Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joined a delegation to the Venezuelan embassy in Berlin, Germany on Monday, 11 June. Samidoun’s international coordinator Charlotte Kates participated in the delegation with Abu Mohammed Sakran, one of the earliest prisoners of the modern Palestinian struggle and the first prisoner of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat, coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat.
The delegation met with Venezuelan Ambassador to Germany Orlando Maniglia Ferreira, the former Defense Minister of Venezuela, and presented him with a letter from imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, from his prison cell in Ramon prison. “We know that we face a common enemy, with U.S. imperialism at the forefront, working to destroy the Venezuelan people’s project that presents an alternative to unbridled greed and capitalism,” wrote Sa’adat in a letter addressed to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The delegates expressed their congratulations to President Maduro and the Venezuelan people on the successful outcomes of the 20 May 2018 elections and the continuation of the Bolivarian Revolution. They also expressed their solidarity with Venezuela against the intensified sanctions imposed by the United States, Canada and the European Union.
Ambassador Ferreira welcomed the delegation and expressed his thanks for the message and Venezuela’s solid and consistent commitment to stand with the Palestinian people, their legitimate national rights and their struggle for freedom from colonization. He also pointed to the common interests of the Venezuelan and Palestinian people in confronting imperialism, highlighting the role of corporations in plundering the resources of the peoples of Latin America and the Arab world, backed up by the U.S. government.
In his presentation, Barakat noted that the purpose of the delegation is to highlight the current situation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as well as the struggles of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. “The delegation will continue its meetings in the coming period with representatives of countries and political organizations that support the rights of the Palestinian people and declare their opposition to the Zionist occupation and the policy of hegemony and submission directed by the United States in the Arab region and around the world,” he noted.
The delegation briefed the ambassador on the latest developments in the Palestinian arena, especially the effects of the siege and repeated wars and aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip at the hands of the Israeli state with U.S. and Arab participation and European complicity. In addition, Barakat denounced the sanctions and penalties imposed on Palestinians in Gaza by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, highlighting the popular movements that took to the streets in Ramallah, Dheisheh and elsewhere for Palestinian unity and rejection of such coercion. In addition, the delegates discussed the continuing rising in Gaza since 30 March and the importance of supporting the Great Return March and its continuation in Gaza and throughout occupied Palestine.
In her presentation, Kates noted the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, giving a brief overview of the situation of over 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails. In particular, she highlighted the situation of the nearly 500 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention, and their boycott of the Israeli military courts that has continued for over 100 days. She discussed several cases of Palestinians held under administrative detention, including Palestinian legislator, feminist and advocate Khalida Jarrar and French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, emphasizing the importance of international support for the prisoners’ struggle.
The delegates also discussed the case of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine imprisoned for over 33 years in France, urging more international attention to the struggle for his freedom. The delegation presented a package of information to the Ambassador, including Sa’adat’s letter and a letter from Ahmad Abu al-Saud, a former Palestinian prisoner, a comrade of Sa’adat’s and the leader of a committee of former Palestinian prisoners and current prisoners.
They also provided a packet of information on the case of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah and one on the current situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including the military court boycott of the administrative detainees.
Ahmad Sa’adat’s letter to President Nicolas Maduro is below:
11 June 2018
Dear Ambassador Orlando Maniglia Ferreira,
Dear President Nicolas Maduro,
From our prison cell, we send our salutes and greetings to you and to the Venezuelan people on the victorious outcome of the elections on 20 May. The ongoing progress of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela continues to give us hope and support even as we struggle behind bars. We know that we face a common enemy, with U.S. imperialism at the forefront, working to destroy the Venezuelan people’s project that presents an alternative to unbridled greed and capitalism.
We know that your victory is also one for the Palestinian people. First, because a victory for justice anywhere is always a victory for our struggle, and second, because it came in rejection of all of these attempts by the U.S. and its allies to undermine your people’s progress over the past two decades. At the same time that Trump and his allies are continuing the U.S. campaign of destabilization and sanctions against Venezuela, he is working hand in hand with Netanyahu and the most reactionary regimes in an attempt to liquidate the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom.
Nevertheless, the Palestinian people, like the Venezuelan people, have not given up nor have they conceded to the dictates of imperialism. The attempts to impose a new “deal of the century” on Palestinians have been met with tens of thousands of Palestinians marching in Gaza as part of the Great March of Return. They are demanding an end to the siege on Gaza and, fundamentally, their right to return home, denied to Palestinian refugees for over 70 years.
Throughout this time, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been a stalwart friend of the Palestinian people. In all international arenas and forums and through practical support and material solidarity, the Venezuelan people and state have stood with the Palestinian people, confronting imperialism and Zionism. Venezuela’s rejection of diplomatic ties with the Israeli colonial regime stands as an example in the world of principled solidarity and boycott, especially as the Palestinian movement, including the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, urges international boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
We know well the words and actions of Hugo Chavez in support of the Palestinian people and his clear condemnations of the Zionist attacks on the Palestinian people. “The State of Israel has become a murderous lackey at the service of imperialism…It’s a genocidal government. I condemn that Zionist government that persecutes the heroic Palestinian people,” Chavez said. His words on Palestine and in support of the struggle of our people have bolstered the strength and resolve of Palestinians everywhere.
