Israel postpones parole session for cancer-stricken Palestinian prisoner
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said on Tuesday that Walid Daqqa is a ‘scumbag’ whose life ‘must end in prison’
By News Desk - May 24 2023

(Photo credit: Al-Jazeera)

An Israeli court postponed on 24 May the session for a parole committee to review the possibility of releasing cancer-stricken Palestinian prisoner and activist Walid Daqqa, despite the rapid deterioration of his health, and calls for his immediate release by his family and various rights groups.

“Despite his extremely difficult health condition … the court session to review the conditional early release for the purpose of treatment has been postponed to May 31,” his family said in a statement on 24 May.

A day earlier, his family said that their only demand is his “immediate release … so that he can receive treatment without restrictions.”

Daqqa suffers from advanced bone marrow cancer and was transferred two days earlier to the intensive care unit of Assaf Harofeh Hospital, south of Tel Aviv, as a result of his deteriorating condition.

“Walid Daqqa may lose his life at any moment. His health is in grave danger. He cannot walk or cannot talk properly. He also cannot breathe normally – he is on a respirator,” Ihtiram Ghazawneh of the Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer said.

“He completed his 37-year sentence. He is not someone who is on a security file anymore. He must be able to continue treatment outside of prison, among his family because even if he is released, it is not clear how long he will live,” Gazawneh went on to say, adding that his family has been meeting with diplomats “to pressure their governments for his release.”

Just last night, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir – who is in charge of Israel’s prison system – said via Twitter that “Daqqa is a scumbag, and his life must end in prison.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) referred to this “inflammatory statement” as “an official license to kill” Daqqa through intentional negligence.

Daqqa, 61 years old, has been imprisoned by Israel since 1986 for involvement in the killing of an Israeli soldier. He is allegedly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

His 37-year sentence was completed in March this year. However, Israel extended his sentence by two years in 2017 for sneaking mobile phones into the prison.

Israel is known for its systematic policy of depriving Palestinian prisoners of their rights, particularly those convicted for resistance operations or attacks against Israelis. Those prisoners who suffer illnesses are not spared from this policy.

This policy became even more brutal after Ben Gvir assumed control over the prison system.

In December last year, cancer-stricken Palestinian resistance fighter Nasser Abu Hmaid – a co-founder of the West Bank-based Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade resistance group – died in prison as a result of Israeli negligence.

Hunger-striker Khader Adnan, who died in prison in early May, shared a similar fate.

According to various reports, around 700 sick Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel, including 24 cancer patients.

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