May 5: Mobilize in support of Palestinian political prisoners!

This call to action has come from the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign:

The Palestinian political prisoners have become a symbol of steadfastness and unbreakable determination to stand up for freedom and justice. Counting on nothing more than their own imprisoned bodies and their free spirits, their hunger strikes have already been able to raise awareness and mobilize people across Palestine and the world.

At the moment some 2500 Palestinian prisoners are in hunger strike since April 17; eight other Palestinian political prisoners are hunger striking since over 50 days and are in critical medical conditions.  Tha’er Halahleh and Bilal Diab are in hunger strike since February 29 – for over 60 days.

Tomorrow, on May 1, many more prisoners will join the hunger strike.

We ask you to join the escalating protests within Israeli prisons with your solidarity: mobilize for solidarity actions and initiatives around the globe on May 5.

We ask you to:

·         Organize street protests and sit-ins

·         Create online actions to raise awareness

·         Denounce and campaign against contracts with Israeli or international companies involved in the Israeli prison system, such as G4S.

·         Protest the media blackout on the struggle of the Palestinian prisoners, reinforcing the isolation of the prisoners.

The Palestinian prisoners struggle is urgent and needs our immediate action.

Imprisonment is a key component of Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid practiced against the Palestinian people since decades. Some 40% of the male population of the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have been incarcerated by Israel.  As of April 2012, there were 4,610 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, including 203 child prisoners, 6 female prisoners and 27 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. 322 Palestinians are currently held in administrative detention, without charge or trial. Palestinian political prisoners face systematic torture and ill-treatment during their arrest and detention and are often  denied family and lawyer visits. Wide-ranging and collective punishments, including prolonged periods of isolation, attacks on prisoners by special military forces and denying access to education are used against Palestinian prisoners in an attempt to suppress any form of civil disobedience within the prisons.

The Israeli system of apartheid, occupation and colonization could not survive without the systematic repression and incarceration of Palestinians. At the same time, Israeli policies and mechanisms of repression would not be sustainable without international silence and active complicity. While UN bodies and international human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned Israeli practices of incarceration and lack of fair standards of trial, international corporations have supplied services and equipments to the Israeli Prison Authority and Israeli corporations grown within this system of incarceration are receiving contracts to export their “expertise”.

Now it is time to stop Israeli violations of Palestinian prisoners’ rights and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike who demand at the very least the respect of international standards of fair trial, international law and human rights, in particular:

·         An end to the policy of administrative detention (detention without charge or trial)

·         An end to the policy of solitary confinement

·         Immediate revocation of the “Shalit” law (a series of measures to punish prisoners for the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit through worsening their conditions of confinement)

·         An end to restrictions on and denial of appropriate medical care of prisoners

·         An end to restrictions on and denial of appropriate education for prisoners

·         Lifting the since 5 years lasting de facto ban on families from Gaza to visit their relatives in Israeli prisons; and access to family visits for the hundreds of families from the West Bank that suffer a similar ban

May 5: Act in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers!