Citizen Action Monitor

Today is Palestinian Prisoners Day – Over 1,000 prisoners launched a mass hunger strike

As an aside – When will Elizabeth May take her Green Party’s “targeted sanctions against Israel” for a test drive?

No 1935 Posted by fw, April 17, 2017

“In a statement in support of the strike, PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi affirmed on behalf of Palestinian leadership ‘unwavering commitment to ensuring the safe and unconditional release of all 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners…. Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip began nearly 50 years ago, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel, and in the past two years alone, at least 13 discriminatory and racist laws have been enacted by the Israeli government that deliberately target Palestinian prisoners and are in direct violation of international law and conventions… The entire global community should be alarmed by Israel’s willful breach and devaluation of the rights and lives of Palestinian political prisoners, especially in regards to the imprisonment and ill-treatment of Palestinian men, women, children, and the elderly,’ Ashrawi wrote in her impassioned statement.”teleSur English

Ma’an News Agency reports that of 1,688 prisoners, 57 are women, 300 children, 13 members of parliament, 500 administrative detainees, 800 prisoners who require medical care and 18 journalists.

Israeli hospitals have so far refused to force-feed hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, in line with accepted medical ethics that force-feeding is a form of torture. However, the Israeli Supreme Court recently ruled that force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners is constitutional.

*****

First, to the Elizabeth May sidebar — a December 9, 2016 Real News story noted the following:

Following the adoption of that BDS policy in August, the party came under intense attack from the mainstream media and from pro-occupation groups, and, after the convention in August, Elizabeth May briefly raised the prospect even of resigning from the leadership, but decided to remain leader when the party’s federal council called for a special meeting at which the members would be asked to revisit this boycott, divestment and sanctions policy. That meeting was held in Calgary, Alberta, just this past weekend, and at that meeting, over 84% of those present voted to replace the BDS policy with a motion calling for targeted sanctions on the State of Israel. The policy had the full support of the party’s leader, Elizabeth May.” —Dimitri Lascaris

Green Party member Dimitri Lascaris summarized what the new sanctions policy called for, including this general clause: “Although the policy makes no reference to the BDS movement, the policy expresses support for the three goals of that movement, which are: the right of return of Palestinian refugees; equality for Palestinians living in Israel; and the end of the Occupation.”

Although I no longer consider myself a member of the Greens, I continue to receive Elizabeth May’s Week in Review email. And I scan it in search of confirming evidence that Ms. May has not invoked the revised policy, has, in fact, remained silent on the Israel-Palestine issue. So far, she has confirmed my expectation.

Elizabeth May

In striking contrast, in her April 13, 2017 Week in Review newsletter, this item, under the heading Public Statements, caught my attention:

Statement on Passover 2017:

Elizabeth May extends best wishes to everyone recognizing Passover, which begins at sundown. Passover commemorates liberation from oppression, and is a time for family and friends to gather together for traditional Seder dinners and to celebrate hope, peace and freedom. Passover is central to the intergenerational continuity of Jewish life, and to the beliefs and values in the traditional exchange between children and elders around a shared and symbolic meal. Passover provides an opportunity for all of us to take a moment to reflect on those still suffering from discrimination and persecution.

Ms. May defends the right of all persons to belong to a society supportive of their dignity, health, and spiritual well-being.

It’s a pity the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, particularly those in Israeli prisons, do not appear to have Ms. May defending their rights “to belong to a society supportive of their dignity, health, and spiritual well-being.”

I won’t hold my breath waiting for the leader of the Green Party, Canada’s only federal party to adopt sanctions against Israel, to break her deafening silence by speaking in defence of Palestinian rights.

*****

Returning to Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, below is a slightly edited repost of the story. The repost begins with a 30-second embedded video about Dima Al-Wawi, a 12-year old Palestinian girl who was released last year from an Israeli prison. She was accused of trying to stab a soldier. She spent 75 days in prison, and her family had to pay a $2,100 USD bail for her release. Israeli law does not allow prison for children under 14, but it does for Palestinians.

Also, don’t miss the SEE ALSO link at the end of this post: Watch an excellent video report by Abby Martin with detailed facts about Israel’s imposition of Military Law in the West Bank.

To read the Prisoners’ Day story on teleSUR’s website and view the accompanying videos, click on the following linked title.

**********

Over 1,000 Palestinian Prisoners Launch Mass Hunger Strike by teleSUR English, April 17, 2017

[The following video appears in middle of the published version. I have chosen to present it here. Abbs Winston, who included the video as part of her tweet, wrote: “This 12-yr-old Palestinian girl spent 75 days in Israel’s prison…u know the…’only democracy in the Middle East’ #PalestinianPrisonersDay”. Note: if there is any problem viewing this video, watch it on teleSUR’s website by clicking on the above linked title].

