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Israel’s crime against cancer-stricken Palestinian prisoner will not go unpunished: Hamas chief

Palestinians demand release of Nasser Abu Hamid during a rally in the occupied West Bank. (File photo via the Palestinian Information Center )

The head of the political bureau of Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has denounced as “a crime against humanity” the death of a cancer-stricken Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails, saying the regime’s crime would not go unpunished.

Ismail Haniyeh made the remarks in a statement on Tuesday, after Nasser Abu Hamid, who was suffering from a life-threatening condition in his lungs in Israeli detention, was pronounced dead by the Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs earlier in the day, the Palestinian Information Center reported. 

The Hamas chief further expressed his sincere condolences over Abu Hamid’s death to his mother and detained brothers, reiterating the movement’s commitment to liberating all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and every inch of Palestine.

Abu Hamid was declared dead on Tuesday morning at the Israeli Shamir Medical Center, formerly known as Assaf Harofeh Medical Center and located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) southeast of Tel Aviv.

He was transferred from the Ramla Prison Hospital to the medical center on Monday afternoon after his health condition severely deteriorated and fell into a deep coma.

Abu Hamid was diagnosed with cancer in August 2021.

The 50-year-old Palestinian prisoner was wrestling with death as the Israeli prison service (IPS) continued to deny him necessary medical care.

He had been incarcerated since 2002 and was sentenced to life imprisonment after an Israeli court found him guilty of participating in attacks during the Second Palestinian Intifada (uprising).

Last September, Israeli doctors issued a medical report recommending Abu Hamid’s release, saying his lung cancer had reached an irreversible stage.

The prisoner had not received any dose of chemotherapy for several months because of extreme lethargy leading to an inability to respond to cancer drugs.

His family had appealed to all concerned international bodies to take urgent and effective action to save the life of their son.

Abu Hamid’s case to be presented to ICC

Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad al-Maliki held the Israeli regime fully responsible for the death of Abu Hamid, saying his case will be represented to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Maliki also accused the international community of failing to address Abu Hamid's issue, saying he was not only a victim of the occupying regime’s oppression, but also a victim of world’s double standards.

He further called on the United Nations to put pressure on Israel to hand over the body of the Palestinian prisoner to his family, so that they can hold a funeral ceremony as soon as possible.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyehalso blamed Israel for Abu Hamid's death, accused Tel Aviv of “deliberate medical negligence."

Palestinians call for strike

Separately on Tuesday, Palestinian factions called for a general strike in the occupied West Bank, urging Palestinians to confront Israeli troops following Abu Hamid’s death.

Hamas called for “a real escalation in the occupation prisons” in response to his death.

Fatah called for strikes in cities across the West Bank "in response to the crimes committed against Palestinian prisoners."

The Palestinian “movement also called for a day of rage at contact points with the Israeli military,” Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.

This is while the IPS claims Abu Hamid had received “close and regular treatment by the prison’s medical staff and outside personnel” since his diagnosis.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli jails. Human rights organizations say Israel violates all the rights and freedoms granted to prisoners by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions without proper hygienic standards. Palestinian inmates have also been subject to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

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