections since 1973 even though they do not live in Israel, they are illegally in Palestine, they are criminals in the eyes of international law that is well settled. It is Article 2 of the UN Charter. This is not ever going to be changed for Israel and Israel alone where it is allowed to use American supplied weapons and munitions to kill children in Palestine to take a few more acres of land and some more water (and now gas, and oil from the Golan Heights which belongs to Syria).

      What I suggest is that you learn to defend Israel based on the rule of law and the merits. Not the lying well-worn Hasbara that has failed the state so badly. There is a way out to peace through truth and reconciliation. But your way, to denigrate human beings and seek to portray this as somehow at the feet of all the world’s Jews is a horrible blood libel.

      People of conscience respect the rule of law and in this century and the last, human rights.

      It is the height of folly to expect that ethical Judaism could survive or thrive if you got your way and were able to convince the world that there is some sort of vast Jewish conspiracy to support war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Palestine.

      Thank goodness people like Gideon Levy, and Max Blumenthal, and Amira Haas, and Phil Weiss, and Tom Segev, and Ilan Pappe, and Norman Finkelstein and even Benny Morris are out there and can articulate the message of peace based upon the rule of law, and not the insane ‘live by the sword’ way of life that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud, and apparently you, espouse as Israel’s foreseeable future.

      And let me tell you this, it is you who is the anti-Semite here. How dare you try to portray Jews as people who would defend torture and detention without charge for anyone let alone a Palestinian? How dare you try and convince the world that Jews as a people seek out to ignore the rule of law and human rights in pursuit of ill-gotten territory?

      How dare you try and pretend that American Jews support crazed wedding goers who dance around with automatic weapons and stab a photo of a baby?

      People like you must be shouted down by all people with a conscience.