52 days of hunger strike for Huzaifa Halabiya: Call to Action 22 August

New cartoon to support Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, by Carlos Latuff

As Palestinian prisoner Huzaifa Halabiya exceeds 52 days of hunger strike against his imprisonment by the Israeli occupation without charge or trial, the prisoners’ movement is urging people to take to the streets on 22 August to stand with Palestinian prisoners fighting for freedom. In a statement, Palestinian prisoners called on people to rally in front of the Ofer prison, emphasizing that the Palestinian people “will not stand idly by and accept the continued suffering of the striking administrative detainees.”

The statement also “called on all in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, occupied Palestine ’48 and in the refugee camps in diaspora to confirm together that we are fighting one battle, the battle of freedom and victory.”

Huzaifa Halabiya, on hunger strike since 1 July

The Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a call to participate in these actions in cities, camps and villages throughout occupied Palestine. It also urged “activating all forms of Arab and international support and solidarity with the prisoners, especially the administrative prisoners who are engaged in an open-ended hunger strike.” The statement also called for bringing Gilad Erdan, the Minister of Public Security, and other Israeli officials to be brought before “popular tribuals and international courts for their crimes against the prisoners and the Palestinian people as a whole.”

The statement also demanded that “The International Committee of the Red Cross and other concerned international bodies must take up their responsibilities to the prisoners. These institutions cannot be silent on the crimes against the prisoners.”

Huzaifa Halabiya’s mother joins protest for his freedom. Photo: Muhammed Qarout Idkaidek

Huzaifa Halabiya, from Abu Dis in Jerusalem, has been jailed without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention since 10 June 2018. He launched his hunger strike on 1 July to demand his freedom from detention. His health is precarious, especially given that he requires specialized medical care. He is a leukemia survivor and suffered severe burns as a child over the majority of his body. When he was arrested by occupation forces, his wife was pregnant; today, he is the father of a six-month-old daughter, Majdal, who he has been denied the ability to meet.

Majdal Huzaifa Halabiya, Huzaifa’s 6-month-old daughter

He is joined on hunger strike by Ahmad Ghannam, who has gone without food for 39 days. He is also a leukemia survivor held without charge or trial under administrative detention. From Dura near al-Khalil, he is married with two children. Sultan Khallouf, from the village of Burqin near Jenin, has been on hunger strike for 35 days. He was arrested on 8 July and launched his strike immediately after occupation authorities announced that he would be transferred to administrative detention.

Ismail Ali, also from Abu Dis in Jerusalem, has been jailed without charge or trial since January 2019; he launched his strike 29 days ago to demand an end to his administrative detention. He was jailed in the past for seven years by the Israeli occupation. Wajdi al-Awawdeh, 20, has been held under administrative detention since April 2018, and has now been on hunger strike for 24 days.

Tareq Qa’adan, a prominent leader in Jenin and a former prisoner who spent 11 years in Israeli jails, launched his hunger strike 20 days ago. He was transferred to administrative detention instead of being released at the end of his sentence.

Two more prisoners have joined the strike: Nasser al-Jada, who has been on hunger strike for 15 days, and Thaer Hamdan, who has been on strike for 10 days. All are held without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Poster for the 22 August protests…”It’s victory..or victory!”

Administrative detention was first introduced to Palestine under the British colonial mandate and was then adopted by the Zionist state. Palestinians can be jailed for up to six months at a time under each administrative detention order, without charge or trial. These orders are indefinitely renewable, so Palestinians spend years at a time jailed under administrative detention. There are approximately 500 administrative detainees among the over 5000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, and the end of administrative detention is a major demand of the prisoners’ movement.

The administrative detainees are not alone. Almost 50 fellow prisoners have launched solidarity strikes in order to pressure the Israeli occupation authorities to accede to the strikers’ demands. More prisoners are vowing to join the battle in the coming days.

The strikers have been repeatedly transferred from prison to prison, thrown in isolation and deprived of sleep in an attempt to break their strikes. Their health conditions have deteriorated severely. Halabiya is vomiting water, suffers severe pain throughout his body and must rely on a wheelchair to move. Ahmad Ghannam has lost at least 17 kilograms (35 pounds), has difficulty breathing and an elevated heart rate. Addameer lawyers visited Ismail Ali on 20 August and reported that he has lost 14 kilos (29 pounds) and suffers severe joint pains and yellow hands and feet.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters and friends of Palestine everywhere around the world to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can play an important role in supporting their struggle, and Palestinian prisoners are calling for our actions. All of our participation, protests and petitions can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom. 

On 22 August, please share your support of the Palestinian prisoners! Take part in an event or print the cartoon of Carlos Latuff (above) in support of the prisoners and share your photo on social media.

Take Action:

1) Organize or join an event or protest for the Palestinian prisoners. 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. In particular, demand that your political officials put pressure on Israel to end the policy of administrative detention, the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial.

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. Learn more about the BDS campaign at bdsmovement.net.