Attacks on Samidoun: PayPal’s complicity in silencing Palestinian prisoners

The Israeli state and the Zionist movement are continuing their attacks on the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestine solidarity movement. One of the most recent effects of these attacks was the closing of Samidoun’s PayPal account. On its face, this is nothing new: PayPal has shut down the accounts of numerous groups supporting Palestinian rights around the world, including BDS campaign organizations, political parties and even media organizations at the behest of demands from various pro-apartheid politicians and agencies.

On the other hand, the sensationalistic attacks posted in pro-Zionist, pro-apartheid media on anyone who struggles for the rights of the Palestinian people and especially the Palestinian prisoners reflect an ongoing effort to isolate the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails by cutting off international moral and political support for their freedom struggle. As a grassroots, unfunded organization, Samidoun very much relies on the small and generous donations provided by contributors, people of conscience who want to ensure that Palestinian prisoners – and the Palestinian people – are not silenced.

On 23 April, we were suddenly told that our account had been “permanently limited,” due to the “nature of our activities.” This is word-for-word the same message that numerous other global Palestine advocacy organizations have received over the years to block them from receiving donations via PayPal. No appeal mechanism is permitted. This cannot be separated from the company’s ongoing refusal to provide services to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while continuing to make its products available to illegal Israeli settlements.

Closing our PayPal account is another method designed to make it more difficult for us to continue to do our work. We are committed to do so, however. So long as Palestinian women and men, children and elders, are held behind colonial bars because they struggle for freedom, we are determined to work alongside them to achieve that goal – for the prisoners and all of Palestine.

Your contribution can help to push back against these attacks. You can donate online to Samidoun here, and if you are interested in donating another way or giving your time to help us, please email us at samidoun@samidoun.net.

An entire Israeli state ministry, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, has been granted an undisclosed budget that reportedly numbers in the tens of millions of dollars to fight back against the growing popular movement around the world in solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people. In particular, this ministry has directed its efforts against supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. It has also taken a special interest in attacking Palestinian human rights defenders and solidarity organizations working to expose Israeli repression against Palestinian political prisoners and campaign for their freedom, including Samidoun.

This ministry is headed by Gilad Erdan, a far-right Likud politician who also heads the Ministry of Internal Security in Netanyahu’s government – overseeing the Israel Prison Service itself. It was the “Erdan commission” that promulgated the recent repressive attacks against Palestinian prisoners that led to the collective hunger strike of April 2019 – ending in a victory for the prisoners. It comes as no surprise that the same institutions responsible for confiscating the rights gained by Palestinian prisoners through years of struggle also want to silence, criminalize and suppress all activists and organizations who work to support those prisoners’ rights on an international level.

Most recently, this ministry published a report, “Terrorists in Suits.” Full of misinformation, deception and outright false information, the report aims to cast support for Palestinian prisoners, the boycott of Israel and human rights defense as “terrorism.” Samidoun was attacked alongside many other Palestinian and international organizations for one simple reason – because we defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners.

The Ministry is also heavily involved in interfering in campaigns for justice around the world. It was referred to repeatedly in the US “The Lobby” Al-Jazeera documentary series, censored and then revealed by the Electronic Intifada, working to pass anti-BDS laws and attack student groups and community organizers in the United States. It claimed credit for prohibiting a speech by former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor Rasmea Odeh in Germany, as well as the stripping of her Schengen visa.

Via its social media accounts, it continues to attack Belgian artist, worker and activist Mustapha Awad after he returned home from being released after 253 days of unjust Israeli imprisonment. The ministry’s social media page has hosted death threats against Mustapha from various far-right, racist commenters – after even the notoriously biased Israeli court system released him early from Israeli imprisonment. It is difficult to see these ongoing attacks as anything other than an attempt to silence him from telling his story, including his experiences of cruel and inhumane treatment, and that of his fellow Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian people are facing conditions of siege nearly everywhere, of course most notably in the Gaza Strip and in the Israeli occupation prisons. These arbitrary attacks – and PayPal’s acquiescence to these groundless threats over and over again – are but one small part of that larger siege which we are struggling to break, on the road to victory and liberation for Palestine.

To donate to Samidoun, please click here.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah’s statement for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day 2019

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah issued the following statement on the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day 2019. The imprisoned Arab Communist struggler for Palestine has been jailed in French prisons for 34 years, despite being eligible for release since 1999. The U.S. government has repeatedly intervened in an attempt to prevent his release from prison, while a growing movement in Lebanon, France and internationally demands his liberation.

Translated from the French at Collectif Palestine Vaincra

Dear comrades, dear friends;

The conditions of detention of the Palestinian Resistance strugglers in Zionist jails have been worsening in recent times.

Since the beginning of the year, Gilad Erdan, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, seeks to impose a “new reality” upon our fellow prisoners with the aim of reversing or simply extinguishing the rights that they have acquired through multople, courageous struggles in past years. Raids, searches and other forms of repression are escalating in the various Israeli prisons. The special units, heavily armed for repression, are engaged in the worst excesses during these various invasions. There were over 120 prisoners wounded in Ketziot in the repression of protests since February, as well as in Ofer, the Negev prison and elsewhere in the other detention centers….

All of this is meant to intimidate and to multiply the difficulties of our comrades as they are unable to break them: confiscation of personal items, isolation, cancellation of family visits, transfers. And many comrades are beaten during each invasion of these repressive units. This is not to mention the “bosta” and all the suffering of our female comrades, especially during transfers…

Following this situation, our comrades announced the launch of a collective hunger strike in Israeli jails. Key leaders of the prisoners’ movement and the national liberation movement as a whole joined the strike, and hundreds planned to join the strike in the coming days. It was expected that the strike would escalate just today, 17 April, in Palestine and internationally, on Palestinian prisoners’ day. However, the Zionist authorities found it useful to back down for the moment in face of the growing movement and its potential, especially in light of the latest developments in the Arab wold, namely the promising movements in Algeria and Sudan. As you see comrades, the revolutionary strugglers, often in particularly difficult circumstances, seek by all means to defeat the policies of destruction they are subjected to in the enemy’s jails. However, the outcome of this confrontation, the outcome of these hard battles, is always a function of the solidarity of the masses and the unwavering commitment of the vanguard in the field of ongoing struggle.

In 1974, the Palestinian National Conference declared 17 April to be Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. This was not only meant to denounce on this occasion the barbarism of the Zionist occupier nor was it only intended to honor the captive resistance by reminding the masses of their sacrifices and their unwavering willingness to stand up against the Zionist military forces. The commemoration of this Palestinian Prisoners’ Day is intended, above all else, to affirm loudly and strongly the determination to tear our comrades from the claws of their criminal jailers. Indeed, on several occasions, the vanguards of the Palestinian revolutionary struggle took on this task with great courage and self-sacrifice, forcing the enemy to release thousands of imprisoned comrades without any concessions on their part.

Today, comrades, here we are gathered again, in different countries of the world, to commemorate Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and especially to express our unwavering solidarity with the resistance in the Zionist jails and our complete confidence in the determination of the Palestinian revolutionary vanguards and their firm resolve to do what is necessary to tear our resisting comrades from the clutches of the Zionist criminal jailers.

May a thousand solidarity initiatives blossom in support of our flowers and cubs imprisoned in the Zionist prisons!

May a thousand solidarity initiatives blossom in favor of the strugglers of the right of return initiatives!

Solidarity, all solidarity with the resistance in Zionist jails and isolation cells in Morocco, Turkey, the Philippines and everywhere around the world!

Solidarity, all solidarity with the resisting revolutionary comrades in the jails in Greece!

May a thousand solidarity initiatives blossom in support of the Algerian, Sudanese and Yemeni masses!

Solidarity, all solidarity, with the young proletarians of the working-class neighborhoods!

Capitalism is nothing but barbarism. Honor to all those who oppose it in the diversity of their expressions!

Together, comrades, and only together, we will win!

To all of you, comrades and friends, my warmest revolutionary greetings.

Your comrade, Georges Abdallah.

(Source / 20.04.2019) 

Palestinian prisoners reach agreement to achieve demands, end hunger strike

Palestinian prisoners have reached an agreement with the Israeli prison administration to achieve their demands and suspend their hunger strike, the Battle of Dignity 2, on Monday, 15 April. The agreement came as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were engaged in their eighth day of a collective hunger strike.

According to the leadership of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, the agreement includes the installation of public telephones in the prison sections, which prisoners would be allowed to use three times a week for 15-minute calls, as well as stopping the installation of cell-phone jamming devices. In addition, the repressive measures and sanctions imposed in the past year upon the prisoners will also be lifted, while fines imposed on prisoners in recent struggles inside the prisons would be reduced. Hundreds more prisoners have been set to join the hunger strike in the coming days, especially 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that the agreement also included provisions to transfer the women prisoners from Damon prison to another detention center; the prisoners have repeatedly cited harsh, difficult conditions unsuitable for human life in the Damon prison. In addition, sick prisoners would be returned to the previous section in the Ramleh prison clinic, an area that was considered better than their current location.

The National and Islamic Forces held a press conference in Gaza City to highlight the prisoners’ final statement“The battle is not over; the hardest phase of this struggle is to implement what has been agreed upon,” the prisoners wrote, noting that previous agreements have been repeatedly broken by the Israeli prison administration.

