250 Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention in the “Negev” prison in the Naqab desert in the south of Palestine announced they will launch an open-ended hunger strike to defeat administrative detention. The statement, released on 18 August, also expressed support for their fellow administrative detainee, Muhammad Allan, 31, who just ended his 65-day hunger strike last night, 19 August, after a decision by the Israeli supreme court and severe damage to his health including brain damage; Allan is now again in a coma.
250 of the nearly 400 Palestinian administrative detainees are held in the Negev prison, among 1500 Palestinian political prisoners. Much of the Negev prison is constructed in tents, and Palestinian prisoners are suffering in a heat wave, with blazing sun and little protection from the elements.
Nidal Abu Aker, 49, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, is one of the leaders of the administrative detainees’ initiative, according to Ma’an News. The host of “In their cells,” a program about Palestinian prisoners that airs on Sawt al-Wihda radio station – the only radio station to broadcast from Dheisheh camp – he has spent 12 years in Israeli prisons, 9 years in administrative detention without charge or trial. He was most recently arrested in June 2014 and his administrative detention has been renewed four times, most recently in May.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes these brave prisoners, who are putting their bodies and lives on the line to confront the occupier and its continual assaults on Palestinian lives. We demand their immediate release, the end of administrative detention – and the liberation of all of the nearly 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners. We pledge to act to build solidarity with their struggle, and urge all around the world to organize protests, actions and events to demand the release of Palestinian political prisoners and an end to administrative detention.
The statement of the 250 administrative detainees follows:
The Battle of Breaking the Chains
To the masses of our great people, the heroes of revolution, the fiery fuel of confrontation of the Zionist occupation and the fascist colonists, to our youth, our mothers and sisters; our struggle does not relent because of your sacrifices. We greet you for Palestine.
Today we face the escalating Zionist attacks against our people in general and against the rights of our Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and massive harassment, frenzied campaigns of inspections and raids and the denial of the most basic rights of living that provide a minimum of human dignity. We face the continuation of the Palestinian division and its impact on the reality of our national movement in the prisons of the occupier. And we face the persistence of the occupier in enacting new fascist and racist laws, such as the law of death and the law of force-feeding which was recently passed, and the growing use of administrative detention. It represents a clear and explicit violation of all international conventions and human rights principles, where we are arrested for extended periods, for years continuously, at the mercy of a so-called “secret file,” where we have no right to defend ourselves. Administrative detention is a sword hanging over our necks, that eats away our flesh and blood and years of our lives without trial and without mercy.
It is used relentlessly by the enemy intelligence service and by the military courts. There have been more than 480 administrative detention orders issued, the number of administrative detainees rising to a height of 650 since just last summer. Most administrative detainees have their detention orders renewed more than once. Some have spent more than five years and others ten years in administrative detention over repeated arrests. In light of this detention, we consider ourselves to be in a continuing struggle of confrontation with the occupier.
Therefore, we have made our first step in confronting this form of arrest: boycotting the occupation courts issuing administrative detention orders, fully and finally, to reveal and expose the occupation before our people, our Arab nation and international public opinion, where the occupier attempts to legitimize its detention of us.
Through dialogue and discussion between all administrative detainees of all political forces, with the commitment of 80 detainees we began to act from the date of 1 July 2015, where we boycotted the Zionist military courts and refused to appear because they are am illegitimate sham. We were denied the right to access our lawyers, denying us the right to a defense and representation.
We view this as a step that advances the prisoners’ movement in confronting administrative detention, to stand up and play our national role in confronting the arbitrary administrative detention. Some administrative detainees have undertaken individual hunger strikes in protest of administrative detention in general and their personal detention, as is their right. Despite this, we view the collective action on a national level is more capable of creating real results to break the policy of administrative detention. However, the endangered life of Mohammad Allan since two months has confronted the occupation and its tools, and is threatened with the implementation of a decision of force-feeding. We resolve to fight against the occupation and its intelligence apparatus in the battle of empty stomachs, in order to achieve the following demands:
1. The end of the administrative detention policy against our people and their strugglers.
2. The support to the struggler Muhammad Allan; we will not leave him alone in the battle. We refuse any decision that does not provide his freedom, and we refuse any decision to deport him, which is another violation of human rights.
3. Bringing down the law of force-feeding against activists on hunger strike, as it represents a decision for their death and a flagrant violation of international human rights principles.
4. Our immediate freedom and unconditional release, as a contribution to the demolition of the policy of administrative detention.
5. To break the deadlock and internal division, and to unify the Palestinian forces for joint national action inside the prisons, culminating in true national unity.
To the struggling masses of our people, we face a complex reality that already sees a number of striking prisoners threatened with death at the hands of the prison administration and intelligence services. We cannot stand idly by and observe from afar, our will and action is united with the popular and national movement and support from the Palestinian street. We emphasize that we are with you and without your support, we cannot achieve our demands. Without you, Palestine will not enjoy its freedom, independence and the return of her children.
You and your will are great, and your participation will bring victories and the rights of our people. You are with us as we are fighting our battle in confronting the occupation, and we are inevitably victorious.