Prisoners unite to confront sanctions and repression imposed by occupation authorities

Occupation authorities have cancelled all visits to Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails until further noticed, Ma’an News reported on June 25. Amjad Najjar of the Palestinian Prisoners Society said that this is part of the campaign of repression targeting prisoners following the hunger strike.

111010-prisoner-solidarityThis comes in addition to a series of sanctions that occupation officials have announced, claiming that they are targeting prisoners belonging to Hamas movement, including limiting family visits to once every two months, denial or reduction of access to the canteen (from allowing deposits of 1200 shekels to 300 shekels only), restricting and changing recreation time, new searches, prohibition of newspapers and most television channels. Riad Ashqar of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for studies said that, “the occupation is trying to market the idea that these sanctions are specially targeted to Hamas prisoners, but due to the nature of prisoners’ life inside, this will not be faction-specific but will target all of the prisoners, as they cannot be separated from one another. This is in addition to the criminal mentality of the occupation which does not distinguish between prisoners and targets all prisoners.”

He noted that prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Islamic Jihad had issued statements confirming the unity of the prisoners and commitment to share in any suffering or hardship enacted upon their fellow prisoners by the occupation and to not allow the occupation to differentiate between them. Ashqar noted that in 2006, the occupation claimed to target Hamas prisoners with what were called the “Shalit laws,” but in fact these sanctions targeted all prisoners. “Unity is the only guarantee to achieve victory over the occupation,” said Ashqar.

The PFLP prison branch announced that its members refused to sign a pledge given to them by the Prison administration that they “bear the responsibility” for not leaving the prison sections they share in common with Hamas prisons. They had previously refused the prison administration’s statement that they should remove themselves from the common sections PFLP prisoners share with Hamas in various occupation prisons. “Prisoners do not leave their fellow prisoners from other factions alone in the battlefield,” they said.

The PFLP prisoners said that they “refuse to respond to requests, instructions and procedures for the benefit of the Zionist prisons…the policy of pledge signing aims to humiliate prisoners, undermine the achievements of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and discriminate between one prisoner and another.”

The PFLP prisoners said further that they refuse to deal with any malicious Zionist attempts to discriminate between prisoners on a factional basis, refuse to leave common sections with Hamas and are commited to the unity of the prisoners; movement. “The suffering of the prisoners due to the campaign of systematic, harsh penalties is a brutal attack on all prisoners without discrimination.” The PFLP prisoners said that “the prisoners’ movement will remain united to confront Zionist attacks…the prisoners are in the process of developing a program of all-out confrontation of the prison administration in the coming days to demand an end to the systematic repression of detainees, especially Hamas prisoners.”