They saluted the prisoners in section 4 of the Negev desert prison and section 1 in Ramon prison who were attacked by Israeli repressive forces, noting that “their great sacrifices underline that freedom and dignity are…human rights that cannot be denied.” They saluted Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, occupied Palestine ’48 and exile and diaspora, as well as supporters of freedom around the world, journalists and prisoners’ centers, that stood with the prisoners in their struggle. The statement particularly saluted “the people and leadership in Gaza,” noting their unity in commitment to the struggle.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest salutes and greetings to all of the Palestinian prisoners on this occasion of victory. These achievements follow on many historical accomplishments of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, on the front lines of the Palestinian liberation struggle, extracting their victories through great sacrifice, with their bodies and lives on the line. As Palestinian Prisoners Day approaches, we emphasize our continuing dedication to work for the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners and the freedom of Palestine from the river to the sea.

Mohammed Tabanja, Hussam al-Ruzza, Khaled Farraj

In addition, we urge people around the world to continue their solidarity activities to support the Palestinian prisoners, throughout the coming days, months and years, until their freedom is achieved. In particular, we emphasize the cases of three Palestinian prisoners who remain on hunger strike: Hussam al-Ruzza (61), Mohammed Tabanja (40) and Khaled Farraj (31). Al-Ruzza has been on hunger strike since 19 March – nearly one month – while Tabanja and Farraj have been on hunger strike since 25 March. All are held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders, and their detention has been repeatedly and arbitrarily renewed.

They are among nearly 500 Palestinians out of approximately 5,500 Palestinian prisoners jailed with no charges and no trial for indefinitely renewable periods under administrative detention. The end of administrative detention is a long-time demand of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and supporters of justice and liberation around the world. Join the call to free Hussam al-Ruzza, Mohammed Tabanja, Khaled Farraj and all Palestinian prisoners!

(Source / 17.04.2019) 

Israeli forces invade prison cells of Palestinian leaders Ahmad Sa’adat and Walid Daqqa

Israeli occupation forces invaded the rooms of Palestinian prisoners and national leaders on Wednesday, 10 April. Repressive forces from the “Yamar Dror” units invaded the rooms of Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Walid Daqqa, the longest-held PFLP prisoner and a widely published Palestinian writer.

The invasion came after Daqqa was arbitrarily and suddenly transferred from Ramon prison to Hadarim prison; both Sa’adat and Daqqa were targeted in retaliation for their role in the “Battle of Dignity 2,” the mass hunger strike now on its third day in Israeli occupation prisons. Sa’adat, who is held in Ramon prison, is part of the prisoners’ coordinating committee for the strike. There are reportedly approximately 400 Palestinian prisoners taking part in the strike, with more scheduled to join in batches on 11 April, 13 April and 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.

From Baqaa’ al-Gharbiyeh in occupied Palestine ’48, Walid Daqqa has spent over 32 years in Israeli prisons, accused of kidnapping and killing an Israeli occupation soldier. Daqqa has become a prominent figure inside Israeli prisons and in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, writing about his experience and that of fellow prisoners and gaining his masters’ degree.

The staging of a play that reflects Daqqa’s stories and experiences, “A Parallel Time,” in Haifa’s al-Midan Theater in 2015, sparked attempts by the Israeli state to defund the theater and other Palestinian cultural institutions. Daqqa also wrote a children’s book that was published last year, “The Story of the Secret of the Oil.” The book won awards at Arab festivals, while Israeli officials attempted to suppress its publication and distribution. A launch event for the book in the town of Majd al-Kurum was shut down by far-right Israeli minister Aryeh Deri.

The Palestinian prisoners’ strike was launched in response to escalated repression inside the Israeli prisons directed by the minister of internal security Gilad Erdan (also directing international attacks against BDS organizing and Palestine solidarity and working to suppress freedom of expression around the world in his role as the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs.) Erdan, a far-right minister of the Likud party, has also used the attacks on the Palestinian prisoners as a plank in his Israeli electoral campaigning, a campaign that has been marked by competition over war crimes, apartheid and racism.

The prisoners’ demands include:

  • Installation of public telephones in the prisons and removal of the cell-phone “jammer” devices installed by the occupation, which reportedly have negative health effects
  • An end of the collective punishments imposed by prison authorities since 2014 and especially the sanctions imposed recently on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails after the repressive attacks in Negev and Ofer prisons.
  • Cancellation of a ban on family visits imposed on hundreds of prisoners and return to a normal (twice-monthly) schedule of family visits for all prisoners.
  • Ending the policy of medical negligence and dull access to medical treatment for injured, wounded and ill prisoners
  • Ending isolation and solitary confinement
  • Improved conditions and freedom for the child prisoners
  • Improving the conditions on the “bosta” for prisoner transfer and addressing violations of Palestinian women prisoners’ human rights.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest support for the Palestinian prisoners’ movement as it launches this critical battle for dignity and justice. We urge people around the world to take action to support the prisoners’ strike and join their struggle. The Palestinian prisoners will not be isolated or left alone! International solidarity is critical to building support, attention and pressure to help them achieve their demands. 

