Thirty Palestinian prisoners announce plans for hunger strike to #EndAdministrativeDetention

Thirty Palestinian prisoners jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention have announced they will launch a hunger strike on 25 September 2022. The strike, under the slogan, “Our decision is freedom…our strike is freedom,” will demand an end to imprisonment without charge or trial.

There are currently over 740 Palestinian prisoners jailed under administrative detention orders out of a total of approximately 4,650 total Palestinian prisoners in occupation jails. Administrative detention was first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate before being adopted by the Zionist project. Detention orders can be issued for up to six months at a time and are indefinitely renewable, with many Palestinians spending years at a time jailed under administrative detention, and neither they nor their families and communities are ever sure when they will be released, an additional form of collective punishment and psychological torture.

The Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement saying that “These 30 prisoners have spent nearly 200 years in administrative detention taken together. Two hundred years of captivity without charge or trial at the whim of the occupation intelligence officers….hundreds of years, during which the occupation prevented us from embracing our families or seeing our children as they were born or growing up. We never celebrated their birthdays, we did not accompany them on their first school day. We did not share the memories of their graduation celebration, and the intelligence officers then come to tell us, ‘We will deprive you of the joy of the marriage of your sons and daughters.’ Two hundred years in which we lost fathers, mothers and brothers, and our wives learned that they had married a ghost living in the darkness of the cells at the request of a fascist jailer.”

The administrative detainees further drew attention to the repeated imposition of administrative detention on prisoners who had been released, noting that many are released for only a few months before once again being thrown into arbitrary detention without charge or trial. Indeed, on Wednesday, 21 September, former administrative detainee Hisham Abu Hawash, who won his freedom in February 2022 after a lengthy hunger strike, was seized once again by occupation forces, as well as two other former long-term hunger strikers who won their freedom from administrative detention, Ayman al-Tabeesh and Adel Hreibat.

The detainees’ statement noted “It is in fact a life sentence, intersperssed with periods of freedom at a rate of two months or perhaps a bit more between two arrests of two years each, i.e., between four years of detention and four months of freedom and perhaps less, so we have a month of freedom for each year of detention.”

“We will give up our crumbs of bread and tighten our belts against our stomachs. We are nourished by dignity, and the tools of oppression cannot take this away. We breathe freedom in the face of injustice, racism and the policy of slow killing. We raise our voices and our fists, and declare: ‘Take our flesh and clench your brutal fist, torture us, bind us and spread the smell of death around us, kill us and seize the bodies of our martyrs, steal everything…but know that our struggle continues, and we will sow joy, life and hope, and our struggle for freedom and humanity free of torment will not stop.'”

They urged Palestinians, Arabs and international forces to come together to build support for the battle of the administrative detainees and the prisoners’ movement. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine and the prisoners’ struggle to join the campaign to end administrative detention and to support these valiant prisoners putting their bodies and lives on the line to resist and struggle for a liberated Palestine, through their hunger strike for freedom.

Download these distributable flyers and posters to highlight the struggle to free Palestinian prisoners:

1. Mobilize actions, demonstrations and creative interventions – Take to the streets to defend the Palestinian people and their resistance! As was made clear during the Unity Intifada/Seif al-Quds in May 2021, there is a vast depth of support for the Palestinian people everywhere around the world, including inside the imperialist powers. It is our responsibility to act and make it impossible to continue their support for the crimes against the Palestinian people.

2. Build the boycott of Israel – This is a critical moment to escalate the campaign to isolate the Israeli regime at all levels, including through boycott campaigns that target the occupation’s economic exploitation of the Palestinian land, people and resources as well as those international corporations, like HP and G4S, that profit from the ongoing colonization of Palestine.