Samidoun activists in New York City organized a protest on Monday, 27 November to support imprisoned Palestinian hunger striker Salah al-Khawaja and all Palestinian prisoners. The protest also came as part of global actions in support of the boycott of Hewlett-Packard (HP) corporations for its involvement in profiteering from and selling technology to sustain the occupation, oppression and colonization of Palestine.
Protesters gathered outside the Best Buy electronics store in Manhattan’s Union Square on Monday evening, distributing flyers and leaflets to passers-by on the busy holiday shopping evening. The electronics store sells many HP consumer products, including laptops, tablets, printers, ink and computer accessories. HP corporations have contracts with a range of Israeli security and military agencies.
These include the Israel Prison Service – where they maintain the database software of Palestinian political prisoners – the Israeli identity card and checkpoint system, and the Israeli occupation navy that maintains the brutal and deadly siege on the Gaza Strip, where over 2 million Palestinians live in what has been described as an open-air prison. The Israeli occupation navy targets Palestinian fishers and fishing boats for destruction, arrest and even death with the help of HP technology.
There is a growing global movement to boycott HP and demand the corporation cut ties with the occupation. Churches, labor organizations, student groups and others have declared themselves HP-free zones, refusing to buy HP products until the corporation ends its profiteering from Israeli apartheid and colonization. Participants in the protest carried signs about HP’s role in propping up the Israeli assault on Palestinians and handed out leaflets with information on the HP boycott.
The protest also focused on the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoner Salah al-Khawaja, jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Khawaja, from the village of Nil’in, had been on hunger strike for 15 days after his administrative detention was extended one day before he was to be released.
There are currently nearly 450 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention out of nearly 6,200 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed with no charge. He is on hunger strike to demand an end to his imprisonment.
The New York protest came two days before 29 November, the 70th anniversary of the UN partition of Palestine and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Protests took place in multiple other cities marking the day and highlighting the HP boycott, including Vancouver and Berlin.
Samidoun in New York will be participating in a number of upcoming events, including the weekly Monday protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and to #StopHP, as well as the upcoming event to support Colombian political prisoner in U.S. jails, Simon Trinidad, on 5 December, and the Anarchist Black Cross annual holiday party to send cards to U.S.-held political prisoners in Brooklyn on 3 December.