Friday, 15 April
G4S Office – NYC (19 W 44th St)
On 17 April each year, Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the world mark the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners.
Commemorated since 1974, when the first Palestinian prisoner, Mahmoud Hijazi, was freed in a prisoner exchange with the Palestinian Resistance, 17 April is a day of protests, rallies, marches, forums and more to commemorate the struggle of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli occupation jails and demand their freedom.
We join with the Palestinian prisoners’ movement in calling on organizations and people of conscience around the world to take action to to express solidarity and call for freedom for Palestinian political prisoners.
Over 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in Israeli jails. More than 700 of them are held in administrative detention without charge or trial. The others face military courts which convict over 99% of the Palestinians that appear before them. Over 400 Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are held in Israeli prisons.
Every night, Israeli occupation forces conduct violent armed invasions of Palestinian villages, cities, refugee camps and homes, ransacking them and arresting dozens of Palestinians. This comes amid near-daily killings and extrajudicial execution of Palestinians by occupation forces, the demolition of the homes of the families of Palestinian prisoners, new racist laws targeting Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, and further escalating repression.
International action has seen some response: G4S, the British-Danish security corporation targeted for a global boycott because of its role in providing security systems, control rooms and equipment to Israeli prisons, has announced it is selling off its Israeli subsidiary and leaving the market entirely. However, it’s critical to keep the pressure on G4S until their equipment and security systems are no longer being used to imprison Palestinians, block their movement at checkpoints, or besiege Gaza.
G4S doesn’t only profit on the imprisonment of Palestinians, of course. Black student movements at Columbia University, the University of California and Cornell University have led in building campus boycotts and divestment against G4S because of its role in private imprisonment in the United States, especially of youth, and have won significant victories. Organizing with movements confronting imprisonment and racist oppression, including the Black movement and the prison divestment movement, is particularly crucial in confronting common oppressors.
Palestinian Prisoners’ Day this year also comes amid international repression of Palestinian organizing – for example, the attacks on BDS in France and the arrest and prosecution of BDS activists – and the imprisonment and persecution of Palestinians and fellow strugglers in international prisons, as in the cases of Georges Ibrahim Abdullah, the Holy Land Five, and Rasmea Odeh. Confronting racism and oppression of all forms comes hand in hand with confronting Zionist settler-colonial racism in Palestine.
After a regular, weekly protest of G4S on Friday, join Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network as we rally with CUNY Prison Divest and NYC Students for Justice in Palestine on Sunday, 17 April to demand freedom for Palestinian political prisoners and an end to private, for-profit incarceration in the United States: