UPDATE as of 8 July: Political detainee Haitham Siyaj was released from Palestinian Authority prisons today following the tireless work of lawyers and activists seeking his release and following three days of hunger strike. He is currently receiving medical treatment in the hospital for the injuries he suffered due to beating and abuse by PA security forces as he protested the assassination of Nizar Banat. We continue to emphasize the call for the immediate release of all political prisoners in PA jails — they are detained as part of the PA’s ‘security coordination’ with the Israeli occupation
Haitham Siyaj, Palestinian struggler and organizer, remains imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority, his detention extended another 24 hours on 7 July 2021. Even after many of the political detainees seized by PA security forces while protesting the assassination of Nizar Banat — part and parcel of PA security coordination with the Israeli occupation — were released, Haitham Siyaj remains behind bars. He was beaten so badly by PA security forces that he was hospitalized; he was then seized from the hospital and has been held in detention since that time. He is now on hunger strike for the third day to demand his immediate release and is refusing medical treatment or testing until he is free.
This is not Siyaj’s first time being subjected to Palestinian Authority arrest and imprisonment. He is one of the comrades of Basil al-Araj who was jailed by the Palestinian Authority in 2016 with the freedom fighter and revolutionary intellectual, later assassinated by the Israeli occupation. He and his comrades were subjected to torture and abuse during this time and were released only after carrying out a hunger strike. PA President Mahmoud Abbas boasted about their arrest when discussing the PA’s usefulness to the Israeli occupation as a means of suppressing Palestinian resistance.
Siyaj has been repeatedly seized by Israeli occupation forces and was imprisoned on multiple occasions, almost always jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. During one such arrest, he was jailed for over 2 years without ever being charged or tried on any allegation.
Now Haitham, a committed struggler for Palestinian liberation, is being imprisoned once again by the Palestinian Authority.
The ongoing detention of Haitham Siyaj and attacks on Palestinian protesters is a conscious policy of security coordination with the Israeli occupation, with the PA functioning to serve the interests of the Zionist colonial project. The “security coordination” framework is overseen and implemented by the United States, Canada and the European Union (all engaged in training, funding and oversight of Palestinian Authority security forces). The purpose of these Palestinian Authority security forces and the “security coordination” project under which they carry weapons is to prevent the Palestinian people and their liberation movement from effectively resisting and overthrowing the Israeli occupation regime throughout occupied Palestine.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Haitham Siyaj and an end to the ongoing attacks on Palestinian strugglers.
The PA and its funders and trainers must be held accountable for its ongoing betrayal of the Palestinian people and its collaboration with the occupation regime and Zionist colonialism. We note that this crime is also an urgent call to boycott, isolate and resist Israeli occupation throughout Palestine and elsewhere. The Oslo project is backed by Zionism, imperialism and reactionary regimes – and it must and will fall on the road to the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.
- Call the Palestinian Authority mission, embassy or consulate in your country. Demand the PA immediately release Haitham Siyaj. Get the number of your local consulate or embassy here: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/palestine
- Palestinian activist Haitham Siyaj is being jailed as a political detainee by the Palestinian Authority.
- This is unacceptable, as was the assassination of Nizar Banat.
- Security coordination and political imprisonment are only serving the interests of the Israeli occupation and harm the Palestinian people.
- Haitham Siyaj and all other political detainees must be freed immediately.
- Protest at the Palestinian Authority embassy, mission or consulate in your country – or at the Israeli embassy.. Demand justice and accountability for the assassination of Nizar Banat and make it clear that the PA does not represent the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation! Find the PA mission or embassy in your country here: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/palestine – we note — this is also an Israeli crime, first and foremost in the interests of the occupation. Protest at Israeli embassies and consulates: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israel
- Demand your government stop supporting Palestinian Authority security forces and sanction Israel. Aid and training of PA security forces is not designed to provide security to Palestinians, but instead to bolster the Israeli occupation and repress Palestinian resistance. Legitimate aid must support the rights of the Palestinian people, not directly undermine those rights.From Canada to Australia to the European Union, Western governments and imperialist powers provide ongoing diplomatic, political and economic support to Israel as well as selling billions of dollars of weaponry to the settler-colonial state. Meanwhile, they also purchase billions of dollars in weaponry from the Israeli state. Governments in league with imperialist powers, such as in the Philippines, Brazil, India and elsewhere, also buy weapons and “security” services — all “battle-tested” on the Palestinian population. Call your representatives, MPs, political officials and demand your government sanction Israel now, cut off all aid, expel its ambassadors, and stop buying and selling weapons – and stop financing and training the PA security forces to assist the occupation in its crimes.
- Join Palestinian movements and organizations fighting back against Oslo. Many Palestinians, inside Palestine and in exile and diaspora, are working to bring down Oslo and restore the compass of the struggle – for liberation and return, from the river to the sea, and upholding the resistance as the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people. Learn more and get involved with the Masar Badil (Alternative Palestinian Path) conference to convene in Madrid in October 2021.
- Boycott Israel – The international, Arab and Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel can play an important role at this critical time. Local boycott groups can protest and label Israeli produce and groceries. By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism. Download our Boycott Flyer to distribute at supermarkets, stores and other venues in your community!