The Israeli state and the Zionist movement are continuing their attacks on the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestine solidarity movement. One of the most recent effects of these attacks was the closing of Samidoun’s PayPal account. On its face, this is nothing new: PayPal has shut down the accounts of numerous groups supporting Palestinian rights around the world, including BDS campaign organizations, political parties and even media organizations at the behest of demands from various pro-apartheid politicians and agencies.
On the other hand, the sensationalistic attacks posted in pro-Zionist, pro-apartheid media on anyone who struggles for the rights of the Palestinian people and especially the Palestinian prisoners reflect an ongoing effort to isolate the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails by cutting off international moral and political support for their freedom struggle. As a grassroots, unfunded organization, Samidoun very much relies on the small and generous donations provided by contributors, people of conscience who want to ensure that Palestinian prisoners – and the Palestinian people – are not silenced.
On 23 April, we were suddenly told that our account had been “permanently limited,” due to the “nature of our activities.” This is word-for-word the same message that numerous other global Palestine advocacy organizations have received over the years to block them from receiving donations via PayPal. No appeal mechanism is permitted. This cannot be separated from the company’s ongoing refusal to provide services to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while continuing to make its products available to illegal Israeli settlements.
Closing our PayPal account is another method designed to make it more difficult for us to continue to do our work. We are committed to do so, however. So long as Palestinian women and men, children and elders, are held behind colonial bars because they struggle for freedom, we are determined to work alongside them to achieve that goal – for the prisoners and all of Palestine.
Your contribution can help to push back against these attacks. You can donate online to Samidoun here, and if you are interested in donating another way or giving your time to help us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An entire Israeli state ministry, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, has been granted an undisclosed budget that reportedly numbers in the tens of millions of dollars to fight back against the growing popular movement around the world in solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people. In particular, this ministry has directed its efforts against supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. It has also taken a special interest in attacking Palestinian human rights defenders and solidarity organizations working to expose Israeli repression against Palestinian political prisoners and campaign for their freedom, including Samidoun.
This ministry is headed by Gilad Erdan, a far-right Likud politician who also heads the Ministry of Internal Security in Netanyahu’s government – overseeing the Israel Prison Service itself. It was the “Erdan commission” that promulgated the recent repressive attacks against Palestinian prisoners that led to the collective hunger strike of April 2019 – ending in a victory for the prisoners. It comes as no surprise that the same institutions responsible for confiscating the rights gained by Palestinian prisoners through years of struggle also want to silence, criminalize and suppress all activists and organizations who work to support those prisoners’ rights on an international level.
Most recently, this ministry published a report, “Terrorists in Suits.” Full of misinformation, deception and outright false information, the report aims to cast support for Palestinian prisoners, the boycott of Israel and human rights defense as “terrorism.” Samidoun was attacked alongside many other Palestinian and international organizations for one simple reason – because we defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners.
The Ministry is also heavily involved in interfering in campaigns for justice around the world. It was referred to repeatedly in the US “The Lobby” Al-Jazeera documentary series, censored and then revealed by the Electronic Intifada, working to pass anti-BDS laws and attack student groups and community organizers in the United States. It claimed credit for prohibiting a speech by former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor Rasmea Odeh in Germany, as well as the stripping of her Schengen visa.
Via its social media accounts, it continues to attack Belgian artist, worker and activist Mustapha Awad after he returned home from being released after 253 days of unjust Israeli imprisonment. The ministry’s social media page has hosted death threats against Mustapha from various far-right, racist commenters – after even the notoriously biased Israeli court system released him early from Israeli imprisonment. It is difficult to see these ongoing attacks as anything other than an attempt to silence him from telling his story, including his experiences of cruel and inhumane treatment, and that of his fellow Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The Palestinian people are facing conditions of siege nearly everywhere, of course most notably in the Gaza Strip and in the Israeli occupation prisons. These arbitrary attacks – and PayPal’s acquiescence to these groundless threats over and over again – are but one small part of that larger siege which we are struggling to break, on the road to victory and liberation for Palestine.