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Monday, 17 October 2011

Support the Palestinian Prisoners' Hunger Strike







Two Days after Prisoner Exchange Deal is Announced, Palestinian Prisoners Remain Steadfast in their Hunger Strike

Ramallah, 13 October 2011 — As the world welcomed the conclusion of an extensive prisoner exchange deal between Israeli and Hamas authorities on 11 October, Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons resolutely entered their third week of a hunger strike, launched on 27 September in response to pronounced deteriorations in their detention conditions. Addameer is concerned that these prisoners’ dire health conditions and isolation will only be exacerbated over the next three days as Israeli prisons close during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Indeed, while the prisoner exchange deal will be thoroughly scrutinized over the next three days, it will be completely impossible for lawyers and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegates to visit Israeli prisons during the same period because of the Sukkot holiday. As a result, until at least Sunday 16 October, there will be no independent monitoring of, or contact with, the hunger striking prisoners, some of whom are already in dismal health. Furthermore, it will be impossible to verify whether salt has been returned to prisoners who have been on a hunger strike for more than 14 days, as is required by Israeli law, an illegal measure that could significantly impact the prisoners’ health. As of 12 October, which marked the sixteenth day of the hunger strike and the last time Addameer lawyers were able to undertake visits, administrations in the visited prisons had not returned the salt to the strikers. In addition, Addameer expects that lawyer visits will be further complicated by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) during the entire period of the prisoner releases, with authorities likely to attribute this to the logistics of the releases.

Addameer is extremely concerned about the three-day period during which striking prisoners will be left completely isolated from the outside world, especially at such an advanced stage in their hunger strike. Addameer therefore urges the ICRC to intervene with the IPS to allow them to visit the prisons during the Sukkot holidays and further reminds the IPS that it will be held responsible for the striking prisoners’ life. Finally, it should be recalled that the punitive and collective measures imposed by the IPS on Palestinian political prisoners in recent months were taken directly following a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. As such, with Shalit now set to be released within the next few days, Addameer demands that the international community rally to ensure that these politically-motivated measures, which constitute collective punishment, be immediately reversed and the prisoners’ legitimate demands granted.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
P. O. Box: 17338, Jerusalem

Tel: +972 (0)2 296 0446 / 297 0136 Fax: +972 (0)2 296 0447
Email: info@addameer.ps Website: www.addameer.info

PHR Israel: Allow independent doctors visit prisoners on hunger strike

Dear all,

As you are probably aware as of Tuesday, 27 September 2011, more than one hundred Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike to protest the intentionally harmful policies of the Israeli government toward them, including harsh conditions of incarceration and collectively hostile treatment. PHR Israel together with Adalah and Al-Mezan issued a press release supporting the prisoners' demands to guard their human rights and dignity.

On October 2nd the three organizations sent a letter to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) insisting that:

The IPS will refrain from punishing and violating the rights of the hunger striking prisoners. It is important to explain that the IPS tends to use punitive measures – some of which are entrenched in the IPS regulations that define the announcement on a hunger strike as an act of violation of order. Those punitive measures – in and outside of IPS regulations – are violating the prisoners' basic and constitutional rights, and their right to health. This is especially worrying taking into account that the hunger strike was ignited by the government's declared policy of worsening conditions in jails. As remembered, PM Netanyahu declared of changing jail conditions as a measure of pressure on Hamas following its refusal to allow the Red Cross to visit Gilad Shalit. IPS Punitive Measures usually include:

Solitary confinement: The UN Committee Against Torture has sharply criticized the prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners, regarding it as an act of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT) that constitutes a violation of Article 11 of the CAT, which requires States parties to ensure systemic review of conditions of incarceration,18 and of Article 16, which obliges states to protect prisoners under their jurisdiction from CIDT.

In its Concluding Observations on Israel from June 2009,19 the committee criticized Israel’s use of solitary confinement against Palestinians during interrogation and imprisonment, demanding that it be used in an exceptional manner and in accordance with international minimal standards.

Preventing or Delaying the entry of independent doctors to examine prisoners:

According to international conventions and ethics of the World Medical Association, it is of utmost importance that during a hunger strike the medical care will be given by independent doctors whom the prisoners can trust.

In addition to these punitive measures that stand in complete disregard to IHL including the Geneva Convention, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment all of which explicitly defend prisoners' rights – including their right to meet their lawyer, to have family visits, to hold on to their personal equipment and any electric equipment and buy in the canteen. It also prohibits exaggerated fines, confiscation of books and newspapers, and of liquids and salts.

PHR-Israel received news of prisoners being sent to solitary confinement due to their hunger strike already from the second day of the strike, confiscation of personal and electric equipment, revocation of family visits and putting food tray to their cells. 20 prisoners who are held on solitary confinement had joined the strike, this in addition to 6 ill prisoners, who joined the strike demanding proper medical care.

PHR-Israel had appealed to its internal and family doctors to volunteer to visit the prisoners that are on hunger strike – a request to allow them visit all prisoners on hunger strike was sent to the IPS and was refused, _stating that each prisoner must request our doctor specifically. In addition a letter was sent to the chief medical officer of the IPS, Dr. Dini Orkin-Tishler, calling her to adhere to medical ethics and refrain from using medical professionals and medicine as a tool in fighting against the strike.

PHR Israel, Adalah and Al Mezan asks that you to assist us in defending the rights of the prisoners under hunger strike by:

A) call on the Israeli authorities to allow independent doctors visit and monitor their situation; B) request an update of their situation; C) Insisit on the IPS' doctors' responsibility to inform the families of prisoners on their health condition.

Ahmad Sa'adat's health in jeopardy as struggle grows!

Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike in third week -

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat
www.freeahmadsaadat.org info@freeahmadsaadat.org Twitter:http://twitter.com/ freeahmadsaadat

Palestinian prisoners have entered their third week of hunger strike. After two weeks of hunger strike, physical symptoms become increasingly severe and prisoners' lives and health are ever more at risk. As prisoners have put their lives and bodies on the line to defend the rights of themselves and their people, international support and solidarity are continually escalating and much-needed.

The health of Ahmad Sa'adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Palestinian national leader who has been in isolation for two and one-half years and whose struggle is at the center of the demand for an end to isolation, is in crisis. Two lawyers visited Sa'adat on October 7 and October 9, and reported that he was fainting and vomiting - a direct consequence of the Israeli Prison Service's confiscation of salt from prisoners. He has already lost over 7 kilos on the hunger strike. Nevertheless, no independent doctors or medical professionals have been permitted to examine Sa'adat. It is urgent that independent medical care reach Sa'adat - call and protest at your Israeli consulate or embassy or demand that the International Committee of the Red Cross take action to protect Sa'adat's life!

Despite his own health crisis, when asked about the duration of the strike, Sa'adat responded: "We are going to continue. We will not accept these degrading conditions. Either we live in dignity or we die with our heads high."
It is clear that if there are any consequences to Sa'adat's health or life, Israel and its isolation policy bear full responsibility and have yet more blood on their hands - but silence is complicity, and the world governments, officials and authorities who allow this to continue without raising a word of protest are also responsible for the ongoing crimes against Palestinian political prisoners and the Palestinian people as a whole.

As of October 9, 300 prisoners were participating in a complete open ended hunger strike and 3000 in a partial hunger strike. Additional prisoners have been joining the strike on a daily basis - on October 10 and 11, over 1500 prisoners at Nafha, Ramon, Eshel, Asqelan, and Gilboa prisons have joined in the open-ended strikes

Hunger strike tents continue to grow in cities throughout Palestine - in Ramallah, Qalqilya, Nablus, Gaza, Salfit, Tulkarem, Nazareth, Haifa. Palestinian activists have gone on solidarity hunger strike and engaged in ongoing mobilizations throughout Palestinian cities. In Gaza, three international activists have joined in the solidarity hunger strikes. Demonstrations in front of Ofer and Asqelan prisons were organized by Palestinians in '48 Occupied Palestine. On October 12, 2011, a general strike is expected to close businesses, schools and offices throughout Palestinian cities for hours, to express mass popular support for the prisoners' struggle.

Negotiations to end the strike failed on Monday as Israeli prison authorities continue to disregard Palestinian prisoners' rights. Prisoners have been repeatedly denied lawyers' visits in several prisons. Prisoners have been increasingly denied salt or their salt confiscated - a potentially deadly action for Sa'adat and other hunger strikers.

Abdel Latif Gheith, Chair of the Board of Directors of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, was today slammed with a six-month ban on entry into the West Bank (as defined by Israel.) Gheith is a resident of East Jerusalem and was called to al-Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem to order him arbitrarily forbidden from entering the West Bank, a severe violation of his right to freedom of movement and obvious retaliation for his work in support of the prisoners' hunger strike.

International solidarity to support Palestinian hunger strikers is growing rapidly:

In Gaza, international solidarity activists have joined solidarity hunger strike tents. "Palestinian prisoners are bravely resisting a system that seeks to crush them, their families, their communities, and their national life. Their struggle deserves our full support," said Joe Catron, an activist from the U.S. engaged in an open-ended hunger strike.

éirígí, an Irish republican socialist political party, held a demonstration in Dublin demanding freedom for Ahmad Sa'adat and supporting the hunger strike.

Protests took place throughout the U.S., including in San Francisco and at Occupy Wall Street in New York, in support of the hunger strike - and in solidarity with prisoners in California on hunger strike. Protesters called for the freedom of Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners. See a video of a protest organized by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

Greek organizations and social movements have stood in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, including Greek trade unionists, city councillors, and the Communist Organization of Greece.

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, an Arab prisoner in French jails, joined the hunger strike as protests took place in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Paris. Activists in Denmark, Sweden and Italy joined in the solidarity actions across Europe.

The National Lawyers Guild in the US and the Palestinian Boycott National Committee issued statements and calls to action in support of Palestinian political prisoners.

A play, Ana Hurra, supporting Palestinian prisoners and telling their stories, began a two-week tour of the United States, and activists on Twitter plan global solidarity hunger strikes.

TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT AHMAD SA'ADAT AND ALL PALESTINIAN PRISONERS!

1. Picket, protest or call the Israeli embassy or consulate in your location and demand the immediate freedom of Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian political prisoners. Make it clear that you support the demands of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike! Demand that independent doctors and medical experts be allowed to examine and treat Ahmad Sa'adat. Send us reports of your protests at Israeli embassies and consulates.

2. Distribute the free downloadable Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat flyer in your community at local events.

3. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations to exercise their responsibilities and act swiftly to demand that the Israelis ensure that Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners are freed from punitive isolation. Email the ICRC, whose humanitarian mission includes monitoring the conditions of prisoners, at JER_jerusalem@icrc.org, and inform them about the urgent situation of Ahmad Sa'adat. Make it clear that Ahmad Sa'adat's life and health are gravely at risk and that he must be permitted independent medical care, and that the ICRC is aware and responsible for any risk to Sa'adat's life or health..

4. Join in the Twitter solidarity strike for Palestine - Tweet: My name is ( ) and I will go on a hunger strike on Wednesday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. #TweepStrike #HS4Palestine

5. Email the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat at info@freeahmadsaadat.org with announcements, reports and information about your local events, activities and flyer distributions.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa' adat


info@freeahmadsaadat.org Twitter:http://twitter.com/freeahmadsaadat
http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com/2011/10/political-prisoners.html

It is good news that over 1000 Palestinian political prisoners will be released in a prison swap deal. But there are still thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. This Saturday we will be discussing in our cultural group the new book by Marwan Barghouthi about his life behind bars. He will apparently not be part of this prisoner exchange deal neither will Ahmed Saadat of PFLP nor other key leaders. For English readers on this list, I translated my review (originally in Arabic) of Barghouthi's book and included it here. Below that I include some text on prisoners from my book "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment

"Hopefully, those two sections will give you some idea about the struggles of political prisoners. Hopefully, Hamas (which did not get all it wanted but did score a political victory here) and Fatah (which scored a political victory by abandoning the futile US-led bilateral negotiations but also did not get all it wanted) could now implement their signed agreements especially on representation in the PNC.’ Comparing Books by political prisoners: Nelson Mandela and Marwan Barghouthi Review by Mazin Qumsiyeh I read Nelson Mandel's inspiring autobiography many years ago. His book was titled "Long Walk to Freedom" because it was done after the end of apartheid. Marwan Barghouthi's book is not an autobiography in that sense because our people's walk to freedom is still ongoing. It is thus titled "One thousand days in prison isolation cell" and refers to a part of the struggle. We indeed look for the day that our political prisoners can write books at the end of the road to freedom. Barghouthi's book is dedicated to his wife, his children, to the Palestinian people, to the Arab and Islamic world, to all those who struggle and resist occupation and colonization, and to fellow prisoners. Mandela's book similarly recalls family, people, and fellow political prisoners. Barghouthi recalls his village life in Kuber with much passion and love in his newest book but you will find the national cause dominate the book. While Kuber is mentioned two or three times, Palestine is mentioned on just about every paragraph. Mandela had a rural beginning in a small village called Mvezo and still retains that love of land. He was a shepherd and ploughed lands. He dreamed of becoming a lawyer and was like Barghouthi interested in learning. He enrolled at Birzeit University in 1983 but due to exile and other factors only finished his bachelor in 1994 (in history and political science). In 1998, he got masters in international relations. Both Mandela and Barghouthi led youth movements in their teens and became strong leaders even as they were pursued and jailed. Mandela like Barghouthi reports on mistreatment, lengthy incarcerations, resisting, and all that you expect from someone who went through such experiences. Mandela like Barghouthi says that it is not what he actually did that he was being punished for but for what he stood for. Both were charged by the respective apartheid regimes of leading armed guerrilla groups. Through these writings, you see a common characteristic: great humility. They do not elevate themselves above the thousands who struggle for freedom. Even though some of us consider them key leaders, they themselves see their role as foot soldiers. Barghouthi describes being beaten on his private parts and losing consciousness waking later to find a gash on his head from falling and hitting the cement wall. The gash left a permanent mark. But immediately after describing this, Barghouthi merely says (p. 21) that is it is merely a small example of what tens of thousands of activists were subjected to. In the mid 1950s Mandela devised a plan and convinced fellow ANC leaders to adopt it that created a decentralized structure. Cells are formed at the grassroots level and select among them leadership at intermediate levels which insured secrecy and yet some level of democracy and operational meaning. Barghouthi recalls how he was not happy about Arafat's autocratic structure and especially those around Arafat many of them were corrupt and not dedicated to the Palestinian struggle. Barghouthi and Mandela speak of psychological warfare including the games of good investigator and bad investigator played to break prisoners' will. A lot of what he says about mistreatment in prison will not be new to Palestinians alive today. Most Palestinians above age 30 have tasted at least some of these pains. Of course Barghouthi suffered more than most Palestinian males his age. Barghouthi talks about how critical the visit by his lawyer was to break his isolation and makes him feel connected to life outside the prison. Mandela also refers to the psychological boost received by knowing that people outside continue the struggle and care about the freedom of political prisoners. Barghouthi states on page 130 how in prison you have lots of time to think. He recalls these thoughts in detail and they range from his feelings of solidarity with all persecuted and oppressed people around the world to poor programming on Palestinian television (when the channel was allowed in prisons). Barghouthi speaks about his passions like reading books. He speaks of his love for his family. He speaks of women liberation. He speaks of learning languages in jail. The thoughts of Mandela in jail also dealt with similar issues. Barghouthi describes solitary confinement as "slow death" (p. 81). Mandela calls them the "dark years". Barghouthi speaks about how the US and western positions put significant pressures on Arafat and that finally, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas was appointed prime minister. Abbas, according to Barghouthi, was known for his positions against resistance (p. 156). In one section he talks about how leadership did not rise to the challenge or match the enormous struggle, aspirations and needs of the people. Barghouthi says on page 148 that Israel can defeat a particular leader or faction or group of people but cannot defeat the will of the Palestinian people. On the next page he articulates beautifully why resistance in all its types is so critical to success in achieving our collective goals. The cost of occupation and colonization must be made unbearable or at least more than the benefit from it for Israel to back off. Barghouthi speaks about how his political actions did not stop in jail. He gives several examples including the Palestinian factions observing a cease fire that started 19 December 2001 on the eve of the visit by American envoy General Anthony Zinni. That cease fire lasted for nearly a month but was broken by Israel's assassination of Ra'ed Karmi. Barghouthi recalls that one of the more painful episodes was the abduction of his son Qassam. His letter to his son takes 30 pages of the book! It is an amazing letter that recalls the history of Palestine, the history of struggle, the history of the prisoner movement and much more. But the letter also reflects on feelings and attitude of Barghouthi himself in key periods of his life. How he felt when his son was born while he is in jail. How he built a relationship with his wife despite being a man spending most of his life either on the run or in jail. It is very detailed mentioning dates and events and surroundings that put the reader (his son and us) in those circumstances. He recalls the death of his father 5 August 1985. He talked about his biggest pains (which were not the interrogations, torture or solitary confinement) but when he was exiled to Jordan in the late 1980s. Yet he also says that after his family joined him in exile from the homeland, the family life alleviated the pain of exile from his homeland. The letter ends with recommendations he gives to his son like any father gives to his son. But here the recommendations are about exercising, reading books, learning languages, and keeping friendly relations with fellow prisoners. The book finishes with a section about his wife and a final section about collaborators in Israeli jails. It is significant that he decided to conclude with detailed exposure of the despicable methods of collaborations. Similarly, Mandela's autobiography includes a section on treason. Oliver Tambo described Mandela as passionate, fearless, impatient and sensitive. I never met either Mandela or Barghouthi personally but after reading these books, I can say that I agree not only with these adjectives applied to Mandela and Barghouthi but I can think of many others: humble, honest, intelligent, articulate, and I can go on but I will leave that to historians to give people their due. But knowing such people at least through their writings and writings of others about them adds to our conviction that freedom is inevitable to nations that have such individuals.
Prison struggles: sections from the book "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment"
In this book I discuss the efforts for release of political prisoners that started in the 1920s when the women movement in Palestine succeeded in gaining release of three prisoners (Chapter 6). In chapter 7, we find that "On 17 May 1936, prisoners in Nur Shams prison declared a strike and confronted the prison guards who ordered soldiers to open fire. One inmate was killed and several wounded as prisoners shouted in defiance: 'Martyrdom is better than jail'.(ref) On 23 May 1936, Awni Abdel Hadi, secretary general of the Arab Higher Committee, was arrested.(ref).. On 9 September 1939, fighters took over Beersheba government facilities and released political prisoners from the central jail."

When the British government felt more confident in 1942-43 about the prospects of winning the war, it released some Palestinian political prisoners and allowed others to return from exile. Attempts to revive political activity during this period were nugatory. Awni Abdel Hadi returned from exile in 1943 and revived Hizb Al-Istiqlal, with help from Rashid Alhaj Ibrahim and Ahmed Hilmi Abdel Baqi, and even started a national fund."

In other section sof the book, I discussed the struggle of Palestinains inside the Green Line, many of them ended in jail as political prisoners. Like Palestinains in the West Bank and Gaza, they supported their political prisonesr and struggled for their release. The struggle in the occupied territories continued. When Israel introduced extensions of so-called 'administrative detention' (detention without trial) for up to six months, a strike among Palestinian political prisoners started 11 July 1975.

Political prisoners in Israeli jails also organised themselves into effective committees [during the uprising of 1987] which carried out collective strikes which were especially effective in the 1980s and early 1990s.36 King interviewed Qaddourah Faris (from Fatah) who was a key leader of the prisoner movement. He talked about a successful hunger strike for humane treatment that involved 15,000 prisoners throughout Israeli jails.(ref) In 1990, Israel held over 14,000 Palestinian prisoners in more than 100 jails and detention centres at one time according to Middle Rights Watch.(ref) Even Israeli supporters like Anthony Lewis became outraged enough to write:

"The Israeli Government has taken thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza into what it calls 'administrative detention.' That means they are held as prisoners, for up to six months at a stretch, without trial. At least 2,500 of the detainees are imprisoned in Ketziot, a tent camp in the burning heat of the Negev desert. On Aug. 16 Israeli soldiers shot and killed two of-the detainees there . The story had further grim details that I shall omit because they cannot be confirmed ... The prisoners at Ketziot, it must be emphasised, have not been convicted of doing anything. They have had not a semblance of due process. They are there because someone in the Israeli Army suspects them - or wants to punish them. Mr. Posner went to Ketziot to see two Palestinian lawyers being held there and four field investigators for a West Bank human rights group, Al Haq. He concluded that they had been detained because of 'their work on human rights and as lawyers."(ref)
On 6 December 1998, during President Clinton's visit, over 2,000 political prisoners went on hunger strike demanding to be released. Their message to both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership was not to negotiate issues that do not place their release on the agenda.

In September 1988, the Israeli army stated that the number of detainees it held was 23,600 and Peter Kandela reported cases of the use of torture on detainees.94 After the Oslo Accords many thousands of Palestinians were released. But many thousands more were imprisoned in the uprising that started in 2000. In total, over 700,000 Palestinians spent time in Israeli jails. On occasion, nearly 20 per cent of the political prisoners were minors. 95 political prisoners in Israeli jails also participated in non-violent resistance. Israel radio reported on a hunger strike by prisoners in the camps of Jenin, Ramallah and Nablus, who demanded improvement in their deplorable conditions in 1987.96 Al-Ansar prison in southern Lebanon, where thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese political prisoners were held by Israeli occupation forces, showed incredible acts of resistance and resilience, ranging from hunger strikes to refusal to obey orders to writing.97

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners went on a hunger strike from 15 August to 2 September 2004. During this time, the Israeli authorities tried various methods from persuasion to threats to beatings to break the strike; 13 UN agencies operating in the occupied areas expressed their concern. Outside the prisons, Palestinians and internationals protested and worked diligently to spread the word about the prisoners' demands and their plight. It started with the prisoners' families, many of whom joined the hunger strike. Crowds assembled on 16 August 2004 outside local offices of the Red Cross and marched to the Gaza headquarters of the United Nations where they delivered a letter addressed to Secretary General Kofi Annan, calling for him to apply pressure on Israel and improve the prisoners' conditions. They demonstrated again in the thousands two days later.99 The PA, Palestinians inside the Green Line and the ISM called for hunger strikes outside the prisons to support the prisoners' demands.100 The strike slowly gained momentum despite repressive measures.101 Israel's Public Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi stated: 'Israel will not give in to their demands. They can starve for a day, a month, even starve to death, as far as I am concerned'102 Eventually, the prison authorities conceded that the prisoners were entitled to some basic humanitarian rights.

