On their twentieth day of hunger strike, five Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention without charge or trial in Israeli jails continued to demand their freedom and an end to the policy of administrative detention that currently imprisons 480 Palestinians. In addition, 70 more administrative detainees joined the boycott of detention hearings in the military courts as part of the growing protest against detention without charge or trial. Take Action to support the hunger strikers and call for freedom for administrative detainees!
Palestinian lawyer Moataz Shkeirat reported that the prisoners are boycotting the detention tribunals, saying they exist only to give a facade of legitimacy to arbitrary and illegitimate administrative detention.
Shadi Ma’ali, who along with Nidal Abu Aker, Ghassan Zawahreh, Badr al-Ruzza and Munir Abu Sharar, was one of the administrative detainees who launched the strike on 20 August, was moved yesterday from isolation cells into the areas where Israeli prisoners convicted in criminal courts are held in order to pressure him to end his strike.
This practice is used by the Israeli prison administration in order to threaten Palestinian prisoners with physical violence and beating at the hands of the Israeli prisoners. Ma’ali refused to drink water at this point and refused to enter the section, and was then returned to his isolation cell.
Ma’ali gave the following statement to his lawyer who met with him yesterday in the isolation section:
“Our faithful people, sons and daughters of our camps of steadfastness, our glorious mothers, we send you salutes of dignity from the isolation cells, from our eighteenth day of hunger strike. We say to you that we are aware of your great solidarity and the great spirit that our people possess, this people that never has and never will forget its prisoners. We are addressing you and we address everyone whose heart beats with freedom, and to everyone who says no, and a thousand nos, to oppression and injustice. We say, we have not taken this step towards this hunger strike because we love risk or adventure, nor for individual gains, but instead came from thorough, deep thinking with the purpose to break the policy of administrative detention completely, without any retreat. Therefore, be assured that your head will stay high and we will not disappoint you, never. We will not retreat from our step except with victory, which means freedom, or the eternal and immortal victory of martyrdom. This struggle is for you: we will be as you know us to be: men who walk with firm steps toward victory over chains and jailers.”
Nidal Abu Aker‘s administrative detention is scheduled to expire on 10 September. He was transfered to isolation in the Negev prison in the Naqab desert; he said that there are two possibilities: either he is released at the end of his detention period with no extension on 10 September, or the Israeli state will need to negotiate with the striking prisoners on their demands.
The demands of the strikers are:
1. Cancellation of the policy and the law of administrative detention.
2. Creation of an international commission to examine the issue of the “secret files” on Palestinian detainees.
3. The release of all administrative detainees, led by the hunger strikers
4. Guarantees of non-recurrence of administrative detention for those who have been repeatedly detained for long periods or on frequent and multiple occasions
5. Rejection and overturn of the force feeding law.
Protests continued throughout Palestine in support of the striking prisoners, with marches and rallies in Al-Khalil, Jenin, Bethlehem and Gaza City.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine held a press conference in Gaza announcing upcoming events and actions and urging more support for the prisoners. In Nablus, a march and rally wound from the home of Badr al-Ruzza, striking administrative detainee, through the city, pledging support and action for the striking prisoners.
Thabet Nassar, 37, Palestinian prisoner held in administrative detention without charge or trial, said that he would join the strike if his administrative detention is renewed for the sixth time in a row. He has been held in administrative detention since 4 October 2013. From the village of Madama in Nablus, Nassar is married with three children. He has been denied family visits for four months because of his participation in the boycott of the detention hearings in the military courts, and participated in a hunger strike in 2014 for over 60 days against administrative detention. He is currently held in the Negev prison and has spent over 12 years in Israeli jails over 7 arrests; he has been held in administrative detention for eight years total over multiple arrests.
There are currently nine prisoners on hunger strike; the five who launched the strike: Nidal Abu Aker, Ghassan Zawahreh, Shadi Ma’ali, Badr al-Ruzza and Munir Abu Sharar, have been on strike since 20 August. Bilal Daoud Saifi joined the strike on 30 August, followed by Suleiman Eskafi on 1 September and Amir Shammas on 2 September. On 3 September, Noor Jaber, a prisoner who is not held in administrative detention, launched a hunger strike to protest his arbitrary transfer.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with the striking prisoners, and calls for international actions, mobilizations and events to demand their freedom. We cannot wait until these brave strugglers are facing death to act and demand not only their freedom as individuals, but the abolition of administrative detention – on the road to freeing every Palestinian prisoner held in Israeli occupation jails. It is not the case that Israeli military courts are any more legitimate, fair or acceptable than administrative detention – they are just as arbitrary, racist and illegitimate. But administrative detention is a weapon of mass terror used against the Palestinian people, and it is critical to bring this practice to an end. These Palestinian prisoners have put their bodies on the line in order to end administrative detention – and it is imperative that we act to support them. These prisoners’ struggle is not only about their individual freedom – it is part of their struggle for return and liberation for Palestine.
1. Sign on to this statement in support of the prisoners’ demand to End Administrative Detention. Organizational and individual endorsements are welcome – and organizational endorsements particularly critical – in support of the prisoners’ demands and their actions. Click here to sign or sign below:http://bit.ly/EndAdministrativeDetention
2. Send a solidarity statement. The support of people around the world helps to inform people about the struggle of Palestinian prisoners. It is a morale booster and helps to build political solidarity. Please send your solidarity statements to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be published and sent directly to the prisoners.
3. Hold a solidarity one-day hunger strike in your area. Gather in a tent or central area, bring materials about Palestinian prisoners and hold a one-day solidarity strike to raise awareness and provide support for the struggle of the prisoners and the Palestinian cause. Please email us at email@example.com to inform us of your action – we will publicize and share news with the prisoners.
4. Protest at the Israeli consulate or embassy in your area. Bring posters and flyers about administrative detention and Palestinian hunger strikers and hold a protest, or join a protest with this important information. Hold a community event or discussion, or include this issue in your next event about Palestine and social justice. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us of your action – we will publicize and share news with the prisoners.
5. Contact political officials in your country – members of Parliament or Congress, or the Ministry/Department of Foreign Affairs or State – and demand that they cut aid and relations with Israel on the basis of its apartheid practices, its practice of colonialism, and its numerous violations of Palestinian rights including the systematic practice of administrative detention. Demand they pressure Israel to free the hunger strikers and end administrative detention.
6. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. Don’t buy Israeli goods, and campaign to end investments in corporations that profit from the occupation. G4S, a global security corporation, is heavily involved in providing services to Israeli prisons that jail Palestinian political prisoners – there is a global call to boycott it. Palestinian political prisoners have issued a specific call urging action on G4S. Learn more about BDS at bdsmovement.net.