Palestinian inmate dies; Israel blamed

2013-04-02 14:04
Palestinians block a main West Bank road during a demonstration calling for the release of prisoners jailed in Israel near Bethlehem. (File, AP)

Palestinians block a main West Bank road during a demonstration calling for the release of prisoners jailed in Israel near Bethlehem. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ramallah - The Palestinian leadership on Tuesday blamed Israel for the death of a long-term prisoner with cancer, hiking tensions over a tinderbox issue closely followed on Palestinian streets.

The death on Tuesday morning of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, a 64-year-old prisoner from Hebron who had been suffering from throat cancer, sparked a welter of anger over Israel's refusal to release him early on compassionate grounds.

"The death of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh shows the Israeli government's arrogance and intransigence over the prisoners," Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas told reporters at the start of a meeting of his Fatah movement in Ramallah.

"We tried to get him released for treatment but the Israeli government refused to let him out, which led to his death," Abbas said, with his spokesperson laying the blame squarely on the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The Palestinian presidency holds the Netanyahu government responsible for the martyrdom of prisoner Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh," Nabil Abu Rudeina said.

Abu Hamdiyeh, who had served more than a decade of a life sentence for his involvement in an attempted attack targeting Israelis in 2002, died at Soroka hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva, sources on both sides said.

Hunger strikes

The issue of Palestinians serving time in Israeli prisons is a deeply sensitive one and it frequently sparks mass demonstrations across the occupied territories which tend to develop into violent clashes with the military.

One of the main points of concern is prisoners on long-term hunger strike who are held without charge, or the conditions of their arrest.

Abu Hamdiyeh's sparked condemnation and angry protests in prisons across Israel as well as clashes with the Israeli army in Hebron.

Israel Prisons Service confirmed he had died of cancer on Tuesday morning, saying disturbances had broken out in four prisons as the news spread - in Ketziot, Eshel, Ramon and Nafha.

In Hebron, around 300 angry demonstrators threw stones at troops near the entrance to the Old City, with soldiers firing tear gas and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent said.

"Prisoner Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh died today," said Qadura Fares, head of the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club, blaming Israel for its "refusal to release him for treatment".

Months of complaining

Prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraaqa said it was a "vicious crime" which had come about due to Israel's "stalling over giving him the right to be treated following a late cancer diagnosis".

Gaza's Hamas rulers said it was following with the "greatest concern" the developments and warned that Israel would "regret its continuing crimes", spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said.

"The martyrdom of Abu Hamdiyeh reflects the state of grave danger the prisoners are suffering from in the occupation prisons."

Abu Hamdiyeh, a senior Fatah official from the preventative security services, began complaining of throat problems about nine months ago. Two months ago he was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.

Prisoners Club lawyer Jawad Boulos said that in the two months since his diagnosis, Abu Hamdiyeh had frequently lost consciousness and was unable to talk because the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes.

According to the Prisoners Club, 25 inmates serving time in Israeli jails are currently suffering from cancer. The Palestine Liberation Organisation has warned that more terminally ill prisoners could die.

Call for action

"We are still looking at a grave situation with the hunger-striking prisoners and dozens of cases of long-term illnesses in need of treatment," it said.

"The world should move quickly in light of the deterioration of their health."

Israel Prisons Service said Abu Hamdiyeh was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in February and was being treated by experts at Soroka.

"About a week ago, after being diagnosed as terminal, the ISP appealed to the release committee to secure his early release, a process which had been started but not yet concluded," a statement said.

It said he was serving life for his involvement as a recruiter and dispatcher in an attempted terror attack at Cafe Cafit in Jerusalem in 2002.

Read more on:    mahmoud abbas  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  palestine  |  middle east peace

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.