[Pnews] Palestinian prisoners on the front lines: 69 years of resistance to ongoing Nakba

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 15 10:52:33 EDT 2017


  Palestinian prisoners on the front lines: 69 years of resistance to
  ongoing Nakba, struggle for return and freedom

*May 15, 2017

On the 69th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the occupation of 78 
percent of Palestinian land by Zionist forces and the forced 
displacement and expulsion of 750,000 to one million Palestinians from 
their homes and lands, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network 
emphasizes our solidarity with the Palestinian people’s ongoing struggle 
for return and liberation.*

Throughout these 69 years of settler colonialism, apartheid and 
occupation, the Nakba has been an ongoing event – of continuing conquest 
of Palestinian land and ongoing attempts to erase Palestinian identity 
and existence by driving the people from the land. 69 years of the Nakba 
also means 69 years of Palestinian prisoners’ imprisonment and 
resistance in Zionist jails. Since 1948, one million Palestinian 
prisoners have been jailed by the Israeli occupation, all of them 
strugglers for Palestinian freedom and Palestinians holding fast to 
their identity, land and existence. This marks a direct line of 
continued struggle, from that of the Palestinian prisoners in British 
colonial jails imprisoned for demanding their self-determination and 
national rights, free of colonization and occupation.

Today, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are not only on hunger 
strike for their basic human rights. They are the first line of struggle 
for the right of return of millions of Palestinian refugees, denied for 
nearly 70 years, and for the liberation of Palestine’s land and 
people. The history of Palestinian resistance to the Nakba, the history 
of the Palestinian revolution, is the history of Palestinian prisoners 
<http://learnpalestine.politics.ox.ac.uk/teach/week/12>. With their 
hunger strike today, they are not only resisting oppression, torture and 
injustice inside prison; they are resisting the ongoing Nakba with their 
empty stomachs, salt and water. The Palestinian prisoners themselves are 
from every part of Palestine – from occupied Palestine ’48, from the 
West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, from the Palestinian refugees 
expelled from their homeland.

Palestinian refugees struggling to return following the Nakba were 
constantly targeted for imprisonment and criminalization, labeled 
and a menace to the Zionist state. At the same time, Palestinian 
political organization in Palestine ’48 was ruthlessly suppressed and 
criminalized. From the beginning of the Zionist colonization of 
Palestine, imprisonment has been a consistent and widespread weapon of 
colonialism in an attempt to undermine and suppress the living 
resistance of the indigenous Palestinian people.

In the Arab states surrounding Palestine where Palestinian refugees had 
fled, early Palestinian revolutionaries struggling for their return to 
Palestine and the liberation of their land faced yet more repression and 
complicity. In the early years of the Palestinian revolution, the 
Jordanian regime imprisoned thousands of Palestinian strugglers in an 
attempt to suppress the resistance from the borders of Palestine. 
Legendary Palestinian leaders like Abu Maher al-Yamani 
<http://adibkawar.blogspot.be/2011/01/abu-maher-al-yamani.html>, who was 
imprisoned numerous times by the Lebanese government, and Abu Saleh 
al-Assadi <http://pflp-documents.org/pflp-bulletin-winter-1983/>, whose 
history of returning to Palestine and back to Lebanon was later 
fictionalized, also faced repeated imprisonment. Palestinian 
revolutionary leaders like George Habash 
Wadie Haddad 
and Hamdi Matar 
faced imprisonment in Arab jails on multiple occasions.

The struggle of Palestinian prisoners has also reflected both the 
international nature of the struggle and the worldwide displacement of 
Palestinian refugees denied their right to return. The United States, 
European powers and other colonial and imperialist states have aligned 
with the Zionist movement, the Israeli occupation of Palestine and its 
ongoing Nakba: the confiscation of land, racist laws and apartheid 
structure in Palestine ’48, the imprisonment of one million 
Palestinians, the attempt to erase Palestinian identity and existence in 
Jerusalem, the siege on Gaza and the denial of the right to return for 
millions of Palestinian refugees. This is also reflected in the labeling 
of Palestinian resistance movements as “terrorist organizations” 
and the imprisonment of Palestinian strugglers – often refugees 
themselves – by the same states whose economic, military and diplomatic 
complicity and support makes ongoing Israeli settler colonialism and 
apartheid possible.

 From the imprisonment of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah 
– Lebanese struggler for Palestine, inspired by the Palestinian 
revolution and its leadership in the Arab struggle – for 33 years in 
France, to the persecution of Rasmea Odeh 
former political prisoner and current-day community leader, and the Holy 
Land Five in the United States, the Palestinian political prisoners in 
international jails are also prisoners of the ongoing Nakba and 
resisters struggling to bring it to an end. These veterans of struggle 
continue to live today, including the first wounded prisoner of the 
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Israeli jails, Sakhran 
imprisoned in 1966 and held for many years before winning his freedom in 
a prisoner exchange; today, he continues his struggle in the Palestinian 
community in diaspora.

*As we mark the 69th anniversary of the Nakba and approach 70 years of 
the Palestinian catastrophe of settler-colonial occupation, and as we 
also mark 50 years of the expanded occupation of all of Palestine and 
the Syrian Golan Heights, and as we mark 100 years of British 
colonization and its alliance with Zionism in Palestine through the 
Balfour declaration, Palestinian political prisoners are leaders of the 
struggle for Palestinian freedom, for the right of return of Palestinian 
refugees and the liberation of all of the land of Palestine.*

        *The Strike of Dignity and Freedom: Resisting the Continuing Nakba*

There are currently approximately 6300 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli 
jails, part of the 1,000,000 imprisoned since 1948. 1500 of them 
launched a hunger strike 
now in its 29th day, on the 17th of April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. 
The Strike of Dignity and Freedom demands an end to denials of family 
visits, proper health care and medical treatment, the right to education 
and an end to solitary confinement and imprisonment without charge or 
trial. More than that, however, it asserts Palestinian freedom and 
Palestinian dignity against the ongoing Nakba, embodying Palestinian 
resistance as the prisoners have for over 69 years. Today, they are 
struggling, and indeed, leading the struggle, for the freedom of 
Palestine, its land and people.

Palestinian political leaders like Ahmad Sa’adat 
and Marwan Barghouthi 
are held behind bars in an attempt to isolate them from the struggle of 
the Palestinian people. Instead, however, they are far from isolated and 
their words echo around the world as the imprisoned leaders of the 
Palestinian liberation movement.

*On the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner 
Solidarity Network greets this occasion with remembrance and mourning 
for the lives and land taken by colonialism, apartheid, Zionism and 
occupation in Palestine. More importantly, however, we meet this 
anniversary with a renewed and deepened commitment to build our 
solidarity around the world with the Palestinian people’s struggle for 
return and liberation. We urge all movements for justice and liberation 
to expand our common struggles and links of solidarity to struggle 
together to confront mass incarceration, political imprisonment and the 
criminalization and oppression committed by racism, capitalism, Zionism 
and imperialism, from the United States to Ireland to Turkey to France 
to the Philippines.*

*Today, we stand with over 6 million Palestinian refugees struggling to 
return to their lands, for the liberation of Palestine. We stand with 
the Palestinian prisoners who are on the front lines, facing harsh 
repression with their bare bodies and empty stomachs. And we pledge to 
escalate the campaigns forboycott, divestment and sanctions 
for the isolation of the Israeli state and its ongoing Nakba, and for 
the boycott of the corporations, like HP and G4S, who continue to profit 
from that Nakba and its systems of imprisonment and oppression. We 
pledge to organize, mobilize and escalate our solidarity with the 
Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people everywhere in the world 
– for return, for liberation, for the reversal of the ongoing Nakba, the 
freedom of the Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people and all of 
the land of Palestine.*

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