[Pnews] Toward a New Year of Freedom: Palestinian political prisoners’ struggles in 2015 and beyond

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 31 22:11:44 EST 2015


  Toward a New Year of Freedom: Palestinian political prisoners’
  struggles in 2015 and beyond


As we exit 2015 and enter 2016, nearly 7,000 Palestinians are held in 
Israeli jails 
Statistics released yesterday show that nearly 7,000 Palestinians were 
arrested in 2015 alone; 2,179 of those were children, and 225 are women. 
One million Palestinians 
have been imprisoned since 1948 by the Israeli occupation – a part of 
Palestinian life under occupation and colonization that touches nearly 
every Palestinian family with the imprisonment of a son, daughter, 
mother, father, aunt, uncle or cousin.

Despite the massive levels of imprisonment already maintained by Israeli 
colonialism, in the past three months, alongside the new rising intifada 
led by Palestinian youth, imprisonment has skyrocketed. Mass arrests and 
violent arrest and assassination raids 
are a nightly event in towns, villages and refugee camps.

In the past three months alone, 350 administrative detention orders for 
imprisonment without charge or trial have been issued, and there are 
approximately 660 Palestinians currently held arbitrarily without trial 
on no charges at all – including children and Palestinians from occupied 
Jerusalem and Palestine ’48 (who hold Israeli citizenship).

Palestinian prisoners uniformly suffer from physical and psychological 
abuse at the hands of Israeli soldiers, captors and interrogators – an 
experience even more traumatic to the numerous Palestinian children 
arrested. Arrests of children rose 72% over last year in 2015, 
traumatizing children through night raids, severe physical injuries, 
physical abuse, threats of harm to themselves and their families and 
abusive interrogations.

Palestinian women’s heavy involvement in the ongoing Palestinian 
liberation movement – and in the current rising intifada – has been 
reflected in the wave of arrests against Palestinian women, including 
the opening of a new prison section for the growing numbers of 
Palestinian women political prisoners. Read more about the cases of 
Palestinian women prisoners. 

Amid the upsurge by Palestinian youth, the burgeoning intifada, and the 
war machine built up against the Palestinian people by the Israeli state 
– with the full support, military, economic and political – of the 
United States, it remains critically important to highlight the voices 
of Palestinian prisoners and struggle for their freedom.

*Let 2016 be a year of true liberation, the tearing down of the prison 
walls for Palestinian prisoners and the entire Palestinian people.*

Some of the key events of 2015 – and ongoing struggles of the 
Palestinian prisoners’ movement:

    *1. Omar Nayef Zayed facing extradition from Bulgaria* –

Former Palestinian prisoner Omar Nayef Zayed 
has been living in Bulgaria for 22 years – after he escaped Israeli 
detention in 1990. Now, 25 years later, he is being pursued for further 
torture and imprisonment by the Israeli state, threatened with being 
ripped away from his wife and children. He has taken sanctuary in the 
Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria. Omar’s situation is urgent and ongoing: 
please take action by calling on the Bulgarian government 
to reject the extradition request, and by calling on the Palestinian 
embassy to uphold Omar’s sanctuary 
Read more.. <http://samidoun.net/justice4omar>

    2. Rasmea Odeh continues to struggle for freedom against U.S.
    oppression –

Omar Nayef Zayed is not the only former prisoner facing ongoing 
targeting and persecution. Rasmea Odeh <http://justice4rasmea.org>, 
Palestinian community leader in Chicago, torture survivor and former 
Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails, has faced prosecution and is 
threatened with prison and deportation in the United States – because of 
her experience in Israeli prison. She has been convicted on immigration 
and her case is currently under appeal 
her case has received wide support from Black leaders and activists, 
feminists and progressive lawyers. Read more here in the latest update 
from the Rasmea Defense Committee. 

    3. Palestinian political leaders under attack: the cases of Khalida
    Jarrar and Ahmad Sa’adat –

Palestinian political leaders have always been subject to imprisonment, 
repression and assassination – from the assassination of leaders like 
Ghassan Kanafani, Ahmad Yassin and Abu Jihad to the imprisonment over 
the past ten years of dozens of members of the Palestinian Legislative 
Council. Khalida Jarrar <http://samidoun.net/khalidajarrar>, prominent 
Palestinian leftist parliamentarian, feminist, and prisoners’ rights 
advocate, was arrested in an early-morning raid on her home on 2 April 
The arrest came after she successfully resisted an Israeli military 
order in 2014 <http://samidoun.net/2014/09/victory-for-khalida-jarrar/> 
exiling her to Jericho from her home in Ramallah. Firstordered to 
administrative detention 
after an international outcry, Jarrar was charged with public political 
activity in support of Palestinian prisoners. She was sentenced to 15 
months in prison 
and continues to struggle. The imprisonment of Jarrar as well as 
political leaders like Marwan Barghouthi 
Hassan Yousef 
and Ahmad Sa’adat <http://freeahmadsaadat.org> highlights the leading 
role of Palestinian prisoners in the Palestinian liberation movement 
itself. Imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine Sa’adat confronted Israeli attacks behind bars 
in 2015, while issuing calls to the international boycott and solidarity 
and calling for a revolutionary Palestinian future 

    4. Battles of Breaking the Chains: The Struggle to End
    Administrative Detention –

The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has long demanded an end to the 
practice of administrative detention, brought to Palestine under the 
British colonial mandate and continuing today under Israeli 
settler-colonialism, imprisoning hundreds of Palestinians each year 
without charge or trial. The hunger strike has long been a method of 
struggle used by Palestinian prisoners, going back decades. In 2012, 
Khader Adnan 
<http://samidoun.net/2012/04/photos-khader-adnan-returns-home/> was 
victorious in his first hunger strike in Israeli jails – winning freedom 
from administrative detention. Adnan – who has spent about six years in 
Israeli prisons without charge or trial – was re-arrested and won his 
freedom again this year 
after a 56-day hunger strike that saw him liberated in July. The next 
month, a group of Palestinian political prisoners 
<http://samidoun.net/breakingthechains/>, led by Nidal Abu Aker 
Ghassan Zawahreh 
Shadi Ma’ali, Munir Abu Sharar and Badr al-Ruzza, launched the Battle of 
Breaking the Chains, a 40-day hunger strike demanding an end to 
administrative detention. Abu Aker and Zawahreh won their freedom in the 
past month – but Ma’ali’s administrative detention was reimposed despite 
an agreement ending the strike 
Palestinian prisoners continue to lead the battle against the practice, 
with their bodies on the front lines – journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq 
<http://alray.ps/en/index.php?act=post&id=6876#.VoWnrBUrKhc> is 
currently striking for 36 days against his detention.

    5. Hungry for Freedom: the strike of Muhammad Allan –

Palestinian lawyer Muhammad Allan 
launched his hunger strike after an administrative detention order 
against him was renewed after 6 months of arbitrary imprisonment. He 
undertook a 60-day hunger strike that nearly took his life – he suffered 
brain damage 
and was repeatedly threatened with force-feeding 
at the hands of Israel’s new force-feeding law. He was transferred from 
hospital to hospital, as his captors sought to force doctors to 
force-feed him – a form of torture 
His detention was lifted as he remain hospitalized due to his serious 
medical condition – yet as soon as he was released from hospital, he was 
re-arrested and his detention without charge re-imposed 
He was released on 4 November 
victorious over his jailers.

    6. Stop G4S! Palestinian prisoners’ call is echoed by international
    movement –

In August 2015, Palestinian prisoners issued a call to boycott G4S 
the British-Danish security corporation subject to international 
campaigns against it for its human rights violations not only in 
Palestine – where it provides control rooms and security equipment for 
Israeli prisons and detention centers, checkpoints, police training 
centers, and the “Erez” Beit Hanoun crossing to Gaza – but in the United 
States, United Kingdom, Canada 
South Africa, Australia and more. Despite G4S’ horrendous human rights 
record <https://corporatewatch.org/company-profiles/g4s>, the United 
Nations contracts millions of dollars 
in business annually to G4S. Hundreds of organizations are working to 
demand an end to the UN’s deals with G4S – while in a victory for Black 
students, the University of California will divest from G4S 
as a private prison corporation, and the British Labour Party has dumped 
as a security provider. The photo at right is one of Inminds’ regular 
London protests <http://www.inminds.com/caged> against G4S – while 
Samidoun protests weekly in New York. The G4S campaign only promises to 
escalate in 2016 

    7. Silencing Palestine’s Voices: Attacks on Social Media,
    Palestinian Journalists, and Advocacy Organizations –

In 2015, over 120 Palestinians 
<https://www.maannews.net/Content.aspx?id=818526>, mostly youth, were 
arrested and charged with “incitement” for their posts on social media, 
especially facebook. In an attempt to squelch the growing upsurge of 
Palestinian youth rising up to overthrow the colonial occupation that 
has defined their lives and existence, the Israeli state has targeted 
social media expression for surveillance 
– and violent arrest and repression. Palestinian journalists like 
Mohammed al-Qeeq <http://www.imemc.org/article/74252>, now on hunger 
strike, Nidal Abu Aker 
and 85 more journalists 
were arrested in 2015 – while 2 were killed and 190 wounded by Israeli 
occupation forces. There are currently 20 jailed Palestinian 
journalists. And Palestinian advocates defending prisoners rights – like 
Ahrar Center 
Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for 
Studies, and Addameer <http://addameer.org> – continue to come in for 
attacks, raids, and the arrest of their staff.

    8. Students on the March – Lina Khattab and the attacks on
    Palestinian students –

90 Palestinian students just at one university 
– Bir Zeit – have been arrested in the past several months, including 
the head of the student union, Saif al-Islam Daghlas, and the student 
union’s secretary, Asmaa Qadah 
Students affiliated to all the major student political blocs in the 
union have been arrested, including 12 members of the Islamic bloc on 
one day in December. Israeli occupation forces have erected a military 
base on the campus of Palestine Technical University Kadoorie 
<http://www.imemc.org/article/74298> in Tulkarem – from which they have 
shot students with live ammunition. These attacks on students highlight 
the leading role of Palestinian students in the liberation movement and 
the current intifada, as did the arrest of Lina Khattab 
<http://samidoun.net/2015/02/call-to-action-free-lina-khattab/>, Bir 
Zeit student leader and accomplished folkloric dancer, a year ago. 
Khattab’s arrest drew international solidarity 
and she announced that she was planning to study law 
in order to struggle for Palestinian prisoners when she was released in 

    9. Stolen Childhoods – Ahmad Manasrah, Malaak al-Khatib, the Hares
    Boys and Palestinian Child Prisoners –

The arrests of Palestinian children escalated 72% over the previous year 
in 2015 <https://www.maannews.net/Content.aspx?id=818526>, exposing more 
Palestinian children to violent nighttime military arrest raids, 
separation from their parents, abusive interrogations and physical and 
psychological violence at the hands of occupation forces. The case of 
Ahmad Manasrah 
is drawing growing international attention – a 13-year-old boy, 
videotaped shot and bleeding as settlers demand his death, undergoing 
abusive interrogation, and charged with a stabbing attack. People around 
the world are calling in demonstrations and on social media to 
#FreeAhmadManasrah, the boy’s case serving as a symbol of the abuse and 
imprisonment of Palestinian childhood. Ahmad’s case follows on that of 
Malaak al-Khatib 
the 14-year-old girl who was sentenced to 2 months in prison in January 
after a New Years’ Eve arrest, and the tragic case of the Hares Boys 
5 young men – minors when arrested and charged – now serving 15-year 
sentences for a nonexistent “crime.”

    10. Solidarity and Resistance – Samidoun’s work to support
    Palestinian prisoners –

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is engaged in 
international action and advocacy to support Palestinian political 
prisoners and demand their freedom – and freedom for all prisoners of 
occupation, colonialism, and imperialism. With our local chapters and 
partner groups around the world, Samidoun has organized dozens of 
educational events 
and actions 
highlighting the demands of Palestinian political prisoners. Tens of 
thousands of protest letters have been sent through Samidoun’s website 
in 2015, demanding an end to Israeli imprisonment and persecution of 
Palestinians. Samidoun’s New York chapter has organized weekly protests 
outside theoffices of G4S 
while its Vancouver chapter is co-initiating a Canada-wide G4S boycott 
We joined the International League for People’s Struggle 
in Manila, where Samidoun’s Europe representative was elected to the 
International Coordinating Committee. We’re working with organizations 
and movements 
to support Black, Puerto Rican, Indigenous and other political prisoners 
in US and imperialist jails – and prisoners for Palestine like Georges 
Ibrahim Abdallah 
and the Holy Land Five 
We’ve met with and worked with parliamentarians and popular movements to 
press for change, action and boycott, divestment and sanctions against 
Israel for its imprisonment of Palestinians. *And we’re already planning 
to escalate the struggle in 2016, to support the Palestinian prisoners – 
and the Palestinian people – on the front lines of resistance; and we 
invite you to join us and get involved.*

*Toward a 2016 of liberation, freedom and justice for all!*

*Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network*

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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