Palestinian female political prisoners in Telmud Prison were mistreated and on 28 November 2004 their spokeswomen who complained about this was beaten and punished. When others complained, they too were punished, so they too went on hunger strike.103

Prisoners continued to use hunger strikes to protest against ill treatment and draw attention to their plight. For example, on 16 February 2006, Jamal Al-Sarahin died in prison. He was a 37-year-old 'administrative detainee' (held without charge or trial) who had been detained for eight months and badly mistreated. Prisoners called a one-day hunger strike.104

On 11 March 2006, a sit-down strike in front of the ICRC in Hebron was held to demand better treatment of prisoners. On 27 June 2006, 1,200 Palestinian political prisoners in the Negev Desert started a hunger strike to protest against the arbitrary and oppressive practices of the prison administration. In total, over 700,000 Palestinians have spent time in Israeli jails and the latest statistics show that 11,000 are still being held according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society.105

By 2009, Palestinians in Israeli prisons had achieved a number of successes by non-violent struggle and civil disobedience, including wearing civilian clothes (no orange uniforms), access to news, reasonable visiting rights and better access to healthcare. But the Prison Administration continues to chip away at those rights.106 Unfortunately, the PA is forced to subsidise the cost to Israel of maintaining Palestinian prisoners.

Because so many people are jailed for their resistance activities, Palestinian society has a profound respect and appreciation for the sacrifices of the prisoners. Time spent in prison is considered a badge of honour. Prisons also shape character. One former prisoner stated:

Like any human community, there are contradictions, but there is a common thread in the experience in prison that gives us strength, a common goal, a common purpose. We are joined together in struggle, so our shared experiences only make us stronger.107
(Excerpts from the book: "Popular Resistance in Palestine" by Mazin
Qumsiyeh, Pluto Press, Available in Arabic from Muwatin, Ramallah).

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) supports the legitimate demands of Palestinian political prisoners in their open-ended hunger strike, and calls for stepping up the global BDS campaign to end Israeli impunity

Occupied Palestine 11-10-2011

For the fifteenth day in a row, our brave political prisoners continue their open-ended hunger strike in Israeli prisons, challenging the walls of silence and international complicity, and refusing indignation and the persistent violations of their rights.

While today marks the historic UN day of solidarity with South African political prisoners, the UN, under US hegemony, has turned its back on the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, including hundreds of child prisoners, languishing under severe hardships in Israel’s notoriously inhumane prisons. This put the moral burden on international civil society to act, by applying effective pressure on Israel to release all Palestinian and Arab political prisoners and to respect their internationally recognized rights in the meanwhile.

The BNC, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition representing the overwhelming majority of unions, coalitions and political forces, fully supports the hunger strike called for by Palestinian prisoners and endorses their legitimate demands for:

1. Ending the policy of solitary confinement
2. Ending the ban on college education for prisoners
3. Ending the policy of collective punishment, including the denial of visits, and imposing financial penalties on prisoners
4. Ending the policy of provocative incursions and invasions of prisoners’ cells
5. Stopping the policy of shackling the hands and legs of prisoners during visits by family members and lawyers
6. Improving the health conditions of hundreds of sick and injured prisoners and providing them with the needed treatments
7. Allowing books, newspapers and clothes to enter prisons
8. Allowing the broadcast of satellite TV channels that have been banned by Israeli Prison Service (IPS)
9. Ending the policy of restricting visits to 30 minutes every month, and the arbitrary denial of visits.
10. In support of Palestinian political prisoners’ hunger strike, the BNC calls for intensifying the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as the most effective way to pressure Israel until it abides by the Palestinian people’s rights in full by:

1. Intensifying the boycott of Israeli academic institutions—all complicit in Israel’s occupation and apartheid--in response to the denial of Palestinian prisoners’ basic right to education

2. Organizing broad boycott and divestment campaigns around the world targeting Israeli and international companies that have contracts with the IPS or other authorities to provide the large sector of prisons, detention facilities and the farcical Israeli court system. These contracts make companies complicit in grave violations of human rights international law resulting from the exploitation of Palestinian prisoners to generate profits, forcing prisoners to pay exorbitant prices due to the lack of alternatives. We demand that the Palestinian leadership bans these companies from private and public tenders, and ask for the strict application of the boycott legislation in the Arab world against these companies.

3. Boycotting the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and expelling it from the World Medical Association (WMA) as a result of the systematic collusion of its members with torture, and its persistent violations of the seminal anti-torture code for doctors, and the Declaration of Tokyo, obliging doctors to denounce and report torture whenever they encounter it. There is voluminous evidence documenting the visits of Israeli doctors to prisoners, seeing prisoners at various points during and after episodes of torture, and failing to take a proper history or make protest, but instead, returning the prisoners to their interrogators. This includes the IMA’s complicity and silence during the current Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, as IPS has been reported to confiscate salt from prisoners rooms, which is essential for their health and safety during the strike. We recall here how the Medical Association of South Africa’s was obliged to withdraw from the WMA on the issue of medical complicity[1].

The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has always been at the forefront of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and self determination. As the hunger of Palestinian prisoners bangs the walls of their prison cells[2], we in turn to prod the conscience of international civil society to hold Israel accountable to international law by intensifying BDS campaigns against it.

[1] For more information, see:

Both Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) have submitted documentation to the WMA in support of the demand for examining the record of complicity of the IMA in torture.

