The isolated Palestinian women prisoners have been returned to Damon prison but not to their rooms with their fellow imprisoned Palestinian women. While the Israeli prison administration committed to releasing Marah Bakir, Shorouq Dwayyat and Mona Qaadan from solitary confinement as a condition of the prisoners’ movement for negotiations on the conditions of the women prisoners, it only returned them to the prison itself and not to their rooms.
As a result, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is joining with resistance factions in calling for action and mobilization to defend the Palestinian women prisoners, who have faced violent physical assaults, forcible transfers, solitary confinement and denials of fundamental rights, including family visits and appropriate health care. Palestinian national and Islamic forces called for days of protest on 24 December, while the Palestinian resistance factions pledged to stand beside the prisoners in the struggle.
On Wednesday, 22 December, Palestinian political prisoners will return their breakfast meals and close their sections until noon, to demand the immediate return of Dwayyat, Bakir and Qaadan to their cells. These protest actions will focus on three demands:
- The implementation of the agreement to return Dwayyat, Bakir and Qaadan to their rooms with their fellow imprisoned women and restore the previous situation of the women prisoners;
- The release of Hisham Abu Hawash, on hunger strike for nearly 130 days to end his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial;
- Ending the attacks on the prisoners in Nafha prison, especially those in section 12.
The Handala Center for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners reported that the Palestinian prisoners in Ramon prison have already begun these protest steps to demand implementation of these three points.
The women prisoners were repeatedly attacked by repressive units between Thursday, 16 December and Sunday, 19 December. They engaged in physical attacks on the women prisoners, isolating their elected leaders (Bakir and Dwayyat), turning off their electricity and imposing further restrictions on them, such as denying them showers for over three days.
Their fellow Palestinian prisoners, including the male prisoners, responded to these attacks with outrage. In Nafha prison, Yousef al-Mabhouh, a Palestinian political prisoner from Gaza, physically confronted and wounded a jailer to express his anger at the abuse of the women prisoners. Following this, Israeli occupation forces entered numerous repressive units into Nafha prison, removing all of the detainees to the prison yard. A group of prisoners, including Mabhouh as well as at least three more prisoners, including Fadi Abu Sabah, Tamer al-Derini and a third unknown person, who were later transferred to the prison clinic, were beaten severely. Mabhouh was taken away by helicopter from the scene.
Multiple prisoners in Nafha were then transferred to solitary confinement outside the prison, including Youssef Massoud, Ashraf al-Zughair, Munir Marei, Mohammed Arman, Mahmoud Radwan and Omar Sharif, and Israeli occupation forces announced that they were banning family visits to all Hamas prisoners. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society demanded information about the fate and whereabouts of Mabhouh and more than 80 prisoners of section 12, which remain unknown, including sick and elderly prisoners.
Meanwhile, Hisham Abu Hawash, on hunger strike for the 127th day, is facing increasingly dangerous health conditions. Abu Hawash, 40, from Dura near al-Khalil, has been repeatedly transferred to civil hospitals or a short period before being returned to the Ramle prison clinic, putting even more pressure on his body in an attempt to force him to end his hunger strike. The Israeli High Court declined to order him transferred to a civilian hospital, claiming that only the prison administration can make this decision. He is on hunger strike to demand an end to his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, and the refusal to transfer Abu Hawash to a hospital is a new method of pressure upon him to end his strike.
Abu Hawash has been jailed without charge or trial since 27 October 2020 and has spent a total of 8 years in prison, including 52 months without charge or trial under administrative detention. He is married and the father of five children: Hadi, Mohammed, Izz al-Din, Waqas and Saba.
This comes as Palestinians jailed without charge or trial announced they will launch a collective boycott of the Israeli military courts on 1 January 2022, with escalating protest steps up to and including a collective hunger strike to bring administrative detention to an end. Currently, approximately 500 of the 4550 Palestinian political prisoners are jailed without charge or trial under these arbitrary orders, which can be indefinitely renewed. Palestinians routinely spend years at a time jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention orders, which were first introduced to Palestine by British colonialism before being adopted by the Israeli occupation.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges the strongest campaign of international solidarity with these imprisoned Palestinian women and men, on the front lines in the struggle for justice and liberation in Palestine. Learn more about Palestinian women prisoners and how you and your organization can support their struggle at the Aseerat campaign page.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has a responsibility to act to safeguard these Palestinian women prisoners — and all imprisoned Palestinians — from the retaliatory actions and collective punishment imposed by the Israeli occupation. Click here to write a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand the ICRC take action to defend Palestinian women prisoners.
Join the social media campaign to support women prisoners! On Wednesday, 22 December, at 7 pm Palestine time (6 pm central Europe, 9 am Pacific, 12 noon Eastern), join the social media storm. Tweet using the hashtags: #FreeThemAll #SaveFemalePrisoners