As Venezuela stands with the Palestinian people, so do we stand with Venezuela. On behalf of my comrades in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and expressing the sentiments of the Palestinian people, we condemn all of the attempts to isolate Venezuela through sanctions from the United States, the European Union, and other colonialist and imperialist powers. These sanctions are – much like the internationally-backed and -imposed siege on Gaza – an attempt to punish the Venezuelan people for choosing their own leaders, democratically, in rejection of the will of imperialism.
Once again, our hearty congratulations to Comrade President Nicolas Maduro on his re-election and to the Venezuelan people on continuing on the path of resistance to imperialism. Together, the Venezuelan and Palestinian people are struggling for freedom and liberation, confronting Zionism and imperialism, on the road to socialism.
With comradely greetings,
General Secretary, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Ahmad Abu Saud’s letter:
11 June 2018
Dear respected Ambassador Orlando Maniglia Ferreira,
The Palestinian prisoners who are behind bars in the prisons of the Zionist occupation, who number 6500, send their greetings, accompanied with some of their groans of pain.
In our struggle with the occupation over our homeland, the colonizer is backed by unjust and aggressive forces such as United States imperialism and its partners, who are trying to liquidate our cause and the rights of our people to self-determination in our homeland and the establishment of a democratic state with our capital, Jerusalem. Our people face a bloody, unending conflict, even as they have given hundreds of thousands of martyrs and more than a million prisoners for over 70 years.
We, in the Committee of Prisoners and Freed Prisoners in the diaspora, are following up on the issue of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, where children, women, the sick, the elderly and the Palestinian leaders, most notably the General Secretary of the Popular Front, Ahmad Sa’adat, and Marwan Barghouthi, are held. There are many prisoners with lengthy years of detention, including Karim and Maher Younis who have spent 36 years in prison and Walid Daqqa, Rushdi Abu Mukh and Ibrahim Abu Mukh, who have spent more than 33 years in the prisons. There is no day that passes without additional arrests joining the convoys of prisoners, along with the martyrs and wounded of the Palestinian struggle for freedom.
The prisoners need your support and for you to stand with them and their just human cause, because the Zionist prisons of the occupation violate international law. You can help to shine the media spotlight on the oppression and injustice suffered by the Palestinian and Arab prisoners by hosting meetings or press conferences that help to expose the crimes of the occupation against the prisoners.
One blatant example of the injustice inflicted on our people is the policy of administrative detention, to which any Palestinian inside occupied Palestine may be subject at any time. This is arbitrary detention that is subject to no standards and is exercised in violation of international humanitarian law. Administrative detention can be continued indefinitely with no charge and no trial in violation of international law. Many Palestinians have spent years in administrative detention and some up to 10 years through multiple arrests. Many others have gone on hunger strikes for lengthy periods to demand the end of administrative detention as well as countless abuses such as the policy of medical neglect that has led to the deaths of dozens of martyrs, the arrest of children, the imprisonment of Palestinian women, and so on.
The boycott of the occupation is growing in various countries around the world and in various fields of work, including cultural boycott, academic boycott, military boycott and diplomatic sanctions. These efforts are achieving successes in revealing the ugly face of the occupation. We know that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has taken a consistent and principled stand beside the Palestinian people, and we hope that you will continue to help to expand the boycott and expose the crimes of the occupation in international forums. Your actions and support are greatly appreciated by our people.
With respect and appreciation,
Ahmad Abu Saud, Freed Prisoner
on behalf of
The Committee of Prisoners and Freed Prisoners in Diaspora
Samidoun’s statement on Venezuela:
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its solidarity with the Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian revolution, against attacks by the United States and the European Union. Together, the Palestinian and Venezuelan people’s movements are confronting imperialism and Zionism. We denounce the sanctions imposed on Venezuela and all attempts by the U.S. and the European Union to undermine or defeat the Bolivarian Revolution and its historic gains.
In response to the recent elections in Venezuela, in which the people of the country rejected violent and aggressive attempts by imperialist states to force them to abandon the Bolivarian project and the road to socialism, the United States and the EU announced even more intensified sanctions targeting the country. The use of sanctions to reject popular, democratic choices not only echoes the attacks on Chile in 1973 and repeated similar examples throughout Latin America but also the imposition of international siege and sanctions on Palestinians in Gaza after the elections of 2006, when Palestinians voted for resistance rather than accommodation with imperialism.
The Venezuelan people have been strong friends and allies of the Palestinian people. Hugo Chavez’ statements on Palestine have echoed throughout the Palestinian movement and the solidarity movement, and the continued moral and material support for Palestine from the Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian republic have sparked continued hope for international alliance against imperialism in an era in which imperialist forces have sought to criminalize all aspects of resistance to their global domination.
The sanctions on Venezuela, the war threats against Iran and the global criminalization of Palestinian resistance are part of one war on the people carried out by these imperialist powers. As we stand for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people, we stand with Venezuela and the Venezuelan people against the sanctions and attacks of imperialism. The threats of the U.S. against Venezuela only confirm the justice of the Bolivarian revolution and the path toward socialism, including economic development, social justice and popular participation.
In 2002, as Palestinians rose up in a great Intifada and faced brutal Israeli massacres in Jenin, the global movement for Palestine surged and found great inspiration in the victory of the Venezuelan people in defeating the U.S.-supported coup. At the same time, the Israeli state stands with the U.S. in supporting right-wing Venezuelan opposition forces who wish to return the country to subservience to imperialist and capitalist exploitation.
Today, as Venezuela has stood with Palestine, by boycotting Israel, cutting diplomatic ties and advocating for Palestinian rights in international forums, we stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela alongside the people of Palestine, united in common struggle.