New Yorkers gathered on Monday, 20 November to protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, the protesters distributed flyers and information about the hunger strikes of Hamza Marwan Bouzia and Salah Khawaja as well as the growing international campaign to boycott Hewlett-Packard (HP) corporations for profiteering from the occupation, oppression, imprisonment and colonization of Palestine and the Palestinian people.
The protesters gathered outside the Best Buy electronics store in Manhattan’s Union Square. Protesters distributed leaflets about HP corporations’ role in developing and maintaining the infrastructure of Israeli apartheid, including its checkpoint and ID card system, prison administration and even the siege on Gaza through HP’s technical services to the Israeli navy. They urged shoppers to boycott HP consumer products like laptops, tablets, printers, ink and accessories so long as the corporation continues its contracts with Israeli occupation, including the occupation military and prison system.
The demonstrators also distributed information about two Palestinian political prisoners, Hamza Bouzia and Salah Khawaja, held without charge or trial under “administrative detention” and on hunger strike to demand their freedom. There are approximately 450 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial out of a total of 6,200 Palestinian political prisoners; administrative detention orders, first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate, are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed under these orders.
Participants in the demonstration reported great conversations and a high level of interest from passers-by as they successfully distributed hundreds of leaflets. Visitors who stopped by the protest included an organizer with the Palestine Solidarity Committee in Austin, Texas, a highly active student and community organization at the University of Texas.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network will be organizing another demonstration on Monday, 27 November, which will also highlight solidarity with the hunger strikers and all Palestinian prisoners as well as the boycott of HP products. Protesters will gather at 5 PM outside the Best Buy at 52 E. 14th St in Manhattan by Union Square; all supporters of justice for Palestine are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Samidoun activists in New York will be attending some of the many events taking place in the city marking 29 November, the 70th anniversary of the UN partition plan imposed on the Palestinian people and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. New York events include a conversation between Columbia and CUNY activists on divestment campaigns, a Palestinian cultural event at NYU, , and a panel discussion with Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi on the partition plan and its continuing meaning for Palestinian anti-colonial struggle.