Skip to main content

Cancer-stricken Palestinian detainee dies in Israeli custody

Nasser Abu Hamid, jailed by Israel since 2002, died on Tuesday morning following a battle with cancer. Palestinian rights groups accuse Israel of negligence.
Palestinians take part in a demonstration demanding the release of Nasser Abu Hamid, a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel who has cancer, Ramallah, West Bank, Sept. 21, 2022.

Palestinian officials announced early Tuesday morning the death of Palestinian detainee Nasser Abu Hamid. He had been charged with a life sentence and held in an Israeli prison since 2002.

Abu Hamid, 50 years old, gathered wide online support with #SaveNasser trending on Twitter since September. He was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2021. The Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission and several Palestinian rights groups are holding Israel responsible for Abu Hamid’s death and accusing it of medical negligence. The Israel Prison Service rejects the accusation insisting that Abu Hamid received proper care.

In response to his death and the treatment of Palestinian prisoners, the Fatah movement in the West Bank, the Palestinian Bar Association and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers have called on Tuesday for a general strike across the territories. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement mourning Abu Hamid.

Why it matters: The death adds to the tension in Israeli prisons and within the West Bank. Following Abu Hamid’s death, the Prisoners Information Office confirmed that several detainees started a three-day hunger strike. The Israel Prison Service is currently on high alert, expecting the situation to escalate.

The situation of Palestinian detainees has always been a heated topic between all sides. Hamas and Israel were recently in a new round of talks to secure a prisoner exchange, a practice that has become common. Although there is no official channel of communication between the two sides, the United Nations and Egypt usually serve as mediators.

Know more: Abu Hamid is the founder of the Fatah-linked Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and was convicted in 2002 of killing seven Israelis and five Palestinian collaborators. He was “sentenced to life seven times and 50 years.” On Monday, he was transferred to Shamir Medical Center as his health condition deteriorated.

Abbas called for proper medical care from a human rights perspective during his speech at the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in September.

According to various media reports, there are more than 4,600 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, of which 780 are held without charge or trial.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Palestine Briefing Palestine Briefing

Palestine Briefing

Top Palestine stories in your inbox each week

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial