[Pnews] Palestinian Prisoners Day: In Struggle, Towards Liberation

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 18 10:15:04 EDT 2016


  Palestinian Prisoners Day Statement: In Struggle, Towards Liberation

April 17, 2016

On 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner 
Solidarity Network salutes the struggle of 7,000 Palestinian prisoners 
inside Israeli jails 
struggling for not only their own freedom, but for the freedom of the 
land and people of Palestine. Palestinian prisoners struggle through 
torture, solitary confinement, abuse, repression, denial of family 
visits, arbitrary imprisonment and brutal racism on a daily basis. Yet 
they not only persist and exemplify “samidoun” – those who are steadfast 
– the Palestinian prisoners are leaders of the Palestinian liberation 
movement, and of the global struggle for justice and liberation.

Each year, on 17 April, in Palestine and around the world, Palestinians 
and supporters of justice in Palestine come together to review the 
situation of Palestinian prisoners and demand their freedom. It is an 
opportunity to renew our work and our activity to free Palestinian 
prisoners, and to examine the last year of struggle, inside and outside 
the prison walls.

Imprisonment has always been a weapon of colonialism in Palestine. From 
the British colonizers who suppressed Palestinian revolts through mass 
imprisonment, home demolitions, and execution – and who first imposed 
the “emergency law” of administrative detention 
against Palestinians today – to the Zionist colonizers who for 68 years 
have imposed a system of occupation, apartheid, criminalization, racism 
and dispossession upon the Palestinian people, the colonizers of 
Palestine have imprisoned strugglers, leaders, fighters, and 
visionaries. Imprisonment targets all sectors of the Palestinian people: 
workers, strugglers, teachers, journalists, doctors and health workers, 
farmers, fishers; from Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, 
Occupied Palestine ’48; refugees in the camps inside Palestine and 
around the world – millions denied their right to return and yet pursued 
and imprisoned in international jails.

In the past year, as throughout this history of struggle, we have 
witnessed time and again the resilience, resistance and struggle of 
Palestinian prisoners. It is not only the case that thousands of 
<http://english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=78016> have 
been jailed since October 2015 in an attempt to stop the rising intifada 
in the streets and villages of Palestine; it is also the case that 
Palestinian prisoners are engaged in daily intifada, daily resistance, 
behind the prison walls. They are part of the struggle – indeed, leaders 
in the struggle – confronting occupation, colonialism, settlements, home 
demolition, land confiscation and extrajudicial executions.

 From Palestinian lawyer Muhammad Allan 
to Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq 
to baker and resistor Khader Adnan 
to the strugglers of the “Battle of Breaking the Chains” 
– Nidal Abu Aker, Ghassan Zawahreh, Shadi Ma’ali, Munir Abu Sharar and 
Badr al-Ruzza – Palestinian prisoners have put their bodies on the line 
in hunger strikes, demanding not only their own freedom but an end to 
the system of administrative detention without charge or trial that 
currently holds approximately 700 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. 
Today, Sami Janazrah, Fouad Assi, and Adib Mafarjah 
are on hunger strike against administrative detention. Eyad Fawaghra 
is refusing food, demanding an end to the denial of family visits. 
Shukri Khawaja 
is demanding an end to solitary confinement, joined by up to 88 other 
Palestinian prisoners expressing their solidarity in daily hunger strikes.

Today, 17 April, thousands of Palestinian prisoners 
are refusing food in a one-day hunger strike in support of prisoners in 
Nafha subject to violent attacks by Israeli occupation prison guards and 
special forces on 14 April. Throughout the prisons of the south, 
prisoners have joined across political lines in rejection of the violent 
raids that are a constant of Palestinian prisoner life in Israeli jails.

*Statistics:*Israeli jails hold approximately7,000 Palestinian prisoners 
<http://english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=78016>. These 
include over 400 children 
and 70 women prisoners, held in 22 prisons and interrogation centers. 
There have been 4,800 arrests since October 2015, including 1,400 
children and minor teens. Approximately 700 Palestinians are held in 
administrative detention without charge or trial.

*Women Prisoners*: The number of women prisoners is now 68, including 17 
girls under 18. Imprisoned in Hasharon and Damon prisons, injured women 
prisoners are being denied access to needed medical services and are 
instead supported by their fellow prisoners. The longest-serving woman 
prisoner, Lena Jarbouni 
has been imprisoned since 2001. The youngest girl prisoner, Dima al-Wawi 
is 12 years old. Khalida Jarrar 
Palestinian parliamentarian, leftist and prisoner advocate, serving a 
15-month sentence, is also among the women prisoners at Hasharon.

*Administrative Detainees: *Approximately 700 Palestinians are imprisone 
without charge or trial under administrative detention by Israeli 
military order. Administrative detention orders are issued on the basis 
of secret evidence hidden from both the detainee and their lawyer. These 
orders are indefinitely renewable and are often renewed repeatedly over 

*Sick and ill prisoners: *Over 1,700 sick prisoners 
inside Israeli jails suffer from various diseases, worsened by ill 
treatment, delay and denial of medical care, and dismissal of medical 
issues. Dozens of Palestinian prisoners suffer from serious diseases, 
including cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, 
stomach ulcers and high blood pressure. There are 24 prisoners with 
cancer in Israeli prisons, and 23 Palestinians permanently confined in 
the Ramle Prison Clinic, infamous among Palestinian prisoners for its 
poor treatment. Some of them are unable to move from their hospital 
beds. Despite severe illness, they are consistently denied medical 
release or access to private physicians.

*Child Prisoners: *Over 400 Palestinians under 18 are imprisoned. Many 
are arrested in traumatic and violent night-time military raids on their 
homes, and Palestinian child detainees report very high levels of 
physical and psychological abuse and torture. Six children are held in 
administrative detention. Several Palestinian children between the ages 
of 12 and 14 are imprisoned in Israeli jails. Recent reports from 
Defence for Children International Palestine 
and Human Rights Watch 
highlight the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli detention, 
interrogation and imprisonment.

*Former Prisoners, Re-Arrests and Pursuit: *Former prisoners, including 
over 70 released in the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange for 
captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, are pursued for renewed arrest 
and imprisonment. Under Israeli Military Order 1651 
released prisoners in an exchange face the reimposition of their 
original sentence at any time on the basis of “secret evidence.” As in 
administrative detention cases, Palestinian prisoners and their lawyers 
are denied access to this evidence, which can include allegations such 
as “association” or “support” for a “prohibited organization,” a 
category which includes all major Palestinian political parties. 47 
former prisoners have seen their sentences reimposed under this order. 
The targeting of former prisoners does not only happen inside Palestine. 
The pursuit, attempt to extradite, and killing of Omar Nayef Zayed 
in the Palestinian Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria emphasizes the global 
nature of this targeting. Rasmea Odeh <http://justice4rasmea.org>, 
Palestinian community leader in the United States, is threatened with 
imprisonment and deportation on the basis of her imprisonment – and 
torture – by Israeli forces in the 1960s and 1970s.

Torture is a constant reality of Israeli occupation arrest, detention 
and interrogation of Palestinians, including beatings, psychological 
torture, threats and insults, including threats of sexual abuse and 
violence and threats to family members; forced stress positions and 
shackling; sleep deprivation; long-term solitary confinement and isolation.

Palestinians are facing ongoing and increasing attacks. The 
extrajudicial execution of Palestinians under the control of Israeli 
occupation soldiers – including but not limited to the filmed and 
photographed executions of Abdelfattah Al Sharif 
and Hadeel al Hashlamoun 
<http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/hashlamoun-extrajudicial-execution/> – 
are a new attack on Palestinians that is part and parcel of the same 
system of terror and repression that carries out mass arrests and 
violent dawn raids on Palestinian homes. This comes alongside the 
ongoing imprisonment of the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli 
occupation soldiers. Some Palestinian corpses have been held for over 30 
years. Today, the Israeli occupation forces continue to withhold 15 
bodies of Palestinians 
Nearly every week brings news of a new racist and repressive law being 
considered or enacted by the Israeli occupation: the “Law to Prevent 
Harm Caused by Hunger Strikers 
permitting forced feeding; lengthy sentences for stone throwing 
the imprisonment of 12-year-old Palestinians 
threats to execute Palestinian prisoners 

The imprisonment of Palestinians is a collective attack on the 
Palestinian people and their struggle for liberation. These are not 
individual cases, but part of the comprehensive attempt of a colonial 
power to erase and suppress the indigenous Palestinian people and their 
collective struggle. We see this in the criminalization of Palestinian 
political parties, all declared “prohibited” by military order, and the 
military courts and trials that convict Palestinians at a rate of over 
on the basis of these military orders that govern occupied Palestine. We 
see this in the targeting of Palestinian student organizers and leaders 
like Abdullah Ramadan 
Asmaa Qadah 
and Donya Musleh 
the ransacking of student blocs’ offices and the attempt to disrupt the 
vibrant political life of Palestinian students on campuses. We see this 
in the increased threats of arrests or denial of residence made against 
Palestinian BDS organizers 
and activists building the international movement for boycott, 
divestment and sanctions against Israel. And we see this, of course, in 
the imprisonment of Palestinian political leaders like Ahmad Sa’adat 
General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; 
Marwan Barghouthi 
Fateh leader; Khalida Jarrar <http://samidoun.net/khalidajarrar>, 
Palestinian parliamentarian and prisoners’ advocate; Hassan Yousef 
Hamas leader and Palestinian Legislative Council member; and the 
countless local leaders targeted for administrative detention and 
military trials.

We see this in the imprisonment of over 18 Palestinian journalists 
<http://en.abna24.com/service/middle-east-west-asia/archive/2016/04/17/747947/story.html> – 
43 in the past six months 
– and the forced closure of Palestinian TV 
radio stations, and in the targeting of Palestinian researchers and 
human rights defenders like Eteraf Rimawi 
Bisan Center, and also in the administrative detention of teachers like 
circus trainer Mohammed Abu Sakha 
24, who combined Palestinian identity with circus performance as he 
taught numerous Palestinian children.

We also see the targeting and imprisonment of Palestinians and 
strugglers for Palestine in international courts and prisons. Georges 
Ibrahim Abdallah 
Lebanese Arab communist struggler for Palestine, has been imprisoned in 
French jails for 32 years, despite being eligible for release for 16 
years. Hillary Clinton 
– today a US presidential candidate – personally intervened to pressure 
the French state to overturn its own judiciary to keep him imprisoned. 
The interior minister who agreed to do so, Manuel Valls, today threatens 
and supports the prosecution of dozens of Palestine solidarity activists 
across France 
for calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli 
state for its ongoing crimes against Palestinians. In the United States, 
the Holy Land Five <http://freedomtogive.com> are serving lengthy 
sentences for fundraising for charity for Palestinians among the 
Palestinian community. Rasmea Odeh <http://justice4rasmea.org>, torture 
survivor and community leader, is facing imprisonment and deportation 
because of her time in Israeli prisons. Omar Nayef Zayed 
<http://samidoun.net/justice4omar> was pursued in Bulgaria for 
extradition and renewed imprisonment over 25 years after he escaped 
Israeli prisons, only to be found dead inside the Palestinian Embassy in 
Sofia, where he had taken refuge, on 26 February.

*Towards Liberation*

Just as imprisonment is a collective experience, the resistance struggle 
for the liberation of the prisoners is also collective. As the 
Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council noted in their statement 
for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, 
“The issues of prisoners transcends one of individual human rights; it 
is also one of collective rights of an entire people – the Palestinian 
people, who continue to be deprived of the right to self-determination 
and sovereignty.”

And so the struggle to liberate Palestinian prisoners – and all 
political prisoners – is not simply a struggle for an individual human 
right, but for collective liberation from occupation, apartheid and 
settler colonialism. This is one reason why this struggle finds such 
resonance with other struggles for justice and liberation, linked in 
collective confrontation of oppression, imperialism, settler 
colonialism, Zionism and racism.

The movement to boycott G4S <http://g4sfacts.org>, the British-Danish 
security conglomerate that provides security systems, equipment and 
control rooms for Israeli prisons, checkpoints and police training 
centers – and youth imprisonment, migrant detention and deportation 
contracts in the US, UK and Australia – has grown even more in the past 
year. Palestinian prisoners 
and Palestinian civil society organizations joined with hundreds of 
international organizations 
to demand the UN stop doing business with G4S, a demand that has 
achieved clear victories in Jordan 
<https://bdsmovement.net/2015/unhcr-ends-g4s-contracts-13593> and 
elsewhere. In the United States, prison divestment movements challenging 
the mass incarceration of Black youth and other oppressed communities in 
the US have won divestment from G4S and the cancellation of its 
contracts at multiple universities 
Indeed, the collective movements against G4S have garnered so much 
strength that the corporationannounced that it would be selling off its 
Israeli subsidiary 
and exiting other “reputationally damaging” industries like youth 
incarceration in the US and UK within the next one to two years. At the 
same time, on a daily basis, G4S and its “security” technology continue 
to contribute to the insecurity and oppression of Palestinians and other 
oppressed people. The struggle to boycott G4S must continue 
until it is out of occupied Palestine and the prison business.

Palestinian prisoners called for 
“the inclusion of our cause, as prisoners of freedom and fighters for 
the freedom of our people, human dignity, and the right to a dignified 
life, within the program of the boycott movement as a major issue of 
paramount importance.” The struggle of Palestinian prisoners is an 
essential and powerful part of BDS and boycott struggles, and builds our 
solidarity and our responsibility to act in support of other oppressed 
peoples and communities.

As the Black4Palestine <http://black4palestine.com/> statement 
highlighted, “Israel’s widespread use of detention and imprisonment 
against Palestinians 
themass incarceration of Black people 
<http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet>in the US, 
including the political imprisonment 
our own revolutionaries. Soldiers, police, and courts justify lethal 
force against us and our children who pose no imminent threat. And while 
the US and Israel would continue to oppress us without collaborating 
with each other, we have witnessed police and soldiers from the two 
countries train side-by-side 

The United States, European Union and Canada are complicit in the 
imprisonment of Palestinians, funding Israel and its military, 
supporting its military research and development and defending it in 
international bodies from prosecution or condemnation for its oppression 
of Palestinians. At the same time, these states are responsible for the 
detention and incarceration of migrants, the mass targeting, 
criminalization and oppression of Black communities, police repression, 
racist incarceration in countries throughout Europe, and the colonial 
repression of Indigenous people and communities. These policies 
represent one logic, that of imperialism.

At the same time, these forces are confronted by a growing movement of 
joint struggle 
against racist imprisonment and mass incarceration, in North America and 
around the world. Black communities, migrant justice movements, 
Indigenous movements and others have been leading powerful upsurges 
against the state repression, violence and incarceration targeting 
entire communities and oppressed peoples. Palestinian and 
pro-Palestinian activists and organizations are involved – and must be 
more deeply so – in all of these critical struggles.

These powerful grassroots movements – including the movement for justice 
in Palestine – are witnessing breakthroughs on a popular level, 
witnessing real, mass public demand for an end to the policies of mass 
incarceration and the state violence of imprisonment and police 
repression. Prison divestment and abolition movements and demands are 
growing, gathering allies and support.

The movement to free Palestinian political prisoners – and to free 
Palestine – is a movement to confront settler colonialism, Zionism and 
imperialism. It is connected deeply to movements to free international 
political prisoners imprisoned by the same forces: Mumia Abu-Jamal 
Leonard Peltier 
Oscar Lopez Rivera 
Ricardo Palmera 
the political prisoners of the Philippines 
of the Black Liberation Movement 
<http://www.thejerichomovement.com/prisoners>, and all prisoners jailed 
for their struggle for justice.

*On 17 April 2016, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, it is critical to 
escalate the struggle; to consolidate and build on the victories 
achieved in the G4S campaign; to deepen our collective movements against 
mass incarceration, racism, police repression and state violence; to 
raise high the voices, ideas and visions of imprisoned Palestinians, 
leaders in the struggle for a free and liberated Palestine; and to do 
everything we can, at grassroots, popular and official levels, to 
support the demands of the Palestinian prisoners, to seek the freedom of 
the Palestinian people, and to hold accountable and prosecute the 
Israeli officials responsible for their oppression and torture in all 
international arenas, from prosecutions in the International Criminal 
Court to the international grassroots isolation of settler-colonial 
Israel through BDS campaigns.*

*/We invite activists and organizations to build on and intensify their 
work on Palestinian prisoners in the coming year, as we seek to do this 
in our own organizing. We invite organizers to form Samidoun chapters in 
your own cities and areas, or to form Samidoun committees and 
subcommittees to work on Palestinian prisoners in your existing 
organizations. To join us, please email us at samidoun at samidoun.net 
<mailto:samidoun at samidoun.net>. /*

See also:

  * Palestinian Prisoners Day 2016: Call to Action
  * Factsheets and Resources for Palestinian Prisoners Day

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