On Palestinian Prisoners’ Day Monday, hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli prisons are staging a mass hunger strike, continuing the decades-long resistance of prisoners in the apartheid state.

Ma’an News Agency reported that prisoners throughout the country have purged all food products from their cells and have shaved their heads. According to Israel’s prison service, some 1,187 detainees from across the political spectrum are participating, with support from groups as diverse as the Palestine Liberation Organization  to the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, known as the PFLP.

In a statement in support of the strike, PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi affirmed on behalf of Palestinian leadership “unwavering commitment to ensuring the safe and unconditional release of all 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners.”

According to Ma’an, these prisoners include 57 women, 300 children, 13 members of parliament, 500 administrative detainees, 800 prisoners who require medical care and 18 journalists.

“Since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip began nearly 50 years ago, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel, and in the past two years alone, at least 13 discriminatory and racist laws have been enacted by the Israeli government that deliberately target Palestinian prisoners and are in direct violation of international law and conventions,” Ashrawi wrote in her impassioned statement.

“The entire global community should be alarmed by Israel’s willful breach and devaluation of the rights and lives of Palestinian political prisoners, especially in regards to the imprisonment and ill-treatment of Palestinian men, women, children, and the elderly,” she added.

The PFLP also released a statement in support of the strikers, saying, “…We salute every prisoner, the heroes and heroines of the battles of will and steadfastness … to the sick prisoners, administrative detainees and imprisoned leaders … and the long line of leaders who represent the national struggle and the prisoners’ cause.”

“We hope that the culmination of all of these battles waged by the prisoners inside the prisons, with the popular support inside and outside Palestine, will be to unify the prisoners’ movement, in light of the traditions and norms established by the prisoners’ movement for over 50 years, of prisons as revolutionary schools which unite all forces behind revolutionary national ideals,” the PFLP concluded.

The group also congratulated the longest-serving woman prisoner, Lena Jarbouni, on her freedom after 15 years in Israeli jails. Israeli authorities released Jarbouni Sunday, who stressed upon her release the right of Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation. She also expressed support for the prisoner’s strike.

Ahmad Herzallah, a former detainee and now with the Mohjat al-Quds Prisoners’ Association explained Jarbouni’s case to teleSUR. “Lina Jarbouni has been subjected to all forms of humiliation and repression practiced by the Zionist enemy against Palestinian detainees,” he said. “She is the only female prisoner who remained in Israeli custody after the Gilad Shalit’s exchange deal between Hamas and Israel in 2011, despite (the fact that) the agreement stipulated the release of all female prisoners under the deal.”

Jarbouni was detained on April 18, 2002 after Israeli army troops raided her home in the town of Arraba in Galilee over alleged charges of her affiliation with the Islamic Jihad movement and for housing Palestinian resistance fighters. Known for her advocacy for women’s rights inside Israeli jails, Jabrouni was elected to a leadership position of an organization of female Palestinian detainees in the Hasharon Prison.

The strike, which started Monday, is being led by Palestinian resistance leader Marwan Barghouti, who despite being imprisoned, has been touted as a possible future successor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Despite the mass uprising, an Israel Prison Service official reportedly said they would not be responding to any of the prisoners’ demands, according to Ma’an.

Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan has ordered a separate military hospital to be set up so that hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners are not taken to civilian hospitals. These hospitals have so far refused to force-feed hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, in line with accepted medical ethics that force-feeding is a form of torture.

The Israeli Supreme Court, however, recently ruled that force-feeding hunger-striking prisoners is constitutional.

While the strike began Monday, it is intended to be an open-ended one, with more prisoners expected to take part as the days go on. Protesters in support of the strikers are also staging mass rallies.

SEE ALSO

Empire Files: Silencing Palestine – Prison & Repression by teleSUR, April 11, 2017 — Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is an internationally-recognized human rights crime—but those being impacted are harshly punished for not only acts of resistance, but even mere advocacy for their rights. Getting detailed facts about Israel’s imposition of Military Law in the West Bank, Abby Martin visits the Ramallah offices of Addameer—the most prominent prisoners’ rights organizations in Palestine—for a shocking investigation into the use of Israeli jails and arbitrary laws as a weapon. Chronicling this history of resistance and repression from the First Intifada through the 2015 uprising, this episode shows what brutal lengths the Israeli occupation will go to silence any and all advocacy for freedom.

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