Palestinians in Gaza rally to mourn Nasser Abu Hmeid death after 'cancer neglect', blaming international community for their silence
Thousands of Palestinians rallied in Gaza on Wednesday evening after the death of Palestinian leader Nasser Abu Hmeid in Israeli detention, following what his family said was months of medical neglect and denial of cancer treatment.
Protesters raised portraits of Abu Hmeid and Palestinian flags at a demonstration outside the International Committee of the Red Cross Gaza HQ, demanding the international community pressure Israel to release the detainee's body.
Senior officials of the Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, joined the demonstration calling out "the illegal Israeli medical negligence" against Palestinian detainees.
"Israel is holding all responsibility for the death of Abu Hmeid as its authorities insist on violating all human rights of our prisoners, mainly the sick ones, and leave them struggling the death without treating them at a suitable time," Ismail Rudwan, a senior Hamas official, told The New Arab.
Israeli occupying forces are withholding the body of Palestinian prisoner #NasserAbuHmeid who died of cancer in an Israeli prison as part of a decades-long policy of collective punishment, writes @QassaMMuaddi. https://t.co/lowi2kHgy1— Rania Muhareb رانية محارب (@Rania_Muhareb) December 21, 2022
Khalid Al-Batsh, a senior official at the PIJ, accused the international community of continuing "crimes" against detainees by remaining silent on all "Israeli violations against human rights in the Palestinian Territories".
On Tuesday, the Fatah movement announced that Abu Hmeid, who was co-founder of the group's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, had died in Israeli detention from cancer.
Israel allowed his family to finally see Abu Hmeid while he lay close to death in a coma at an Israeli hospital.
The prisoner's health had deteriorated since August 2021, when he began to suffer from pains in his chest.
It became clear that Abu Hmeid had lung cancer and a tumor was eventually removed from his chest before eventually returning.
Doctors said the detainee needed chemotherapy to treat the cancer, but this was denied until the disease had spread causing his death, according to Palestinian rights groups.
Hamas vows to release Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails soon https://t.co/VQWMlqTUKJ— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 18, 2022
At least 4,600 Palestinian prisoners are jailed in Israeli prisons, according to statistics issued by the Palestinian Prisoners Club, 500 out of whom are in administrative detention - held without charge or trial.
Mohammed Ayyad, 45, a Gaza-based protestor, told The New Arab: "There is no doubt that Israel is a criminal country that believes that it is above the law, but unfortunately, the Palestinian factions help it by keeping their internal division continues up to now."
"For more than 15 years, our issue has been retreating day by day, while Israel is still gaining political victories not only on our land but also in the Middle East region."
Israel has signed a number of normalisation deals with Arab states in recent years, including the UAE and Bahrain, despite its continued occupation of the West Bank and devastating siege on Gaza.
Protesters have blamed the political divisions and personal interests of the Palestinian leadership for the neglect of their cause and the death of Abu Hmeid.
Khitam Al-Hattab, another Gaza-based protester, expressed her sadness over the death of Abu Hmeid.
"I cannot imagine the psychological state of his mother, all the world bears the responsibility of our hero's death," she said.
"Israel, the United States of America, the Arab leaders, as well as all the Palestinian factions caused his death."