The hunger strike of the Palestinian political prisoners approaches its first month and should continue mobilizing international support and action. The struggle of the Palestinians incarcerated by Israel – today, over 6,300 men, women and children – is urgent and essential in the Palestinian cause for the end of the Israeli occupation and for national liberation, and all those advocates of justice and peace must join it.
By Socorro Gomes*
Over 1,500 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel are conducting a hunger strike since the 17th of April (Palestinian Prisoners’ Day) to denounce to the world the terrible and degrading conditions of their incarceration. They reaffirm, thus, their determination in their struggle both for dignity or respect for their human rights in the prison cells of a criminal regime of military occupation, and for the achievement of national liberation.
Imprisoning the Palestinians is one of the State of Israel’s most expressive weapons. Since its creation, it uses terror and limitless repression as methods to guarantee the criminal incursion of Palestinian land. Approximately 70% of the Palestinian families have already had a member in prison for resisting the occupation. Among the 6,300 people currently incarcerated, according to the association Addameer, 300 are children and 13 are Parliamentarians. The Zionist authorities are not ashamed of blatantly violating International Humanitarian Law or human rights to maintain their policy of massive imprisonment with the goal of weakening the Palestinian people.
The incarceration of children, accusing them of throwing rocks against armored tanks and soldiers armed with M16 rifles, goes on daily under the comprehensive eyes of the so-called international community, as do the detentions without charges based on supposedly secret information, which can be increased for as long as the invaders wish, the so-called administrative detention today holding 500 people.
In the attempt to weaken the Palestinian men and women and their liberation movement, which has become synonymous to bravery and resistance, the Israeli regime has already imprisoned over 800,000 people, counting on the protective complicity of the most aggressive power of all times, the US. Yet, the Zionist occupation has failed in its ill attempt.
Solidarity and support for the Palestinian people’s just cause have increased all over the world. However, it is not enough to assure the fulfillment of the UN resolutions to guarantee the Palestinian state, since the partition proposed seventy years ago, trough General Assembly Resolution 181. The Palestinian people has the historical conscience that the only possibility of liberating their state and having it recognized will result mainly from the struggle, joined by the solidarity of peoples from the whole world.
Therefore, the Palestinians are punished by Israel with arbitrary arrest, torture, forced displacement, the brutality of repression, the demolition of their homes, devastation or grabbing of their land, execution, apartheid, genocide, exile and persecution.
The consecutive wars, aggressions and invasion of their territory by Israel, with their land expropriated and their owners expelled, or killed if their resist, have allowed Israel to extend its claws and borders. The remaining Palestinian territory was occupied, shredded and usurped by Israeli settlers and militarily surrounded. This is a disgrace.
In complete disregard for the UN resolutions, the Zionist state also prevents the Palestinians’ access to water sources, fishing banks and agricultural land, in a wicked policy to grab the minimal material conditions for survival from them. With this criminal policy, Israel has already usurped a great part of the territory destined to the Palestinians in the UN partition plan. To shut the resistance up, the Israeli authorities perpetrate all forms of crimes and violations, including against their own people. In their imperialist drive, they convert young Israeli soldiers into cruel criminals form whom Palestinian children must die, or persecute a significant part of their own population who opposes the infamy of the occupation.
The breadth and urgency of the support and solidarity is vital in the construction of a broad coalition around the immediate response and assurance of the political prisoners’ rights, of the fulfillment of UN resolutions and the Palestinian state, with its borders as demarcated before the 1967 military occupation and East Jerusalem as its capital.
The World Peace Council (WPC), in its last Assembly, in November 2017, has defined as a priority the support to the Palestinian people’s struggle for their free state, in which the prisoners’ hunger strike manifests another form of resistance that cannot be vanquished.
Resistance is the only alternative to the disappearance of the Palestinian people. Not counting on Armed Forces (Navy, Air Force or Army), the Palestinians resist against one of the strongest military powers in the world in technological terms, showing their dignity and unequaled moral strength while facing the asymmetry of a reality imposed by a military, colonialist and criminal regime.
It is unacceptable that the impunity of a power imposing an apartheid regime, cultivating hatred towards the Palestinians, even if children or youth, is accepted as natural. This regime must be repudiated by all those who honestly want peace in the region.
The WPC has expressed its support to the struggle of the political prisoners in the scope of the national resistance against the Israeli occupation and for the right to self-determination. In our solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle and in vehement rejection of the policies based on war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated on a daily basis, we must also demand the end of the impunity enjoyed by the Zionist leadership in their collusion with the imperialist powers, especially the USA.
Denouncing ill treatment, torture, violation of their rights to health, legal defense, visit of family members, the Palestinian prisoners represent the whole national struggle against oppression, massacres and the attempt of expulsion. Their protest is a bill of indictment exposing the very UN omission towards the Palestinian people and the neglect of a promise made but unfulfilled.
We will repeat the formula until it is realized: for the liberation of the political prisoners, the return of the five million refugees, for the borders set as prior to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in June 1967 and East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine. These are principled positions of which the Palestinian people will not forfeit. Therefore, we reaffirm our full solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
*Socorro Gomes is the president of the World Peace Council.