“We are still on the front lines:” Palestinian prisoners launch collective response after occupation forces attack detainees

Palestinian prisoners are engaged in a sharp confrontation with the Israeli occupation regime, after repressive forces invaded the Naqab desert prison on Thursday, 17 August and attacked the prisoners. Approximately 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in all prisons announced that they would start a hunger strike at 7 pm Palestine time to confront the aggression of the jailers. Prisoners also called upon the Palestinian people to mobilize and support the prisoners’ movement in its battle against repression. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network calls on all supporters of Palestine and Palestinians in exile and diaspora to organize and speak out in support of the prisoners’ struggle.

In the morning hours of 17 August, repressive units brutally stormed sections 3 and 4 of the Naqab prison, assaulting 75 prisoners, ransacking their rooms and transferring them to Nafha prison. This comes amid an extreme heat wave inside the prisons, as the prisoners are forced to live in intolerable temperatures. In addition, Mohjat al-Quds reported that they have been cut off from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners in sections 5 and 27 of the Naqab prison since Wednesday, after the prison administration sealed the sections on the prisoners.

These attacks come only days after the notorious, extreme-right fascist “Minister of National Security” of the Zionist regime, Itamar Ben Gvir, visited the Naqab desert prison to “see the progress” of implementing even further procedures to harass the prisoners and strip them of their rights. This is also only the latest in a series of atacks inside the prisons, with the latest being a raid just days ago in section 26. This also comes after a series of individual attacks and transfers, especially in Ramon prison, and the isolation and interrogation of Wael Jaghoub, Munther Khalaf Mufleh, Nael Barghouthi and other prominent Palestinian prisoners’ movement leaders.

The Higher Emergency Committee of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement issued a statement:

“Together with the ongoing operations of murder, repression, invasions, and attacks by the settler hordes against our people and our land, the reckless and failing Ben Gvir and his agents from the Prison Service officers once again appear to us, attempting to play with fire and impose new repressive measures through raids, isolation, abuse, and provocations, as well as the transfer of leaders of the prisoners’ movement and the provocative tour conducted by the so-called Ben Gvir in the prisons.

We send several messages:

First: Our message to our brave people is that we are committed to you, and we will not submit to the measures of the Zionist enemy. We are still on the front lines, and we will teach this enemy another lesson in resistance, confrontation, and unity if it continues its aggression.

Second: Our message to the enemy is that your foolishness will lead you once again to another disappointment. If you seek an open confrontation, we are ready for it, and if you return , we will return.

Third: We emphasize that in all national and Islamic action factions, we are united in one trench, as one fist, against the aggression. We will shatter the illusions of the occupier before our unity once again.

Mercy to the martyrs, freedom to the prisoners.

Higher National Emergency Committee of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement”

This comes as nine Palestinian prisoners continue their hunger strike against administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Saif Hamdan, Osama Khalil, Qusay Khader and Salah Rabaya suspended their strikes on Tuesday, 15 August after an agreement was reached to end their detention, and Yazan Hanaisha suspended his strike on Wednesday, 16 August. However, Kayed Fasfous, Sultan Khallouf, Osama Daqrouq, Hadi Nazzal, Mohammed Zakarneh, Abdel-Rahman Baraqa, Mohammed Ikhmeis, Anas Kamil and Zuhdi Abido are continuing their strikes against this regime of arbitrary imprisonment. Over 2000 administrative detention orders have been issued in the past year, and there are over 1,100 Palestinians currently jailed without charge or trial, nearly one-fourth of all Palestinian prisoners. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and Palestinians are routinely jailed for years at a time without charge, trial or evidence, on the basis of a “secret file.” This is the highest number of administrative detainees held at one time in 20 years.

Palestinian prisoners have also been engaged in collective resistance to administrative detention. On Wednesday, 16 August, prisoners in all occupation jails refused to go out for security checks in response to an ongoing series of repressive attacks and the escalation of administrative detention. On Tuesday, 15 August, detainees in Ofer prison declared that they would delay their identification by number during security checks as part of the ongoing program of struggle laid out by the Administrative Detainees’ Committee. The Committee said, “We have determined our ongoing, continuous and open battle to confront this detention, and so that confrontation does not become seasonal or intermittent, we decided upon a program of national and general protest steps that we have begun to implement from the beginning of this month.” The program includes sit-ins in the prison yards, returning meals, refusing to go to the prison clinic and other forms of disobedience, leading up to a collective open strike.

Palestinians from all political factions and resistance movements condemned the attack on the prisoner and expresed their commitment to support the prisoners’ actions. Khader Habib of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement emphasized in press statements that “The resistance will not reman silent in the face of the occupation’s crimes against the prisoners…The issue of prisoners is the issue of all sectors and components of the Palestinian pople, and the occupation is delusional if it believes that the more oppressive it is, the more it can control the Palestinian people. What the occupation comitted today against the prisoners in the Naqab prison is a full-fledged crime. The occupation must be forced to conclude an exchange agreement to liberate our prisoners.”

Following the attack on the prisoners, the resistance in Gaza conducted a missile test, firing 50 missiles over the sea in a clear message to the occupation. Ismail Radwan of Hamas said to the press that “During the coming hours, things may expand, and we hold the occupation fully responsible for the lives and of our prisoners. The enemy bears full responsibility for the repercussions of the criminal assault on our prisoners in Sections 3 and 4 in the Naqab prison. The response to the crime of attacking our prisoners will not be limited to the prisons…To the prisoners, we are with you, and we will not let you down, and we are supporting you in your strike to confront the crimes of Ben-Gvir and this extremist zionist government. We say to the occupation that your crimes will not pass without accountability, and these measures and attacks will not break the will of our prisoners.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all supporters of Palestine to take action to support the Palestinian hunger strikers and all Palestinian prisoners struggling for freedom, for their own lives and for the Palestinian people. These sons of the Palestinian popular masses are confronting the system of Israeli oppression on the front lines behind bars, with their bodies and their lives, to bring the system of administrative detention to an end. With over 1100 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial — over 20% of all Palestinian prisoners — the struggle to bring down administrative detention is more urgent than ever. Take these actions below to stand with the hunger strikers and the struggle for liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea!

Download these signs for use in your campaigns:


Protest at the Israeli Embassy or Consulate in Your Country!

Join the many protests taking place around the world — confront, isolate and besiege the Israeli embassy or consulate in your city or country of residence. Make it clear that the people are with Palestine! Send us your events at samidoun@samidoun.net.

Take to the streets: Organize a protest in solidarity with Palestine!

Take to the streets and join actions for justice! Organize your own if there is none in your area, and send us your events at samidoun@samidoun.net.

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, while many complicit corporations – including HP, G4S, Puma, Teva and others, profit from their role in support Zionist colonialism throughout occupied Palestine. By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism.

Demand Your Government Sanction Israel!

The racist, settler colonial state of Israel and its war crimes against the Palestinian people are enabled and backed extensively by the over $3.8 billion each year given to Israel by the United States — targeted directly to support the Israeli occupation military killing children, women, men and elders throughout occupied Palestine. 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!