India: Political Prisoner Advocates Declare Unity with Palestinian Prisoners, Hunger Strikers

CRPP Statement on the struggle of Palestinian prisoners lodged in Israeli prisons


12 June 2014

A large number of Palestinians now incarcerated in the Israeli prisons have begun an indefinite hunger strike since 24 April 2014 against the Zionist policy of “administrative detention” of Palestinians fighting for justice, dignity and a separate independent state for the Palestinian people. A group of 120 Palestinian political prisoners started a hunger strike and were later joined by more inmates and the strike has entered its 46th day today. This policy of administrative detention is but imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to imprison Palestinians for up to six months initially and then extend it for indefinite periods of time which can go to years together.

The conditions inside prisons are abysmal. According to WAFA Palestinian News & Information Agency, in the face of this hunger strike, Israeli Prison Service, in a mad rage for vengeance, has ordered prison guards to treat the inmates brutally. They have been holding prisoners on hunger-strike in solitary confinement and have also confiscated their belongings, except for their clothes, as a means of exerting pressure over them to end their strike.

According to the Press TV, the health conditions of many of the striking prisoners held in solitary confinement are critical. More than 100 prisoners have been sent to hospital for medical care. “The weight of striking prisoners has gone down by an average of 16 kgs”, said Jawad Bolus, a Palestinian lawyer who visited eight of the hospitalized inmates, according to The Jerusalem Post.

While the prisoners have been fighting for a noble and just cause inside the dungeons, people outside have taken to the streets almost daily in solidarity with black and white flags bearing slogans such as “Freedom for Prisoners” and “Chains must be broken”. Shops were shattered in the West Bank City of Ramallah on 7 June, where a commercial strike was observed. In Hebron also, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, many Palestinian protesters marched in the streets in support of the hunger strikers.

The members of the families of the people on hunger-strike extended their support for the fast despite the risks to lives. “My husband is in Israeli jails without knowing why and when their nightmare is going to end”, Lamees Faraz said of her husband Abdul Razeg, who is a member of a small group of Palestine Liberation Organization faction and has been in administrative detention for almost 8 of the last 20 years.

Faced with this major movement in prison, the second largest one since 2012, the Israeli government is promoting a bill that would allow a judge to sanction force-feeding to end the strike. This is another of those pressure tactics attended with cruelty of a savage kind that characterizes the Zionist state. However, such a move did not go unopposed and this time it has come from within the Israeli society. There has been a mounting opposition from Israel’s medical establishment, with the Israel Medical Association urging physicians not to cooperate. “Force-feeding is torture and we can’t have doctors participating in torture. It goes against the DNA of the doctors”, said spokeswoman Ziva Miral.

The heroic struggle of the Palestinian prisoners has been drawing universal attention. The United Nations has voiced concern over the health of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. On 6th June, UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki moon expressed concern about the deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainees. He reiterated his long-standing position that they be charged or released without delay. Nearly 20 human rights groups and the Palestinian Ministry for Prisons recently wrote a letter to European foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, to bring her attention to the situation of the hunger-striking Palestinians.

The people of the Indian subcontinent are very much aware of the draconian nature of such provisions as Administrative Detention which is a nice word to deny or negate the worst crime of denial of the fundamental rights of the people being committed by the Zionist anti-people state. The peoples of the Indian subcontinent have their own torrid experiences—in the form of Preventive Detention Laws like the Public Safety Act in Jammu & Kashmir and similar such draconian legislation in the regions of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu—to relate to the struggle of their Palestinian fraternity. Hundreds of people have been put behind bars using such draconian legislations. Impunity has been the hallmark of the police, paramilitary and the military in these regions. As we all know many of such Preventive Detention Laws had its origin in the colonial times and is still being implemented with more teeth against people who are struggling for their political aspirations, against displacement from their homelands, against the politics of loot and plunder, for their lives and livelihoods.

The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners(CRPP) upholds the just struggle of the Palestinian political prisoners and extends its solidarity to their noble cause they have been fighting for from the core of its heart. The CRPP strongly believes that in some near or distant future, that day will definitely come when human values would prevail over human cruelty and life would triumph over death. Zionism would fail. People of Palestine would be victorious. Glory to the striking Palestinian Political Prisoners! Down with Zionism! Away with the Israeli Dungeons! The Shackles will be broken!

In Solidarity,
SAR Geelani, President
Amit Bhattacharyya, Secretary General
Rona Wilson, Secretary, Public Relations

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