The US Campaign to End the Occupation issued the following call to action, connecting campaigns against mass incarceration in the United States and Palestine:
Today, April 17, marks Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, a day of solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including children, held in Israeli prisons, many of them subjected to torture. Human rights organizations in Palestine/Israel released this joint statement outlining Israel’s ever-worsening abuses. An excerpt:“As of March 2015, 5,820 Palestinian political prisoners, including women and children, are being held in prisons located inside Israel, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel’s policies of detention and imprisonment are used in large part as political tools to suppress and maintain control over Palestinian society. These policies are intended to obstruct the daily lives and social fabric of Palestinians, and undermine their ability to oppose the Israeli occupation by criminalizing basic political affiliation and/or activities and employing methods such as torture and ill-treatment to target and intimidate individuals and communities.”
One of the latest of these prisoners is Palestinian parliamentarian, feminist, and leftist political leader Khalida Jarrar, whose case has garnered widespread international support since her arrest on April 2. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network has issued a Call to Action to support Jarrar with 8 actions, including a petition, via this link (scroll to bottom). Please show your support in any way you can!
Jarrar is being held in HaSharon Prison, operated by G4S, a British private security company that runs Israeli prisons. Palestinian civil society has specifically called for international action against G4S. See how you can start or join a G4S or prison divestment campaign:
Member group Friends of Sabeel – North America is tracking U.S. G4S contracts to help people like you launch campaigns in your community. Click here to learn how you can take action, as well as find great resources like factsheets and more!
Recently, Durham, North Carolina became the first U.S. municipality to drop G4S — whose contract was worth $1 million! — following an extraordinary interfaith coalition-led campaign, including member group Jewish Voice for Peace. Sign up here to watch a great briefing about how they ran their successful campaign!
Columbia Prison Divest calls for divestment from the private prison industry.
In the United States, G4S operates privatized juvenile detention facilities and works with Homeland Security to detain and deport people across the U.S./Mexico border, and to transport immigrants to detention facilities nationwide. Many divestment campaigns are drawing important connections between corporate complicity in the U.S.’s and Israel’s racist policies of policing and mass incarceration. An example of this is Columbia Prison Divest, which is working to push the university’s board of trustees to divest from the private prison industry. Please follow the campaign — and its many exciting milestones so far — on Facebook and Twitter, and consider sending individual or organizational letters of support.
The 2015 National Prison Divestment Week of Engagement is taking place next week, April 19-25! Campus and community organizers will be holding teach-ins, panels, and actions to engage with communities about the interconnected issues of mass incarceration, immigration enforcement, surveillance and policing. Click here for a full schedule of events happening online and from coast to coast. There will also be a National Convening in Boca Raton, Florida May 3-5.
Activists worldwide are taking action against prison profiteers like G4S. Over 20 South African businesses recently terminated G4S contracts. Last year on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, people like you called on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to divest from G4S, and the Foundation divested its entire stake.