Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network participated in a discussion in Madrid, Spain, organized by the Forum Against Imperialist War and NATO, focused on the struggle of Palestinian prisoners in the Palestinian liberation struggle, on Monday, 19 September.
Charlotte Kates, international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, and Khaled Barakat, Palestinian leftist writer and spokesperson of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, discussed the situation of the Palestinian struggle today.
Kates discussed the situation of Palestinian prisoners today, including the imprisonment of over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, nearly 750 of them under administrative detention without charge or trial. She also noted that nearly 400 Palestinian children are currently held in Israeli prisons. She noted that Palestinian prisoners are leaders of the Palestinian liberation movement being isolated from their communities by the Israeli occupation in an attempt to suppress the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, and that they represent the Palestinian resistance and Palestinian national unity.
In conclusion, she emphasized the importance of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and the international isolation of Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle. She also noted that the role of complicit states is not limited to political, military and economic support, but through repression and imprisonment themselves, in particular noting the case of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Lebanese communist struggler for Palestine in French jails for 32 years and urging participation in the week of action 15-22 October for his liberation.
Khaled Barakat presented a historical and present-day view of the Zionist settler colonial project in Palestine, noting that the Palestinian people’s struggle has continued for 100 years from the beginning of British colonization and the Balfour declaration. He also noted the leading role of Palestinian prisoners in cultural resistance from the earliest days of British colonialism, producing poetry, literature and music behind colonial bars.
Barakat presented a political analysis of the current situation, beginning with a confrontation of the settler colonial nature of the Zionist project in Palestine and its fundamental illegitimacy as a project to serve imperialism while dispossessing the indigenous people of the land. He compared the Zionist project specifically with settler colonialism in the United States, Canada, Australia and elsewhere, noting the ongoing support and links that bind these countries together in interests and international positions.
He also emphasized the long history of international struggle with the Palestinian resistance, including mutual support among liberation movements throughout the 1960s and 1970s, tracing the history of the Palestinian revolution and the devastating effects of the 1993 Oslo agreement and the so-called “peace process” on the Palestinian national liberation movement.
Barakat discussed the role of various Palestinian political forces, noting that Fateh and Hamas represent “two right wings” of the Palestinian experience, noting that “a bird cannot fly with two right wings,” and urging the importance of the strengthening of the Palestinian left. In particular, he discussed the role, vision and perspective of the leading organization of the Palestinian left, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in terms of the necessity for the liberation of all of historic Palestine, the leading role of youth and women in the liberation movement and a historic vision of justice and liberation.
Listen to the recording of the event:
Kates and Barakat also participated in a meeting of Association Unadikum in Madrid on Saturday, 17 September. There, Kates briefly discussed the situation of Palestinian prisoners and the importance of international solidarity, while focusing on the cases of the three Palestinian hunger strikers, Mahmoud al-Balboul, Mohammed al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi. Barakat discussed the current Palestinian situation and presented the perspective of the Palestinian Left on key questions, including the illusions of the so-called “peace process,” the role of the Palestinian Authority and the importance of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.