From Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network:
In recent weeks, numerous Palestinian trade unionists and youth activists have been arrested from Jenin, Dheisheh refugee camp, Balata refugee camp, Beit Furik, and other areas in Bethlehem, Nablus and throughout the West Bank. In nighttime raids, Israeli military forces have been entering Palestinian towns and refugee camps and rounding up multiple prisoners, particularly focusing on grassroots community organizers; the majority of those abducted have been trade unionists and youth organizers. These Palestinian activists have been taken for interrogation and arbitrary detention.
These arrest raids are designed to target local Palestinian leaders and grassroots activists, and, in particular, trade union and workers’ organizers. There are currently nearly 5000 Palestinian political prisoners in occupation jails, despite October’s prisoner exchange – reports of new arrests, raids, and attacks have come on a daily basis. In fact, since the prisoner exchange, if anything, these raids have escalated, rapidly driving up the number of Palestinians held in occupation jails and offsetting the achievements of the exchange. It is clear that Israel has stepped up its campaign of mass arrests and local raids.
These attacks on labour organizers and leaders, including Sufyan Isteiti, Jamal Zubeidi and Majid Nueirat, come to demonstrate once more that the Israeli occupation is attempting to crush popular movements in Palestine through arrest raids, mass detentions and interrogations.
Israeli interrogation and detention centres are widely known for torture and abuse. In a video released yesterday on Israeli Channel 2, occupation soldiers are shown beating and abusing a young Palestinian man in detention. While the events portrayed in the video are only a pale shadow of the severe torture and abuse documented by Palestinian prisoners, the video’s revelation must remind us all of the threat to Palestinian labour leaders and grassroots organizers:
It is critical to make it clear that the world is watching, and that these arrest raids carried out under cover of darkness will not continue under cover of silence.
- Write to your MP in Canada, MEP in Europe, or Member of Congress in the U.S. and demand that your country pressure Israel to end this arrest campaign against grassroots Palestinian activists. Tell your representative that you are very concerned that your country is supporting the imprisonment and mass arrest of labour leaders and violations of their human rights in Palestine, and demand that the government put pressure on Israel to end these roundups.
- Trade Unionists and Labour Activists: Write letters and secure union resolutions and statements expressing support for Palestinian labour activists being targeted by the occupation – defend your union brothers and sisters!
- Protest outside the Israeli embassy in your area demanding freedom for political prisoners and an end to the raids and attacks on Palestinian labour and grassroots organizers. Locations in Canada:
- 50 Ocooner St. Suite 1005, Ottawa, Ontario – firstname.lastname@example.org (613)5676450
- 1 Westmount Square Suite 650 Westmont, Montreal, Quebec – email@example.com – (514) 9408500
- 180 Bloor St. West, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario – firstname.lastname@example.org – (416) 6408500
- Write to your local paper, or write on a blog or website about the situation of Palestinian political prisoners.\
- Contact us to organize events, activities, or for resources and information about Palestinian political prisoners at email@example.com.