The great Palestinian popular intifada (uprising) that mobilized, organized and unified the Palestinian masses – especially inside occupied Palestine, but also in the refugee camps, in exile and in diaspora – launched in December 1987. As we recall its 33rd anniversary, we note that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians – some estimates reaching up to 600,000 – were arrested, detained and imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces during the Intifada.
There, they experienced severe torture under interrogation, harsh conditions of confinement, medical neglect and abuse, collective punishment and home demolitions targeting their families, brutal beatings and mistreatment and the widespread and systematic use of administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Inside the prisons, however, despite all forms of repression, generations of Palestinian organizers developed “revolutionary schools” of politics, literature and organizing, developing powerful young activists to return to the streets embroiled in a great popular uprising.
In a failed attempt to suppress the Intifada, the Israeli occupation launched new prison camps and detention centers to hold the thousands of Palestinians detained in mass arrests throughout occupied Palestine. The following historical booklet, published in English in 1988 by ROOTS and Friends of Palestinian Prisoners, focuses on one such prison camp: Ansar III, “a barbed wire compound in the heart of the Negev desert.” At the time of the booklet’s publication, Janet Jubran of the Friends of Palestinian Prisoners noted in her introduction, “In one year, since the Intifada began, more than 25,000 Palestinians have been arrested. At this moment, nearly every family has one or more of its members in prison.”
This powerful booklet, including documentation, testimony and facts about Ansar III and its Palestinian prisoners – including many labor leaders, human rights defenders and journalists – was a part of the burgeoning organizing of Palestinian communities in exile and diaspora (in this case, in the United States) and the growing movement of international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is republishing this booklet today, on the 33rd anniversary of the Intifada, to bring this important historical document to new audiences, continuing to build upon this legacy of struggle, standing with the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation and return.
Download the PDF here: Download PDF
View the booklet (published 1988 by ROOTS and Friends of Palestinian Prisoners, Washington, D.C., USA):