Israeli occupation forces invaded the rooms of Palestinian prisoners and national leaders on Wednesday, 10 April. Repressive forces from the “Yamar Dror” units invaded the rooms of Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Walid Daqqa, the longest-held PFLP prisoner and a widely published Palestinian writer.

The invasion came after Daqqa was arbitrarily and suddenly transferred from Ramon prison to Hadarim prison; both Sa’adat and Daqqa were targeted in retaliation for their role in the “Battle of Dignity 2,” the mass hunger strike now on its third day in Israeli occupation prisons. Sa’adat, who is held in Ramon prison, is part of the prisoners’ coordinating committee for the strike. There are reportedly approximately 400 Palestinian prisoners taking part in the strike, with more scheduled to join in batches on 11 April, 13 April and 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

From Baqaa’ al-Gharbiyeh in occupied Palestine ’48, Walid Daqqa has spent over 32 years in Israeli prisons, accused of kidnapping and killing an Israeli occupation soldier. Daqqa has become a prominent figure inside Israeli prisons and in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, writing about his experience and that of fellow prisoners and gaining his masters’ degree.

The staging of a play that reflects Daqqa’s stories and experiences, “A Parallel Time,” in Haifa’s al-Midan Theater in 2015, sparked attempts by the Israeli state to defund the theater and other Palestinian cultural institutions. Daqqa also wrote a children’s book that was published last year, “The Story of the Secret of the Oil.” The book won awards at Arab festivals, while Israeli officials attempted to suppress its publication and distribution. A launch event for the book in the town of Majd al-Kurum was shut down by far-right Israeli minister Aryeh Deri.

The Palestinian prisoners’ strike was launched in response to escalated repression inside the Israeli prisons directed by the minister of internal security Gilad Erdan (also directing international attacks against BDS organizing and Palestine solidarity and working to suppress freedom of expression around the world in his role as the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs.) Erdan, a far-right minister of the Likud party, has also used the attacks on the Palestinian prisoners as a plank in his Israeli electoral campaigning, a campaign that has been marked by competition over war crimes, apartheid and racism.

The prisoners’ demands include:

  • Installation of public telephones in the prisons and removal of the cell-phone “jammer” devices installed by the occupation, which reportedly have negative health effects
  • An end of the collective punishments imposed by prison authorities since 2014 and especially the sanctions imposed recently on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails after the repressive attacks in Negev and Ofer prisons.
  • Cancellation of a ban on family visits imposed on hundreds of prisoners and return to a normal (twice-monthly) schedule of family visits for all prisoners.
  • Ending the policy of medical negligence and dull access to medical treatment for injured, wounded and ill prisoners
  • Ending isolation and solitary confinement
  • Improved conditions and freedom for the child prisoners
  • Improving the conditions on the “bosta” for prisoner transfer and addressing violations of Palestinian women prisoners’ human rights.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest support for the Palestinian prisoners’ movement as it launches this critical battle for dignity and justice. We urge people around the world to take action to support the prisoners’ strike and join their struggle. The Palestinian prisoners will not be isolated or left alone! International solidarity is critical to building support, attention and pressure to help them achieve their demands. 

Take Action!

1) Organize or join an event or protest for the Palestinian prisoners. From today, organize demonstrations, actions and events and join in the Prisoners’ Week of Action from 17 to 24 April 2019! You can organize an info table, rally, solidarity hunger strike, protest or action to support the prisoners. If you are already holding an event about Palestine or social justice, include solidarity with the prisoners as part of your action. Send your events and reports to samidoun@samidoun.net.

2) Write letters and make phone calls to protest the violation of Palestinian prisoners’ rights. Demand your government take action to stop supporting Israeli occupation or to pressure the Israeli state to end the policies of repression of Palestinian political prisoners.

Call during your country’s regular office hours:

• Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne: + 61 2 6277 7500
• Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland: +1-613-992-5234
• European Union Commissioner Federica Mogherini: +32 (0) 2 29 53516
• New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters: +64 4 439 8000
• United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: +44 20 7008 1500
• United States President Donald Trump: 1-202-456-1111

3) Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Join the BDS campaign to highlight the complicity of corporations like Hewlett-Packard and the continuing involvement of G4S in Israeli policing and prisons. Build a campaign to boycott Israeli goods, impose a military embargo on Israel, or organize around the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.