On Thursday, 13 October, the 50 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike against detention without charge or trial suspended their strike, declaring a new stage of struggle against the policy of administrative detention. Thirty Palestinian prisoners launched their strike on 25 September, with 20 more joining on 9 October, demanding an end to the system in which Palestinians are routinely jailed for years at a time with no charge or trial under so-called “secret evidence.” With their brave struggle and commitment to put their bodies and lives on the line to challenge colonial injustice and oppression, the hunger strikers have opened up a new stage of struggle against administrative detention and against the settler colonial occupation regime.
In a statement issued by the Higher Emergency Committee of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, which includes all factions and political forces, the prisoners declared that “the strikers made their voices heard to all of the free people of the world. This latest strike, which lasted for 19 days, represents a cry of rejection and intifada in the face of the unjust administrative detention that steals lives as well as land and history.”
The strike was supported by events and actions throughout Palestine, the Arab region and internationally, with many organizations issuing statements, organizing demonstrations and pressuring government officials to end their complicity and support for the regime imprisoning Palestinians without charge or trial. Samidoun activists organized events in New York, Vancouver, Berlin, Toulouse, Paris, Athens, Amsterdam, Gothenburg, Charleroi and multiple locations to show solidarity with the hunger strikers.
The hunger strikers sent a clear message to the occupation that the Palestinian prisoners will not back down in the face of the sharply escalated use of administrative detention — reaching 800 administrative detainees out of 4,650 total Palestinian political prisoners in September 2022. Instead, the prisoners’ movement will continue to build on this milestone to escalate the struggle to resist administrative detention until it is ended.
This includes reviving the boycott of the occupation courts, launched on 1 January by all administrative detainees and continuing until suspended in June. They announced that they will continue to boycott the courts and urge all administrative detainees to once again join the collective boycott.
The prisoners announced that they were suspending their strike and would continue to address each administrative detainees’ case through the representatives of the prisoners’ movement and would continue to engage in escalating the struggle until freedom and liberation is achieved. They linked the struggle behind occupation bars to the growing resistance throughout Palestine, saluting the beseiged people and strugglers in Shuafat refugee camp and Nablus. They further announced that the sick and elderly administrative detainees would be released within two months, with their detention not being renewed an additional time.
In their statement, the 30 administrative detainees who launched the strike said:
“We started it with a loud cry, and our loyal and dedicated people turned it into a massive demonstration, the echoes of which reached all over the world. Our manifestation is here reaching its goals in its first episode. Our choice is continuous confrontation and resistance against arbitrary administrative detention. While the occupier’s main goal is to subjugate and control our people, and to erase their historical narrative and national identity, our battle against administrative detention is a continuous confrontation that includes all our people in Palestine and in the diaspora, all the way to making the issue of administrative detention one of the Palestinian priorities in confronting the Zionist colonial project.
The second episode of our struggle is our commitment to boycotting the Zionist courts at all levels, which is the cornerstone of confronting racist administrative detention. We will make all efforts to transform our boycott of the courts into a position for all administrative detainees and a position that includes the national and Islamic forces, human rights institutions, the bar association and lawyers in occupied Palestine 1948, to prevent the occupation from whitewashing the policy of administrative detention, and at the same time examining the possibility of raising this before international courts. We affirm the continuation of our confrontation of administrative detention based on the ongoing boycott of the courts. We further announce that there are multiple steps for a continuous program of struggle that we will announce later.”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the courageous Palestinian prisoners who carried out this battle for the past 19 days. This suspension of the strike, as it is for the prisoners, is not an end to the campaign against administrative detention. Instead, it is an urgent call to rise to the new phase of struggle laid out by the prisoners’ sacrifice and commitment to bring an end to administrative detention once and for all — and for the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners and the liberation of Palestine. As we salute the strength and dedication of those resisting behind bars, we emphasize that all who seek justice and liberation in Palestine must escalate our struggle and organizing to support the rising and resisting Palestinian people, from al-Naqab to Nablus to Shuafat to Gaza to the refugee camps to those behind prison bars, and confront imperialism, Zionism and the reactionary regimes that collaborate with them.
We urge all to join us on 29 October in Brussels for the March for Return and Liberation and to take to the streets everywhere around the world to march for Palestinian liberation from all bars and colonial prisons, and from Zionism and colonialism, from the river to the sea.
Statement of the Higher Emergency Committee of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement:
To our heroic people, our salutes full of challenge and steadfastness…
In light of the blessed uprising of our people in the streets and squares of the homeland, rejecting the aggression of the occupier against our people and our prisoners, an expression of the renewal and vitality of our people with their sacrifices and daring. The prisoners’ movement rose up inside the prisons in an uprising of another kind, through the strike of the administrative detainees rejecting this ongoing policy of aggression.
In light of the developments that have taken place inside the prisons, we would like to emphasize the following:
First: Our last strike, which lasted for 19 days, represented a cry of rejection and intifada in the face of the unjust administrative detention that steals lives as well as land and history.
Second: After the strikers made their voice heard to all the free people of the world; The striking prisoners decided to suspend their strike to give an opportunity to address the strikers’ files through the representatives of the prisoners’ movement.
Third: We affirm that our quest to confront the policy of administrative detention through a hunger strike and other escalatory steps will not stop unless this policy is halted and the occupation is uprooted from our land and our lives.
Fourth: We thank all those who supported this movement and strike, all institutions and individuals inside and outside Palestine, and emphasize the need for this support to continue.
Fifth: We salute our besieged people in Shuafat camp and the city of Nablus, who are waging the most wonderful epics of heroism, challenge and redemption confronting the hateful Zionist war machine.
Glory to the martyrs, freedom to the prisoners, and healing to the wounded
Higher National Emergency Committee
Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement