Seven more Palestinian prisoners have joined the Battle of Breaking the Chains hunger strike demanding an end to administrative detention. As Nidal Abu Aker, Ghassan Zawahreh, Shadi Ma’ali, Munir Abu Sharar and Badr al-Ruzza entered their 31st day of hunger strike, along with Bilal Daoud Saifi and Suleiman Skafi, seven more prisoners joined the strike and many more announced they would begin on 10 October if the Israeli state does not respond to the prisoners’ demand to end the practice of administrative detention. Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial by the Israeli military on the basis of secret evidence.
The Israeli Prison Services proposed deportation to the prisoners in exchange for ending their strike over the weekend, which was firmly rejected by all the strikers. Nidal Abu Aker communicated through his lawyers that no further negotiations have taken place by the prison administration. All of the strikers are rejecting medical examinations and vitamins.
Muaz Abu Nassar, Uday Bayoumi, Mohammed Huarin, Moatassem Rakabban, Ahmad Badawi, Ashraf Zagara and Hassan Zagara joined the strike on 20 Octover. Bayoumi is from Jerusalem, while the other six are all Palestinian refugees residing in Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem. Abu Aker, Zawahreh, Ma’ali and Al-Ruzza are also all Palestinian refugees resident in Dheisheh camp. (See Reham Alhelsi’s interviews with their mothers here.) All seven have joined the open hunger strike and are on their third day of strike.
Abu Aker, Zawahreh, Ma’ali, Abu Sharar and al-Ruzza have now been on hunger strike for 34 days; Saifi for 26 days and Skafi for 23 days. Despite the lengthy strike, significant medical symptoms and the loss of large amounts of weight, all of the strikers continue to be held in small solitary confinement cells and denied access to cold water, fresh air and their personal belongings.
The Israeli Prison Administration closed off all of the cells shared by Palestinian prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, after PFLP prisoners undertook a one-day hunger strike in support of the Palestinian administrative detainees’ hunger strike, the Battle of Breaking the Chains, on Saturday 19 September. This comes after reports that the prison administration threatened imprisoned PFLP General Secretary, Ahmad Sa’adat, as well as PFLP leader Wael Jaghoub, with isolation and solitary confinement.
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. Samidoun emphasizes that the Israeli occupation is fully responsible for the lives and health of the strikers. 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.