Protesters gathered in New York City on Monday, 4 September to protest the imprisonment of Palestinian teen Hassan Abu Rish and his fellow Palestinian child prisoners held in Israeli jails. The protest, organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, took place outside the Union Square Best Buy electronics store, which sells Hewlett-Packard products. HP is subject to a global boycott campaign for its profiteering from Israeli occupation, oppression and apartheid through contracting with the Israeli prison system, military forces and system of checkpoints and ID cards.
The protest focused on Hassan Abu Rish, 16, a Palestinian teen organizer with the Nabed (Pulse) youth forum in his Jerusalem-area village of Ezzariyeh. Nabed is a group for Palestinian youth looking towards social change, justice and liberation from occupation, apartheid and colonization. There are over 300 Palestinian children under 18 imprisoned in Israeli jails. Hassan himself was very interested in organizing to raise awareness about the imprisonment of Palestinian youth; his brother has been jailed three times by Israeli occupation forces.
In the past 20 months, 22 Palestinian teens have been imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention orders, including Nour Issa, 16. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians have been jailed for years at a time with no charge and no trial under the pretext of a “secret file.” There are over 450 total Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention and nearly 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Activists from a number of organizations joined Samidoun in the protest, including a group from Students and Youth for a New America (SYNA), expressing solidarity with Palestinian youth imprisoned in Israeli jails.
Protesters distributed information about the situation of Palestinian prisoners as well as the involvement of HP in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, from the naval siege of Gaza to the imprisonment of thousands of political prisoners.
While the HP corporation has divided into several entities, they share resources and a common identity, and a growing number of churches, labor unions and other organizations are vowing to be “HP-free zones” until the corporation ends its involvement in and profiteering from Israeli apartheid and colonization.
Journalist Caleb Maupin also attended the protest and interviewed Joe Catron and John Fletcher of Samidoun about the ongoing protests and solidarity actions to support Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for freedom.
Samidoun will gather again next week in New York on Monday, 11 September at 4:30 pm, outside the Best Buy in Union Square. All supporters of justice for Palestine are invited to attend and join in the protest to free imprisoned French-Palestinian human rights defender Salah Hamouri.
Hamouri, a French-Palestinian dual citizen, field researcher for Addameer and recently graduated lawyer who just passed the Palestinian bar exam on 20 August, has just been ordered to three months in prison – the remain period of his earlier sentence before his release in 2011 in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange. Meanwhile, the Israeli prosecution is arguing instead for the imposition of a six-month administrative detention order, for imprisonment without charge or trial. People across France are organizing in solidarity with Salah, and Samidoun in New York will join them on 11 September.