By Reham Alhelsi
The 8500 Palestinians are our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, cousins, they are our families, they are us, every single one of us. Their pain is our pain, their suffering is our suffering, their struggle is our struggle, their captivity is our captivity and their freedom is our freedom. We are their voice and they depend on us to keep their issue alive and not forgotten.
While the whole world demands the release of the Zionist soldier Gideon Shalit, who was captured by Palestinians in Gaza while he was on a mission to kill and destroy, the so-called “free world” continues to ignore that the Zionist entity holds a whole nation hostage.
The Palestinian people in occupied Palestine have been held hostage by a brutal military occupation, confined to ghettos built on their own lands. Some 2.5 Million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are captives in their own homes, towns and villages, with military checkpoints locking them up, controlling and limiting their movement. 1.5 Million Palestinians are held hostages in the open-air prison Gaza, not allowed to leave even for urgently needed medical treatment.
In addition to that, there are over 8500 Palestinians locked up behind bars in Israeli dungeons. These 8500 Palestinians unite occupied Palestine from the River to the Sea; they unite Jerusalem with Yafa, Jenin with Ara, Hebron with Nazareth, Gaza with Akka. These 8500 Palestinians unite families, unite the pain, unite the hope and unite the struggle for freedom.
Almost every Palestinian family has had at least one family member detained by Israel. Almost every Palestinian family has been abused by Israeli soldiers while visiting their loved ones. Almost every Palestinian family has known the pain of waiting, the fear of what might happen behind bars, the hope for a near release and a safe return home. Every Palestinian family knows the meaning of detention, has felt it directly through its members. Every Palestinian family knows the meaning of freedom, for we pay the highest price for the sake of this freedom, and we love our freedom, we cherish our freedom and we yearn for our freedom and would always fight for it. Continue reading
By Stephen Lendman
Ahmad Sa’adat is the 1967-founded Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) General Secretary, one of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, sentenced in 2002 to 30 years in prison “for a range of ‘security-related’ political offenses,’ ” including his prominence in a prohibited organization.
A 1993 document stated that: “The strategic aim of the PFLP’s struggle alongside the other forces of the Palestinian revolution is to liberate Palestine from Zionist colonial occupation. The PFLP aims for the establishment of a democratic state on the entire Palestinian land, with its capital in Jerusalem. This state would guarantee legal rights and equality of opportunity to all citizens, without discrimination on the grounds of religion, sex, belief or color. It would oppose Zionism and imperialism and be oriented towards democratic unity with other Arab countries.”
“Achieving this aim presupposes a radical solution for the Palestinian national cause and readiness to wage a prolonged, complicated and difficult struggle (against Zionism), a racist, aggressive, expansionist, settler-colonial entity which aims at elimination of our people.” Great sacrifices are needed to prevent it.
Born in 1953 in Deir Tarif village near Ramallah in the West Bank, the son of dispossessed refugees, he became an activist after the 1967 Six Day War. In 2001, he was elected PFLP General Secretary, replacing Abu Ali Mustafa, assassinated by Israel on August 27 that year.
In February 1969, Israel first arrested him for PFLP activities, detaining for three months – then for 28 months in 1970, 10 months in 1973, and 45 days in 1975. That year, he graduated from United Nations WRA’s Ramallah Teaching Training College, specializing in math. In 1976, he was arrested again and held four years. In April 1981, he was elected to PLFP’s Central Committee. In 1989, he was arrested and detained nine months, again in 1992 for 13 months, then released but declared a “wanted person,” subject to re-arrest without cause. Continue reading
By Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH (IPS) – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is helping Israel to construct an apartheid road infrastructure in the occupied Palestinian West Bank by financing nearly a quarter of the segregated road system primarily for the benefit of Israeli settlers.
USAID’s figures state that the agency has financed 235 km of roads in the West Bank in the past decade, and is preparing to add another 120 km by the end of this year, reported Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan Cook in the United Arab Emirates paper ‘The National’.
According to an April report released by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), USAID has helped build 114 km of segregated roads in the Palestinian territory despite assurances from Washington six years ago that it would not assist in the construction after the Palestinian Authority (PA) protested. Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem reports that 170 km of roads in the West Bank are either off-limits to Palestinians or highly restricted.
After the Oslo Peace Accord in 1994, Israel requested the international community to finance 500 km of roads for the Palestinians, later termed ‘fabric of life’ roads, including upgrading agricultural tracks and constructing many underpasses and bridges, at a cost of 200 million US dollars, reported Cook. However, donor countries rejected this request due to PA’s protests that the entrenched apartheid-system infrastructure would strengthen the settlements and make their presence a permanent fixture while justifying more expropriation of Palestinian land. But it would appear that the PA has been railroaded, at the behest of Israel, into accepting USAID in a take it or leave it scenario. Continue reading