London: Activists protest in solidarity with Jordanian hunger strikers

Inminds Palestinian Prisoners Campaign activists in London held their second protest outside the Jordanian embassy in solidarity with the Jordanian hunger strikers on Friday, July 5.

They had issued the following call for the protest. For more information, please see Inminds on Facebook.

“Friday 5th July will mark 65 days of hunger strike for 5 Palestinian political prisoners with Jordanian citizenship in Israeli occupation jails. The prisoners families are asking for the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners, and in the very least Israel be made to abide by its side of the shameful Wadi Araba normalisation agreement which King Hussein signed with Israel in 1994, under which Jordanian prisoners in Israeli jails should be transferred to Jordan to serve their sentences where at least the families of the prisoners can visit – Israel is at present preventing families of the prisoners from visiting them. The prisoners are also demanding Israel disclose the where about of 20 Jordanian prisoners who are missing, and to return the bodies of the prisoners who have died in Israel custody, which Israel has dumped in numbered graves, back to their families.

It should be noted that Jordanians have consistently demanded their government tear up the treacherous Wadi Araba peace agreement in which King Hussein sold out the Palestinians, and in return gained nothing other than shame for Jordan. Needless to say Israel has been a serial violator of the treaty from day one.. its assassination attempt of Khaled Meshaal in 1997 to its Judaisation of Jerusalem, and its restrictions on access to holy places in Jerusalem..

The five hunger strikers: Abdullah Al-Barghothi, Hamzah Al-Dabbas, Muneer Merei, Alaa Hammad and Mohammad Al-Rimawi have each lost over 18kg in weight. Some of the prisoners have lost their ability to walk and are confined to wheel chairs. Mohammad Al-Rimawi, who suffers from a heart disorder where sometimes his heart beat is 125 and sometimes it drops to 50 beats per minute, is being denied his medicine by the Israeli Prison Service until he agrees to stop his hunger strike. Prisoners are being pressured to stop their hunger strikes with their cells being raided and attack dogs being used in order to intimidate them. As the strike persists the methods employed by Israel are getting more violent. On 26th June 2013 Israeli guards attacked Abdullah Al-Barghouti in the hospital, they dragged him from his hospital bed to the concrete floor and kicked him in the face, causing bleeding.

There have been over 85 demonstrations in Jordan by the families of the prisoners – elderly mothers standing in the burning sun, at several protests each day! Even a 22km solidarity march from one city to another.. All of this falling on deaf ears with the Jordanian government shamefully abandoning the prisoners and according to some accounts even pressuring the prisoners to give up their hunger strike.

Terrified by the iron will of the families and friends of the hunger strikes to relentlessly carry on protesting everyday and the support and respect they garner in wider society and the resulting momentum building up to end the states total submission to every whim of the Zionist enemy, the Jordanian security services have come down very hard on the protesting families. Family members have been threatened with arrest if they persist to champion their loved ones in Israeli dungeons. They dragged away a 16 year old boy, a nephew of one of the hunger strikes, to prison and locked him up for 3 days – his crime was to hand out a leaflet about his uncles’ imprisonment in an Israeli prison. On another occasion, wearing military camouflage uniforms that have never seen service on the enemy front line, the security forces with batons drawn, attacked a peaceful protest with plain cloths security service personnel cowardly targeting hunger striker Muneer Meree’s brother, assaulting him before disappearing back behind the uniform lines.

Its with this backdrop of intimidation, that we made contact with activists in Jordan. The families and campaigners in Jordan courageously, at great personal risk to themselves, asked us to help internationalise the campaign by protesting in solidarity with them in London outside the Jordanian Embassy in a joint protest, with them protesting in Jordan outside the Royal Court (Central Government buildings) on the same day at the same time. That was last Sundays protest, this Friday we build on that success with another protest outside the Jordanian Embassy.”