[2] Refers to Ghassan Kanafani’s famous “Why didn’t they bang the walls of the tank?” from his novel, Men in the Sun. Kanafani is a leading Palestinian writer who was assassinated by Israel in 1972 at the age of 36.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat

October 11, 2011 - From ISM Gaza

Three international activists residing in Gaza have entered their fifth day of an open-ended hunger strike and protest encampment in front of the ICRC.

Vera Macht, Germany, stated: "The situation of Palestinian prisoners is truly heartbreaking. Parents are separated from their children, and wives from their husbands, for years, without so much as a letter or video."

Silvia Todeschini, Italy, stated: "They have been on strike for over two weeks with very basic demands. We will strike with them, and hope that this will help to stop the world's silence about their situation."

Joe Catron, United States, stated: "Palestinian prisoners are bravely resisting a system that seeks to crush them, their families, their communities, and their national life. Their struggle deserves our full support."

An open-ended hunger strike was announced by Palestinian prisoners on 27 September. The prisoners are demanding better conditions, an end to isolation and degradation by Israeli prison guards, and for a change in the policy that denies many prisoners the right to have visitors. Additionally, many prisoners are calling for the release of Ahmad Sa'adat, a political prisoner and former General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Palestinian officials estimate that 2,000 prisoners have joined the hunger strike.

In Gaza, hundreds have been gathering in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on a daily basis to demonstrate for prisoner rights. Protesters have maintained a permanent encampment in and around the ICRC courtyard since Sunday, 2 October.

Report of successful éirígí demonstration for Palestinian political prisoners - Dublin
October 7, 2011

On Wednesday evening [October 5] éirígí held a successful candlelight vigil in support of Palestinian prisoners who have embarked on a hunger strike in protest against the way in which they are being detained and treated.

Around 50 activists gathered outside the Israeli Embassy on Pembroke Road to express both their solidarity with the protesting prisoners and their revulsion at the treatment they are being subjected to. The hunger-strike was initiated by prisoners from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] on Tuesday 27th September but has now been joined by prisoners aligned to other Palestinian groups. Details are sketchy but it appears that the protest has spread right across the Israeli prison system and now involves hundreds of prisoners. The prisoners are protesting principally against the extent of the isolation and solitary confinement to which they are subjected.

According to the Israeli Human Rights Group B’Tselem, Palestinian prisoners are routinely subjected to far more widespread mistreatment that involves “sleep deprivation, tying a detainee to a chair in painful positions, beating, slapping, kicking, threats, verbal abuse and humiliation, bending the body in extremely painful positions, intentional tightening of handcuffs, stepping on worn manacles, application of pressure to different parts of the body, forcing the detainee to squat in a painful position, choking and other forms of violence and humiliation (e.g. spitting and pulling hair, solitary confinement, exposure to extreme heat and cold, continuous exposure to artificial light, and confinement in inhuman conditions.” The truth is that what this ‘treatment’ amounts to is in fact systematic torture.

Speaking at the protest, éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac an Mháistir took the opportunity to express the party’s solidarity with the protesting prisoners and the PFLP. He noted the gravity of the situation and appealed for progressives to do all they can to bring attention to the plight of the prisoners.

Mac an Mháistir referred to the “long and painful history of hunger-striking in Ireland” and stated his “fervent wish that no Palestinian prisoners would have to die in the face of Israeli government intransigence just as happened in Ireland in 1981 when 10 men died on hunger-strike.

He concluded by reiterating éirígí’s support for the “ending of the occupation of Palestine, which is the primary reason why an estimated 7,000 plus Palestinian men and women are in Israeli jails in the first place.”

From Hadas Ziv of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

2011/10/11 Hadas Ziv

Dear all,

As you are probably aware as of Tuesday, 27 September 2011, more than one hundred Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike to protest the intentionally harmful policies of the Israeli government toward them, including harsh conditions of incarceration and collectively hostile treatment. PHR Israel together with Adalah and Al-Mezan issued a press release supporting the prisoners' demands to guard their human rights and dignity.

On October 2nd the three organizations sent a letter to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) insisting that - The IPS will refrain from punishing and violating the rights of the hunger striking prisoners. It is important to explain that the IPS tends to use punitive measures – some of which are entrenched in the IPS regulations that define the announcement on a hunger strike as an act of violation of order. Those punitive measures – in and outside of IPS regulations – are violating the prisoners' basic and constitutional rights, and their right to health. This is especially worrying taking into account that the hunger strike was ignited by the government's declared policy of worsening conditions in jails. As remembered, PM Netanyahu declared of changing jail conditions as a measure of pressure on Hamas following its refusal to allow the Red Cross to visit Gilad Shalit.

IPS Punitive Measures usually include:

Solitary confinement: .The UN Committee Against Torture has sharply criticized the prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners, regarding it as an act of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT) that constitutes a violation of Article 11 of the CAT, which requires States parties to ensure systemic review of conditions of incarceration,18 and of Article 16, which obliges states to protect prisoners under their jurisdiction from CIDT. In its Concluding Observations on Israel from June 2009,19 the committee criticized Israel’s use of solitary confinement against Palestinians during interrogation and imprisonment, demanding that it be used in an exceptional manner and in accordance with international minimal standards.

Preventing or Delaying the entry of independent doctors to examine prisoners: _According to international conventions and ethics of the World Medical Association, It is of utmost importance that during a hunger strike the medical care will be given by independent doctors whom the prisoners can trust.

In addition to these punitive measures that stand in complete disregard to IHL including the Geneva Convention, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment all of which explicitly defend prisoners' rights – including their right to meet their lawyer, to have family visits, to hold on to their personal equipment and any electric equipment and buy in the canteen. It also prohibits exaggerated fines, confiscation of books and newspapers, and of liquids and salts.

PHR-Israel received news of prisoners being sent to solitary confinement due to their hunger strike already from the second day of the strike, confiscation of personal and electric equipment, revocation of family visits and putting food tray to their cells. 20 prisoners who are held on solitary confinement had joined the strike, this in addition to 6 ill prisoners, who joined the strike demanding proper medical care.

PHR-Israel had appealed to its internal and family doctors to volunteer to visit the prisoners that are on hunger strike – _a request to allow them visit all prisoners on hunger strike was sent to the IPS and was refused, _stating that each prisoner must request our doctor specifically. In addition a letter was sent to the chief medical officer of the IPS, Dr. Dini Orkin-Tishler, calling her to adhere to medical ethics and refrain from using medical professionals and medicine as a tool in fighting against the strike.

PHR Israel, Adalah and Al Mezan asks that you to assist us in defending the rights of the prisoners under hunger strike by:

A) call on the Israeli authorities to allow independent doctors visit and monitor their situation;

B) request an update of their situation.

C) Insist on the IPS' doctors' responsibility to inform the families of prisoners on their health condition.

See also Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike resonates worldwide

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are a joke
You support Hamas: holocaust deniers, anti jews, jews killers, but freedom fighters.
You oppose Atzmon:holocaust denier, anti jew, freedom fighter.

because He took your place, what a shame, you are pushed away from everything.
Palestinians and Jews.
Next you will be welcomed by the Zio's.

Tony Greenstein said...

'You support Hamas'.

Maybe the idiot Zionist could point to a single quote where I support Hamas politically? Of course I support them, as the representative of an oppressed people, when Judeo Nazis bomb civilians and chicken farms and sewerage plants.

Actually Atzmon took your place. He regularly quotes from early Zionists like Borochov and Syrkin to show how bad Jews are. It's no wonder that Zionists have said virtually nothing about him and the organiser of his Freiburg conference boasted that they expected trouble from Zionists but it was us what did the damage.

But then again I suspect this is an Atzmonite dressed up in Zionist clothing (not that there's much difference between them!).

Josh said...

Great to read Greenstien a real Anti Semite supports Holocaust denial and killing of Jews (but not politically).
“Of course I support them, as the representative of an oppressed people”

So killing Jews and deny the holocaust is ok according to antisemite Tony Greenstein as long is it not done politically.

That's great news to spread all over..........

Tony Greenstein said...

It's always good to have a prime example of the more moronic tendency of Zionism, as represented by Josh. They are strong on assertion but a little less so on fact. Unsurprisingly. So apparently:

'Greenstien a real Anti Semite' [who in Zionist eyes isn't?] supports Holocaust denial and killing of Jews (but not politically).

Apart from not spelling my name correctlyI apparently support Holocaust denial. And does moron Josh provide any evidence, a quote or some such. Ahem no.

Instead, in the classic guilt-by-association technique, because I support the right of those democratically elected to govern, which in this case is Hamas,I support holocaust denial! And what about the Palestinian Authority and Abbas? Abbas actually wrote a thesis supporting holocaust denial but because he is one of Josh's good guys he isn't mentioned.

Hamas don't support holocaust denial. I doubt they even know what it means. They reflect some ideological baggage of European holocaust deniers but that is entirely different. There has never been any social basis for anti-Semitism in the Arab world unlike Europe where it certainly put down roots. That is why alone among Nazi occupied states, it was the Arab countries and Moslem Albania which didn't report Jews to their deaths. But being a simpleton our dear Zionist is hard put to understand this.

Josh said...

GREENSTEIN - Playing the Naive fool.
"Hamas don't support holocaust denial. I doubt they even know what it means."

keep on protecting your Hamas Antisemite hero's, it's a great publicity.

open letter to UNRWA Chief John Ging regarding the Holocaust stating that the group refuses to “let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists”.

Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi held that the Holocaust never occurred.
A press release by Hamas in April 2000 decried "the so-called Holocaust, which is an alleged and invented story with no basis.

So killing Jews and deny the holocaust is ok according to Tony Greenstein as long is it not done politically.

Tony Greenstein said...

Well in that case, Josh, you are even more of a Zionist turd. Since Shin Bet, Israel's secret police, virtually created Hamas in the 1980's in order to undermine secular Palestinian nationalism.

People like the Marxist Ahmad Sadat of the PFLP languish on hunger strike after having been in solitary confinement for 700 days so little Jewish fascists like you can wax lyrical on all the tragedies you bring about.

Holocaust Denial is a phenomenon encouraged by Zionism as a means of bolstering its myths of anti-Semitism. No one has done more to increase holocaust denial, by conflating Israel and the Holocaust, more than scum Zionists like yourself.

Pity you are too thick to understand.

Josh said...

I knew you are going to delete my last comment, as you don't have any answer and evidence to your stupid claim that Holocaust Denial is encouraged by Zionist.

Your Antisemite views are known already.

Tony Greenstein said...

If you knew I was going to delete your last comment why post it? I deleted it because Zios like Josh resort to ritual abuse when they lose the argument and I won't have that in discussions.

Yes Zionists welcome holocaust denial because it 'proves' that the Palestinians oppose Israel for anti-semitic reasons. And how is this achieved? Simple. They repeatedly justify Zionism's barbarities by reference to the holocaust.

Who can forget Begin, bombing Beirut's civilian population in 1982, describing the situation as Arafat, like Hitler, in his bunker. It is reasonable in such circumstances, even if politically wrong and stupid, that Arabs will turn around and say that if the holocaust legitimises Israel then it couldn't have occurred.

The fact that the death of 5-6 million Jews is used as a stage prop to excuse further massacres shows just how sickening Zionism really is. It uses the Jews who died in the holocaust to justify its own racism, something even more twisted and grotesque given that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Hitlerites continuously from 1933 to 1945 and but for which many fewer Jews would have died.

I knew you are going to delete my last comment, as you don't have any answer and evidence to your stupid claim that Holocaust Denial is encouraged by Zionist.

Your Antisemite views are known already.

Josh said...

Where is a proof that Zionist support Holocaust DENIAL, show me one, your attempt to escape with your ridiculous empty words, just shows that you have NO evidence and no proof.
You are the one that supports those who deny the Holocaust , you asked your naive question for proof and you got it, while you have non.
That leaves us with the base that you are an Antisemite.

I lost interest in your hopeless attempt to defend your zero views.
No wonder you are a lost case even by the Palestinians,as you are just another antisemite.

Anonymous said...

Tonyle' never had any evidence to back up his empty Shallow idea's, that's why he never had the balls to have any real debate and always hides behind ridiculous explanations.
Josh it is not new, that's why he lost all his credibility he never had....
Good to here that he is now named antisemite.
I think this is even a compliment for this persona.

Tony Greenstein said...

Josh asks where the proof is that Zionists support Holocaust Denial and then, sure enough, a holocaust denier, Gilad Atzmon, turns up to congratulate him!

I know you are cerebrally challenged Josh but I didn't say that Idiot Josh or his clones had encouraged Paul Eisen to put pen to paper. The argument is somewhat subtler and therefore, unsurprisingly, it isn't something that this minor propagandist can deal with.

To repeat. Zionism, in its attempts to use the holocaust as a cloak and justification for all the many abominations directed at the Palestinians, thereby cheapens the holocaust and opens it to doubt. Because people say, quite understandably, that if the use of white phosphorous against Palestinian school children, if the imprisonment without trial of thousands of Palestinians, if the confiscation of their land and the destruction of their villages is because of something called the 'holocaust' then maybe it didn't occur.

And some people take it a step further, such as Josh's fellow idiot Ahmedinajad, and say that if the holocaust gives Zionism legitimacy, then if we deny the holocaust Zionism is illegitimate. The problem with this is that the holocaust did occur and therefore, by their own logic, Israel is legitimate.

I know it's a complicated argument (actually not really, but for a simple hasbarist it is) Josh so I understand if you can't quite get your head around the fact that for Zionism, holocaust denial is a boon.

That is why you have Israelis now who identify with the Nazis and also identify the Left and the Palestinians with the Nazi's enemies. See http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2010/02/hitler-was-right-say-zionists.html which shows Josh's friends at work.

And as more proof, we have Atzmon leaping to your defence Josh (yes it is he and his trademark). And yes Atzmon I'm happy to debate with you but throwing down a challenge to me, which I accepted, and then expecting me to do the organisation is a bit much! But yes in principle I am committed to debating with you next year.

Unlike many of my compatriots I am not at all afraid to go into the ring and deflate your ego (just hoping that the resulting wind won't blow the audience away!)

Anonymous said...

tonyle'
You lost the debate before it even started.
Tle'G: "Hamas don't support holocaust denial. I doubt they even know what it means." that's an intellectual remark....... if you doubt they even know what it means (......don't they ?) how do u come to the conclution they don't support something they don't know.....
and then you claim "And does moron Josh provide any evidence, a quote or some such. Ahem no."
But Josh brings you evidence

And then tonyle' writes his remarkable intellectual discovery "Holocaust Denial is a phenomenon encouraged by Zionism"
So josh asks for "evidence to your stupid claim that Holocaust Denial is encouraged by Zionist."
But Tony'le as usual has NO evidence, only his super bla bla rhetoric "cut and paste" puding again and again.

Josh asked you for evidence again and not for your reused puding.
But As you don't have any a basic intellectual integrity, you keep on with your bla bla, but again NO evidence....... you are doomed tonyle'.

Tony Greenstein said...

How interesting. Gilad Atzmon, aka a holocaust denier, leaps to the defence of Josh!

Atzmon thinks my logic is faulty. Not at all. If Hamas know nothing about the holocaust, let alone what denial means, then how can they be holocaust deniers? Normally people support things they do understand (though in Atzmon's case I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt!).

Holocaust denial is a European, neo-Nazi affair. it has no social or material roots in the Arab countries. People who espouse holocaust denial are usually merely echoing a commonplace or in effect saying 'we don't support Israel and as the holocaust is used to justify and legitimise the holocaust we don't support that either.' It's a totally different phenomenon from the European neo-Nazis that Atzmon hangs around with.

I'm not aware that Josh has brought any evidence that Hamas understands what the holocaust means. They put stupid phrases about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion into their Charter to annoy the animals, just as children like to provoke.

Yes I answered the claim that Zionism encourages indeed thrives upon holocaust denial and its practitioners like Atzmon. And I answered it. if you use the holocaust to justify things like the invasion of Gaza you are obviously encouraging people to deny the holocaust, i.e. the excuse for carrying out the particular barbarity. it's an easy argument to understand but Atzmon and his Zionist friend clearly don't understand it.

Atzmon's concern is touching but doom is not something I deal with, merely massive egos.

Anonymous said...

Greenstein produces no evidence for his claim that Atzmon’s view of Jews is ‘an essentialist view based on a racist outlook’. None whatsoever – all he can do is misquote Atzmon in a particularly silly way. On his own blog, Greenstein’s co-thinker Brian Robinson admitted misquoting Atzmon in this way, his clear statements that he did not consider Jews to be an ethnic group or ‘race’ at all being twisted to say the exact opposite. In Robinson’s case, he at least acknowledged that he had made a mistake, but Greenstein would hear nothing of it, saying “I have no doubt he [sees Jews as a race – RS] – however he defines it”. No evidence of this, but much to the contrary.

redscribe

Looks like I am not the only one that thinks that you don't have any evidence.........
and u wish to debate..... you lost before it even started, no wonder you deleted my last comment as usual you don't have any answers.......