The following report is translated from the original French at Collectif Palestine Vaincra:
On Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, 17 April, La Temps du Palestine Toulouse organized a unified rally in the city center of Toulouse, France, in which Collectif Palestine Vaincra played a major role in organizing and building. Collectif Palestine Vaincra is an anti-imperialist organization involved in the struggle for Palestine and a member of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Over 100 people visited the booth during the protest, which went on for around two hours. Participants distributed leaflets, painted a banner, chalked on the ground and wrote letters to send to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Around 50 postcards of solidarity were written to be sent to the prisoners. People distributed tea and cakes throughout the afternoon of solidarity. The organizers noted that the event was a great success, inspiring many future actions.
The speaker for Collectif Palestine Vaincra delivered the following speech:
I am speaking today on behalf of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra.
On 8 April, a hunger strike began in the occupation’s jails under the name of the Battle of Dignity 2. It follows last Dignity Strike, in April 2017. The strike was very quickly joined by hundreds of prisoners and ended on Monday, 15 April with an agreement with the occupation forces, recognizing the rights of the for prisoners.
From the beginning, this movement was met by harsh repression of the security forces: intrusion into the prisoners’ cells, beatings, use of tear gas in confined spaces, confiscation of books and prohibition of family visits.
Several Palestinian leaders initiated the hunger strike. The General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, imprisoned by the occupier, took part in the movement with his comrades. Last Wednesday, he and several Palestinian leaders had their cells invaded in an attempt to weaken the prisoners’ struggle.
Throughout occupied Palestine and around the world, demonstrations of solidarity with the strikers have been organized. As we stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people, we must redouble our efforts to express our full solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in their struggle against the repressive regime of the Israeli state.
Because Palestinian prisoners represent the resistance of an entire people who face the oppression of the Zionist state. This oppression takes many forms: the theft of Palestinian lands and homes, the military occupation of the West Bank aimed at gradually taking all territory to the Palestinians, the creation of an open-air prison in Gaza and the massacres that accompany this daily violence.
The Palestinian prisoners represent the path of struggle against the capitulation of the Oslo Accords in 1993, against the collaboration of the Palestinian Authority with the colonial state and for the only fair and lasting project of justice: a free and democratic Palestine from the river to the sea.
We also recall that Israel has used imprisonment as a strategy to suppress the Palestinian people and their resistance organizations. Since 1967, more than 850,000 people have been imprisoned. Today, almost half of Palestinian men over 18 have already been locked up. Palestinians are judged by Military Courts who convict them in 99.7% of cases. Prisoners are often tortured or badly treated. As of 2018, 210 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons.
In France, solidarity with Palestinian prisoners has a particular resonance. In the prisons of the French state is one of the 5,400 Palestinian prisoners: Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Imprisoned since 1984 – despite being eligible for release since 1999 – for his involvement in the Palestinian resistance, France continues to refuse to release this resistance struggler.
On Thursday, 11 April, Georges Abdallah and his Basque co-detainees and other prisoners spent three days on hunger strike in solidarity.
So, we must strengthen our solidarity and build the BDS movement and the fight for the release of Georges Abdallah and all Palestinian prisoners! Let us also support the Palestinian Resistance fighting for the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine, from the river to the sea! This is the heart of our struggle as Collectif Palestine Vaincra, member of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Freedom for Ahmad Saadat, Georges Abdallah and all Palestinian prisoners!
Palestine will live, Palestine will win! (Palestine vivra, Palestine vaincra!)