May 14, Chicago: Candlelight Vigil in Support of Palestinian Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Israeli prisons

On the 64th anniversary of Al-Nakba: there is no more time to wait, there is no more time to spare, NOW is the time for action! events/237334053037149/

WHAT: Candlelight Vigil in Support of Palestinian Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Israeli prisons

WHEN: Monday, May 14th, 2012
7:30 PM

WHERE: The Water Tower Park
806 N. Michigan Ave.
(corner of Chicago & Michigan Aves.)

WHY: In support of the prisoners’ demands:

1. An immediate end to administrative detention, the Israeli policy of imprisoning Palestinian activists and organizers for months, and sometimes years, without any formal charges.

2. An end to the policy of solitary confinement and isolation, which have been used to deprive Palestinian prisoners of their rights for more than a decade.

3. To allow the families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip to visit. This right has been denied to all families for more than 6 years.

4. An improvement in the living conditions of prisoners and an end to the “Shalit” law, which outlaws prisoners’ access to newspapers, learning materials, and many TV channels.

5. An end to the the policies of humiliation which are suffered by prisoners and their families, such as strip searches, nightly raids, and collective punishment.

Convened by the United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)-Chicago, along with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR), Palestinian American Youth League (PAYL), and Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG)

The condition of the 2500+ Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike is rapidly deteriorating.  Two of the prisoners, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, have passed their 70th day refusing food, putting them in critical condition and close to death.  The people of Palestine have stood in solidarity with the strikers; on May 9th, Palestinian youth blocked the UN offices in Ramallah, demanding that the U.N. take a stand to save the lives of the striking prisoners. Take action now to support the demands of the prisoners, which are basic and all in accordance with Geneva Conventions.

The forces of the Israeli occupation in the prisons, known as the Israeli Prison Service, have done everything they can to crush the strike, including cutting off the inmates from their lawyers and refusing the strikers access to the medical clinic unless they end the hunger strike.  In addition to these measures, they have also instituted a system of collective punishment of strikers, which includes solitary confinement, daily fines up to 500 NIS ($131 USD), confiscation of salt for water, denial of electrical supplies, and random body and cell searches.

Also, the prison service has unsuccessfully tried to undermine the unified Higher Committee of the Leadership of the Strike by attempting to meet individually with members of the committee.  This ploy was rejected immediately and unequivocally by the committee members approached.

Despite all of this repression, the prisoners remain steadfast, most recently stating in their fourth official communication: “We vow to live with dignity or die.”

In addition, today’s report from Palestine: