Declaration of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners

July 27th, 2017 | Posted in BDS, Palestine, Prisoners, Resistance, Solidarity, Statement

Qalandia checkpoint wall inspired painting RM

In May 2017, after 100 years of colonization, 70 years since the Nakba, and 50 years of intensified occupation, we salute the victory that the Palestinian prisoners achieved in their recent 40-day hunger strike (#DignityStrike). Let us remember that their struggle is the struggle of all Palestinians for freedom, justice and dignity.

1,500 Palestinian prisoners, out of nearly 6,500 political prisoners held in Israeli apartheid prisons, demanded the reinstatement of family visits, the right to education, access to the media and medical care. They also demanded the installation of public telephones and, more generally, the improvement of conditions of detention in order to reach acceptable standards under international law. In 40 days, the prisoners put their lives in danger, but most of these claims have been reached, and thankfully there were no deaths.

A determined, organized, coordinated and united Palestinian resistance led this strike across all the prisons in the country, and included members of Fatah, PFLP, FDLP, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Communist Party. It was severely repressed by the Israeli government in various ways: strikers were deprived of visits, they were transferred to solitary confinement cells and their property was confiscated among other punishments. After categorically refusing to do so, the Israeli authorities were forced to negotiate with leaders chosen by the Palestinian prisoners themselves, and not with representatives of reactionary Arab regimes nor with the Palestinian Authority. This strike has therefore allowed Palestinians to unite against Israeli occupation, but also against factionalism.

The families of the prisoners supported these strikes, as did numerous people all over the world, political parties, trade unions, women’s organizations, and solidarity movements from Norway to Brazil, to Canada, The United States, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, France, Portugal and Spain. They were supported as well by political prisoners in Ireland, the Philippines, Turkey, the Basque Country and in France, by the celebrated resistance fighter, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.

At a time when reactionary forces are making progress all over the world, there is a deafening international silence on Palestinian resistance, in Western countries as well as in the Arab world. The expression of Tadamon’s solidarity and support has as its aims the breaking of the wall of silence that has surrounded this political strike and which more generally surrounds the tragic fate of the Palestinian population as a whole.

As the Palestinian prisoners resisted, the Prime Minister of Quebec, Phillippe Couillard, met with the Israeli Prime Minister “to strengthen economic ties”. This is shameful! In addition, the Canadian Liberal government continues to provide unconditional support for the Israeli apartheid state and has tried to criminalize the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement launched by Palestinian organizations to express concrete solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

As they have done in the past, Israeli authorities have reneged on certain promises that had been made, such as allowing prisoners two visits a month instead of one. Several dozens of people were denied entry as they attempted to visit relatives held at an Israeli prison, in a punitive action against the imprisoned Palestinians who took part in the 40-day hunger strike. Additionally, some of the former hunger strikers who are very ill are not getting the medical care that they need.

Tadamon! calls for unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners by all possible means including strengthening the BDS campaign against Israeli apartheid, and highlighting the complicity of multinational companies such as Hewlett Packard (HP) and G4S. HP maintains the servers and other computer infrastructures of the Israeli penitentiary service, while G4S maintains the security apparatus. In the context of an international campaign against HP and G4S, we demand that they terminate their contracts with the Israeli government, which amounts to support Israeli apartheid.

The movement of Palestinian prisoners is at the heart of the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, dignity and justice. The struggle to defeat the Israeli settler colonizer state and secure the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners, the freedom of the Palestinian people and all the land of Palestine will undoubtedly be long. But as long as it is necessary we shall be at their side.

For more information:
Tadamon! Montreal

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