On Monday, 23 October, Palestinian political prisoner Sheikh Omar Hamza Daraghmeh, 58, was martyred in the Israeli occupation jails, only hours after a video hearing in his case where was reported to be in good health, without any symptoms of illness or discomfort. Daraghmeh, from Tubas, was a leader in Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement. He was seized with his son Hamza on 9 October, two of the over 1,000 Palestinian detainees abducted by the occupation following Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October and amid the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Palestinian organizations across the board have affirmed that Daraghmeh was targeted in an assassination carried out by the occupation, and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins them in denouncing this latest Zionist crime against the prisoners taking place amid the backdrop of the genocidal bombing campaign being waged upon the Palestinian people of Gaza.
The assassination of Omar Daraghmeh comes as part and parcel of the same genocidal war of ongoing Nakba against the Palestinian people. It aims to target the Palestinian prisoners’ movement as a whole, to undermine the prisoners’ unity and steadfastness in confronting the occupation. It particularly comes as the Palestinian resistance has captured prisoners of war in order to seek a prisoner exchange to liberate the Palestinian prisoners jailed by the occupation and its imperialist allies and backers.
Over 1,000 Palestinians have been seized in mass arrest campaigns targeting Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and occupied Palestine ’48 since the Al-Aqsa Flood and amid the ongoing genocide in Gaza. This comes in addition to the nearly 4,000 Palestinian workers from Gaza working with permits, who have been detained en masse in detention camps, raising the number of total Palestinian prisoners to over 10,300. 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.
In addition, the battle is continuing inside the prisons, with multiple Palestinian prisoners and their families reporting an intense siege imposed upon the prisoners. Family visits have been banned and electricity, water and food have been repeatedly cut to prisoners in multiple prisons, with water being restricted to one hour per day. Televisions, radios and other forms of access to media have been cut from the prisoners to restrict their access to knowledge about the genocidal assault on Gaza as well as the actions of the Palestinian resistance. In addition, prison clinics have been closed down and prisoners denied access to medical treatment, and many prisoners have been severely beaten and tortured when being taken to either court hearings or virtual court hearing rooms in the past 18 days. It is in this context that the occupation prison administration announced that Omar Daraghmeh had announced that he was not feeling well, was taken to the prison clinic and “died,” without explanation.
The martyrdom of Sheikh Omar Daraghmeh was not an accident or a coincidence; it is a method of assassination intended to threaten and terrorize the Palestinian prisoners, their movement and their leadership. Daraghmeh was one of 1600 Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention, jailed without charge or trial. He was ordered to detention almost immediately following his arrest. Today, he becomes the 238th martyr of the prisoners’ movement, lives taken through medical neglect, colonial imprisonment, torture and outright assassination. The occupation continues to imprison the bodies of 11 martyrs of the prisoners’ movement alongside hundreds of strugglers for Palestine whose bodies are held captive.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns Sheikh Omar Daraghmeh and extends its condolences to his family, his fellow strugglers, and the Palestinian people, including his imprisoned son Hamza. He is married and the father of four children; his brother, Ashraf Daraghmeh, was assassinated by the Israeli occupation forces in 2002.
The assassination of Omar Daraghmeh is part of the comprehensive aggression and genocide targeting 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.