A campaign of assassination and torture: The martyrdom of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Yasser Hamdan

On Tuesday, 24 October, less than 24 hours after the assassination of Palestinian prisoner Sheikh Omar Daraghmeh, 58, fellow Palestinian prisoner Arafat Yasser Hamdan, 25, was martyred in Ofer prison by Israeli occupation forces, only two days after his arrest by the occupation forces. Hamdan was among over 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners seized by the occupation throughout the West Bank, Jerusalem and occupied Palestine ’48 following the launch of the Al-Aqsa Flood operation by the Palestinian resistance on 7 October and amid the ongoing genocide it is waging against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins the Palestinian prisoners’ movement in affirming that the martyrdom of Arafat Yasser Hamdan represents a clear policy of assassinatiion and murder by torture targeting the Palestinian prisoners that is part and parcel of the genocidal war on the Palestinian people. 

As in the case of Daraghmeh, who was martyred in Megiddo prison, the occupation prison administration claimed that Hamdan, from Beit Sira, near Ramallah, had sudenly “felt unwell and was transferred to the prison clinic,” where he was declared dead. The healthy 25-year-old was arrested only 2 days ago, meaning that he was likely under interrogation when he was martyred.

It is notable that the killing of Arafat Yasser Hamdan took place in Ofer prison, where the Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission released just today a list of the ongoing severe conditions imposed upon the Palestinian prisoners held there. There are currently approximately 6,300 Palestinian political prisoners jailed as well as approximately 4,000 Palestinian workers from Gaza who have been rounded up into Zionist prison camps. As Samidoun stated upon the martyrdom of Daraghmeh, “The massive escalation of arrests aims not only to undermine the organization of resistance, solidarity and rising struggle against the genocide in Gaza, but also in an attempt to prevent the resistance from achieving a prisoner exchange for imprisoned Palestinian leaders, strugglers serving life sentences and other prisoners that the occupation wants to avoid exchanging for the release of its prisoners of war.”

As the occupation continues its genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza, which has already taken over 5,700 Palestinian martyrs’ lives, it is conducting a simultaneous campaign of targeting the prisoners, up to and including assassination by torture. All Palestinian prisoners in Ofer are subjected to collective punishment, including the confiscation of all electrical devices, including heating plates, televisions and radios (denying them access to news of the assault and the resistance); cutting electicity to the sections throughout the day; denial of access to the courtyard; destruction of sports equipment; cutting off of all hot water; closure of the kitchen; constant room searches and raids; overcrowding of the prison rooms; and the continued escalation of administrative detention orders. Palestinian prisoners whose sentences have ended are being ordered jailed without charge or trial rather than released.

Arafat Yasser Hamdan has become the 239th martyr of the prisoners’ movement, lives taken through medical neglect, colonial imprisonment, torture and outright assassination. The occupation continues to imprison the bodies of 12 martyrs of the prisoners’ movement (incluing Daraghmeh) alongside hundreds of strugglers for Palestine whose bodies are held captive.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns Arafat Yasser Hamdan, the second Palestinian prisoner assassinated in less than one day, as prisoners are targeted in the ongoing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and the Palestinian people as a whole.  We express our deepest condolences to his family, his fellow strugglers, the prisoners’ movement and the Palestinian people as a whole.

Our focus on the collective defense of Gaza and organizing to end the bombing, break the siege and shatter the deadly alliance of Western imperialist powers like the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Italy with the Zionist regime will not prevent our movement from defending the Palestinian prisoners and confronting the ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people everywhere. We stand with the Palestinian people, the prisoners’ movement, the Arab people and all of the peoples of the world rising up, mobilizing and acting to bring an end to the genocide in Gaza and to liberate Palestine, from the river to the sea.