Take Action!

1) Organize or join an event or protest for the Palestinian prisoners. From today, organize demonstrations, actions and events and join in the Prisoners’ Week of Action from 17 to 24 April 2019! You can organize an info table, rally, solidarity hunger strike, protest or action to support the prisoners. If you are already holding an event about Palestine or social justice, include solidarity with the prisoners as part of your action. Send your events and reports to samidoun@samidoun.net.

2) Write letters and make phone calls to protest the violation of Palestinian prisoners’ rights. Demand your government take action to stop supporting Israeli occupation or to pressure the Israeli state to end the policies of repression of Palestinian political prisoners.

Call during your country’s regular office hours:

• Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne: + 61 2 6277 7500
• Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland: +1-613-992-5234
• European Union Commissioner Federica Mogherini: +32 (0) 2 29 53516
• New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters: +64 4 439 8000
• United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: +44 20 7008 1500
• United States President Donald Trump: 1-202-456-1111

3) Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Join the BDS campaign to highlight the complicity of corporations like Hewlett-Packard and the continuing involvement of G4S in Israeli policing and prisons. Build a campaign to boycott Israeli goods, impose a military embargo on Israel, or organize around the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

(Source / 10.04.2019) 

Breaking News: Palestinian prisoners launch collective hunger strike to demand justice and dignity

Art by Josh MacPhee for Decolonize This Place #DignityStrike campaign

Palestinian prisoners have announced the launch of a collective hunger strike in Israeli prisons on Monday, 8 April to demand an end to the ongoing and escalated repression inside the prisons. The strike is being led by a number of leaders from all of the Palestinian political parties and organizations inside Israeli prisons, with 120 prisoners launching the open hunger strike as a first step toward a collective hunger strike of all prisoners, in a declaration of a “second battle of dignity (Karameh).”

The Handala Center for Prisoners and Former Prisoners said that the strike was launched in response to the Israel Prison Service’s reneging on previously agreed-upon understandings to lessen the level of repression imposed on the prisoners. Specifically, Allam Kaabi said, the prison administration had previously agreed to make telephone calls available to all except for those classified by the occupation as “security matters,” but then disavowed that understanding.  The prisoners are represented by a leadership group representing all political forces; Ahmad Sa’adat, Palestinian national leader and the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is part of this coordinating committee.

The strike comes one day before the Israeli elections, in which a slew of right-wing candidates have competed with one another to pledge harsher attacks against the Palestinian people, including Palestinians in Gaza and Palestinian political prisoners.

As part of his own campaign efforts, Gilad Erdan, Israeli Minister of Internal Security, has imposed even more harsh repressive measures on Palestinian prisoners alongside public announcements and displays in an attempt to boost support for the Likud. (It should be noted that Erdan is also head of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, responsible for global campaigns against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) and Palestine solidarity. In this context, Erdan has focused specific attacks on human rights organizations and solidarity groups supporting Palestinian prisoners, including Samidoun.)

These repressive attacks have included multiple invasions of prisoners’ cells, rooms and sections by heavily armed repressive units. Prisoners’ belongings have been searched and confiscated, while multiple prisoners have been transferred from section to section. Prisoners have been beaten by these forces, who have also fired tear gas within the confined space of prison sections, leading to multiple injuries. Thouands of books have been confiscated from the prisoners, while family visits have been banned for many prisoners, especially those associated with the Hamas movement. In addition, devices such as surveillance cameras and alleged mobile-phone jammers have been installed in the prisons, further elevating the level of surveillance faced by the prisoners.

These attacks have come under the banner of Erdan’s committee to “examine the conditions of the prisoners” in order to “impose a new reality” on Palestinian prisoners – precisely designed to roll back the rights that the prisoners have only won through years of struggle, including hunger strikes and other protests. The prisoners’ demands include: the installation of public telephones in the prisons to allow them to communicate with their families, the removal of the jamming devices, the return of family visits to normal and the abolition of all of the repressive measures, sanctions and penalties imposed on the prisoners.

According to breaking news reports from Palestine, key leaders of the prisoners’ movement and the Palestinian national liberation movement as a whole have joined the strike and hundreds are planning to join the strike in the coming days. The strike is planned to escalate on 17 April, marked in Palestine and internationally as Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. There are currently around 5,500 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, including 48 women, 230 children and nearly 500 held without charge or trial under indefinitely renewable administrative detention orders.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest support for the Palestinian prisoners’ movement as it launches this critical battle for dignity and justice. We urge people around the world to take action to support the prisoners’ strike and join their struggle. The Palestinian prisoners will not be isolated or left alone! International solidarity is critical to building support, attention and pressure to help them achieve their demands. 

Take Action!

1) Organize or join an event or protest for the Palestinian prisoners. From today, organize demonstrations, actions and events and join in the Prisoners’ Week of Action from 17 to 24 April 2018! You can organize an info table, rally, solidarity hunger strike, protest or action to support the prisoners. If you are already holding an event about Palestine or social justice, include solidarity with the prisoners as part of your action. Send your events and reports to samidoun@samidoun.net.

2) Write letters and make phone calls to protest the violation of Palestinian prisoners’ rights. Demand your government take action to stop supporting Israeli occupation or to pressure the Israeli state to end the policies of repression of Palestinian political prisoners.

Call during your country’s regular office hours:

• Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne: + 61 2 6277 7500
• Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland: +1-613-992-5234
• European Union Commissioner Federica Mogherini: +32 (0) 2 29 53516
• New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters: +64 4 439 8000
• United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: +44 20 7008 1500
• United States President Donald Trump: 1-202-456-1111

3) Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Join the BDS campaign to highlight the complicity of corporations like Hewlett-Packard and the continuing involvement of G4S in Israeli policing and prisons. Build a campaign to boycott Israeli goods, impose a military embargo on Israel, or organize around the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

(Source / 08.04.2019) 

Statement: Zionism is Not Compatible with Prison Abolition or Reform

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is a signatory of the statement below, initiated by Critical Resistance and members of the U.S. Prisoner, Labor and Academic Delegation to Palestine. We urge groups and activists involved in the prison abolition and prisoner justice movements to add their names to this important document.

Images by Nidal al-Khairy

PLEASE SIGN ON TO SUPPORT THIS STATEMENT

We are formerly incarcerated people, activists and scholars committed to ending mass incarceration and dismantling the U.S. prison industrial complex. We are deeply concerned with the mounting effort on the part of pro-Israel, Zionist organizations in the U.S. to appropriate a criminal justice reform platform in order to advance the racist ideology and practice of Zionism. These organizations are using this platform to win prison reform advocates, especially Black and other people of color, to their political agenda of attacking the human rights of the Palestinian people. This subterfuge is particularly hypocritical at a time when Zionist groups have recently mounted frontal attacks against Black leaders such as Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander and Marc Lamont Hill because of their support for Palestinian freedom, and at a time when Israel is brutally escalating their offensive against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. We call upon all those involved in the prison reform and abolition movements to refuse to participate in these dishonest and destructive programs.

A case in point is the recent Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) conference.  The conference had panels, speakers and workshops on prison reform side by side with workshops and lobbying aimed at attacking and defeating the grassroots movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).  The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 to expose the brutal reality of Israeli apartheid and pressure Israel to comply with international law with respect to Palestinian rights and freedom. Israel and Zionist organizations in the U.S. are determined to undermine the success of BDS through a lethal combination of threats, attacks, repressive legislation and cooptation.

Michelle Alexander explains, in her recent breakthrough opinion piece in the New York Times, that many civil rights advocates have remained silent on the issue of Palestine “not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations, and false charges of anti-Semitism. They worry, as I once did, that their important social justice work will be compromised or discredited by smear campaigns.”  Alexander’s article was immediately met with angry denunciations by organizations that are members of the JCPA  such as B’nai B’rith International, which called the piece  an error-ridden “rant,” and the Anti-Defamation League, which condemned it as “dangerously flawed.”

It is two-faced for Zionist organizations to set themselves up as prison reformers while turning a blind eye toand covering upthe abhorrent conditions that Palestinians experience in Israeli prisons.  Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians meaning that 1 in 5 Palestinians have been incarcerated since that time.

Some of us have traveled to Palestine and have witnessed firsthand how Palestinian children are tried in Israeli military courts, against international law, and convicted in “trials” conducted in a language they don’t understand.  We have learned about the system of administrative detention where Palestinians can be held in prison without charge or a trial for an indefinite amount of time. We have met with Palestinian families whose homes have been destroyed as “collective punishment” after the arrest of a family member.  We have understood that Israel imprisons Palestinians in order to suppress their struggle for freedom, just as the U.S. criminal legal system targets Black and Brown communities as a means of continuing their subjugation.

Conferences about criminal justice should have formerly incarcerated people as keynote speakers, panelists and workshop presenters.  Even more importantly, formerly incarcerated people should be central to setting the agenda for conferences, organizations and the movement for fundamental change against the U.S. prison industrial complex.  But we cannot challenge a system that is founded on racism by aligning with Zionism, an ideology and practice rooted in racism against Palestinians. Our struggle can only grow stronger when we join in solidarity with Palestine’s struggle for self-determination and freedom.

In Joint Struggle,

– Members of the U.S. Prisoner, Labor and Academic Solidarity Delegation to Palestine

– Critical Resistance

Delegation Members:

Hank Jones, formerly incarcerated activist

Claude Marks, formerly incarcerated activist and archivist

Laura Whitehorn, formerly incarcerated activist and author

Rabab Abdulhadi, professor, author, and activist

Diana Block, activist and author

Dennis Childs, professor, author and activist

Susie Day, writer and activist

Emory Douglas, artist and activist

Johanna Fernándezprofessor, author and activist

Diane Fujino, professor, author and activist

Anna Henry, activist

Rachel Herzing, independent scholar

Isaac Ontiveros, activist

Jaime Veve, organizer

Endorsing Organizations:

Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

Arab Resource and Organizing Center

Black for Palestine

Black Youth Project 100

Freedom Archives

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area

Lynne Stewart Organization

North East Political Prisoner Coalition

Palestinian Youth Movement – USA

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

US Campaign for Palestinian Human Rights

US Palestine Community Network

(Source / 02.04.2019) 

Join the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege: Worldwide Solidarity This Weekend

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege in Gaza – also the 43rd anniversary of Land Day – Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins Palestinians and people around the world in encouraging all supporters of justice to join in solidarity actions at this critical timeLand Day has been marked since 1976 not only to highlight Palestinians’ connection to the land and their struggle to liberate it from ongoing colonialism, but also to remember the six Palestinians slain on 30 March of that year in Palestine ’48 as they protested against land theft and confiscation.

Palestinians in Gaza, 70 percent of them refugees denied their right to return home, marked Land Day in 2018 with a massive march, bringing tens of thousands and even more to the colonially-imposed “border” and its associated “fence.” They demanded not only an end to the suffocating siege under which they have suffered for over a decade, progressively intensifying and persisting through three devastating wars. They also brought to the forefront the core of the Palestinian struggle for liberation: the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands confiscated by Zionist colonization. It is a struggle that belongs not only to the Palestinians in Gaza, but to all Palestinians around the world, especially those in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and those Palestinians dispersed even further from their homeland.

For organizing in a mass, collective demonstration highlighting this most fundamental Palestinian right, these demonstrators have faced brutal repression and killing for nearly one year. Medics, journalists, children, elders and people with disabilities have been shot down in cold blood by Israeli occupation forces as they protested for their right. And despite the killing, they have persisted and remained, marching each Friday to claim their rights in an uprising that has inspired people around the world, and especially Palestinians, with a clear commitment to achieving their goals: return and liberation.

Indeed, the Israeli occupation state has repeatedly attempted to pressure Palestinians into stopping the marches, through continuing and intensified siege, military attack and brutal military might. Despite the impunity Israeli officials enjoy and the unparalleled support they receive from the U.S. government and other world powers, the reality of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity has perhaps never been so clear, as was recently affirmed in a new report by an independent commission of the UN Human Rights Council.

In the context of the fragmentation of Palestinians, the Great March of Return, on Land Day, has once again highlighted that the Palestinian struggle is one struggle – from Palestinian citizens of Israel in ’48 Palestine, to those in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, in Jordan, in the camps in Lebanon and Syria and everywhere around the world in exile and diaspora. To this number must also be added the nearly 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, who through continued struggle inside the prisons continue to confront the siege and isolation imposed upon them as well.

Palestinians killed by occupation forces in the Great March of Return, have – like those shot down in extrajudicial executions and assassinations in the West Bank – had their bodies imprisoned by the Israeli occupation in an attempt to extort political concessions from Palestinians. In addition, participants from the demonstrations have themselves been kidnapped and imprisoned inside Israeli jails. Palestinian refugees who continue to be denied their right to return to their homes and lands may enter Palestine ’48 only when shackled, bound, tortured and imprisoned by the colonizing power that has confiscated that land.

Every uprising and act of resistance inside Israeli prisons is part of the same struggle against siege and isolation that the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege represents. The Gaza Strip itself is often described as an “open-air prison,” the siege another form of colonial torture and isolation akin to that imposed on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The struggle to break the siege is a struggle to break all of the sieges encircling Palestinians, from the ever-intensifying racist campaigns of discrimination and exclusion in Palestine ’48, the ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the raids, killings and colonial settlements in the West Bank, the isolation of Palestinian refugees in the camps, the criminalization and repression of Palestinian activism worldwide.

Since 30 March 2018, the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Israeli occupation forces have killed 266 people, including 50 children, six women and one elderly man. 30,398 people have been injured, 16,027 seriously enough to be hospitalized. The hospitalized Palestinians include 3,175 children and 1,008 women. During the demonstrations, 6,857 Palestinians have been shot with live bullets and another 844 with rubber-coated metal bullets. 1,503 were shot in the head and neck, 7,731 in the legs and 732 in the chest and back; 136 Palestinians have gone through amputations as a result. (This reflects another version of the infamous policy of Israeli commander “Captain Nidal” in shooting and disabling the Palestinian youth in Dheisheh and Aida refugee camps near Bethlehem.)

Medics Razan al-Najjar, Abdullah al-Qati and Musa Abu Hassanein were killed by occupation forces and 665 more were injured; 112 ambulances were damaged. Two journalists, Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, were killed and 347 more were wounded.

Despite this great price, Palestinians are continuing to march to break the siege, to win freedom for all, from the prisons to the camps to the streets, fields and shores of Gaza (where fishers and farmers risk death or imprisonment to ply their trade and support their families and communities.) They continue to march, most centrally, for their right to return home, for liberation for Palestine.

This weekend, we urge you to answer the calls for solidarity – to join the marches, events and demonstrations taking place around the world, to echo the calls of Palestinians from inside the prisons of the Israeli occupation and the open-air prison in Gaza for an end to the siege and for the right to return.

A list of events and activities is below. We know this list is not fully comprehensive, and we urge people to send their additional events and actions to us on Facebook or via email at samidoun@samidoun.net. Please join your local events and join in the uprising that Palestinians in Gaza have been leading for the past year – continuing over 100 years of anti-colonial Palestinian resistance.

Events and Actions

Across the UK (Events collected by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign as part of a national day of action): 

FRIDAY 29 MARCH:

=> Bristol – Cascade Steps 3.30pm Facebook event

=> Liverpool – Lime Street Station 4pm Facebook page

SATURDAY 30 MARCH:

=> London – Rally opposite the Israeli Embassy, High Street Kensington 1pm Facebook event 

=> Newcastle – Grey’s Monument 11am Facebook event 

=> Carlisle – City Centre 1pm Facebook event 

=> Jersey – Liberation Square 11.30am Facebook event

=> Cardiff – Queen Street 12noon Facebook event

=> Manchester – Piccadilly Gardens 12noon Facebook event 

=> Slough – 12noon Facebook event

=> Birmingham – New Street 1pm Facebook Event 

=> Hitchin – Market Square 10am Facebook event 

=> Oxford – Cornmarket 11.30am Facebook event 

=> Norwich – Haymarket 2pm Facebook event Website event

=> Cambridge – Market Square 12noon Facebook event 

=> Exeter – Bedford Square 12noon Facebook event 

=> Halifax – Piece Hall 12noon Facebook event 

=> Southampton – High Street 11am Facebook event

=> Nottingham – Brian Clough Statue 12.30pm Facebook event 

=> Brighton – Clock Tower 12noon Facebook page   

=> Hastings – Town Centre 1pm Facebook event  

=> Edinburgh – Foot of the Mound 2pm Facebook event

=> Plymouth – Sundial, Armada Way 11am Facebook event 

=> Leamington Spa – Outside the Town Hall, 11:30am Facebook event

=> Peterborough – Bridge Street, 11am, Facebook event

=> Coventry – Fountain in the Lower Precinct of City Centre, Facebook event

=> Leicester – Clock tower city centre, 12noon

ITALY:

FRIDAY 29 MARCH:

=> Milano – Piazzale Cadorna, 5 pm/17h – https://www.frontepalestina.it/?q=it/content/iniziative/sostegno-alla-grande-marcia-del-ritorno-ad-un-anno-di-lotta-dal-suo-inizio

SATURDAY 30 MARCH:

=> Roma – Piazza de Cinecitta, 11 am – https://www.frontepalestina.it/?q=it/content/iniziative/giornata-della-terra-30-marzo-1976-30-marzo-2019

AUSTRIA:

FRIDAY 29 MARCH:

==> Vienna – Event with Ronnie Kasrils (indoor event), Kent Restaurant Favoriten, 6:30 pm – Facebook event

GERMANY:

FRIDAY 29 MARCH:

==> Berlin – Livestreaming of Ronnie Kasrils Event (indoor event), 18 Uhr/6 pm – Facebook event

SATURDAY 30 MARCH:

==> Berlin – Hermannplatz, 13 Uhr/1pm – Facebook event

==> Berlin – Land Day in Palestine (indoor event), Olof-Palme-Haus, 18 Uhr/5 pm – Facebook event

SWEDEN:

SATURDAY 30 MARCH

==> Gothenburg – Brunnsparken, 2 pm – Facebook event

SPAIN:

SATURDAY 30 MARCH

==> Madrid – Puerto del Sol, 6 pm – More info

FRANCE:

SATURDAY 30 MARCH

==> Paris – Place de la Republique, 2 pm – Facebook event

FINLAND:

SATURDAY 30 MARCH

==> Helsinki – Nuorten toimintakeskus Happi, 4 pm – Facebook event

DENMARK:

SUNDAY 31 MARCH

==> Odense – Land Day 2019 (indoor event), Risingsvej 25, 2 pm – Facebook event

UNITED STATES:

FRIDAY 29 MARCH:

==> New York – 52 Fridays of the Great Return March, Times Square, 4 pm – Facebook event

SATURDAY 30 MARCH

==> Washington, DC – Lafayette Square, 1 pm – Facebook event

==> Boston – Park Street MBTA, 1 pm – Facebook event

==> San Francisco – 24th St Mission BART Station, 12 pm – Facebook event

==>  Miami – Torch of Friendship, 4 pm – Facebook event

==> Charlotte – Commemorating Land Day (indoor event), UNC Charlotte COED 102, 2 pm – Facebook event

CANADA:

SATURDAY 30 MARCH:

==> Toronto – Yonge and Dundas, 2 pm – Facebook event

AUSTRALIA:

SATURDAY 30 MARCH:

==> Sydney – First Fleet Park, Circular Quay, 1 pm – Facebook event

(Source / 29.03.2019) 

Israel’s official anti-BDS ministry behind attacks on Rasmea Odeh

Even after the silencing of Rasmea Odeh from giving a speech on Palestinian women in the struggle for liberation in Berlin on 15 March, the Israeli state is officially continuing its campaign of defamation and harassment. The Ministry of Strategic Affairs is headed by Gilad Erdan, who also heads the Ministry of Internal Security (which includes the Israel Prison Administration) . A prominent figure in the Likud party, Erdan has stepped up global defamation campaigns against BDS organizers and Palestine solidarity activists around the world in the months leading up to the Israeli elections.

Most recently, Erdan publicly claimed credit for pressuring Germany to issue a decision cancelling Rasmea Odeh’s Schengen visa and forcing her to leave the country. Erdan’s ongoing political attacks have especially targeted Palestinian human rights defenders as well as solidarity groups (including Samidoun) working to support Palestinian political prisoners. In this context, the attack on Rasmea Odeh comes as perhaps no surprise – but the German government’s decision to cancel her visa under the demands of Erdan and (far-right-linked) U.S. ambassador Richard Grenell remains shocking and appalling.

Rasmea is continuing her struggle in German courts and refusing to accept this unjust action. At the same time, Erdan’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which enjoys a multi-million dollar budget for attacking Palestine solidarity around the world, is defaming Odeh in paid ads on Twitter.

The ministry’s official Twitter account, @4ILorg, purchased paid “promoted” tweets in German and English attacking Rasmea as well as the BDS movement and Samidoun. It approvingly quoted German officials who conceded to the Israeli demand to silence Odeh, violating basic expressive rights in order to appease Israeli officials responsible for ongoing human rights violations, unjust detention, colonial occupation, settlement building, land confiscation and ongoing extrajudicial killings, both in the West Bank and in the targeting of popular protesters on the colonially-imposed “border” with Gaza every week in the Great March of Return.

“This vicious campaign reflects a deliberate exaggeration, attempting to portray the alliance of Zionist and imperialist forces in silencing a Palestinian speaker as a historic achievement. This is part of a clear policy of terrorizing the Palestinian and Arab communities in Europe. It is destined to fail inevitably, confronting the growing role of refugee movements, student organizing, youth movements and the growing popularity of the BDS movement. This is a reflection of the ongoing struggle for justice and liberation in Palestine that will end with the victory of the Palestinian people,” said Mohammed Khatib, Europe coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

He pointed out that the targeting of the Samidoun Network by the “anti-BDS ministry” is “a failing attempt to distort our image by the racist minister Gilad Erdan, who is also the Minister of Internal Security daily targeting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.” Khatib said that these attacks are part of an “ongoing campaign to criminalize Palestinian resistance in any form, targeting all voices and supporters of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and their daily struggle, as the prisoners stand at the forefront of the campaign to defend their rights and all of our rights as well.”

(Source / 24.03.2019) 

Khalida Jarrar freed from Israeli prison after 20 months of administrative detention

28 February 2019  

Palestinian national leader, parliamentarian, feminist and leftist Khalida Jarrar was released from Israeli prison early Thursday morning, 28 February 2019, after 20 months of imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. In an interview (video below with English subtitles) given immediately after her release, Jarrar said that “the prisoners are an integral part of the Palestinian people’s movement, and their message is always unity.”

She highlighted the conditions of Palestinian women prisoners as well as their role in the prisoners’ movement, urging attention to the conditions that they face in Damon prison after their transfer from HaSharon prison.

This video, with an interview by journalist Ali Samoudi, was filmed immediately after her release:

Jarrar’s family was told that she would be released from the Jalameh checkpoint around 12 noon, but instead she was released in the early morning at the Salem checkpoint west of Jenin. From there, she will visit the gravesite of her father in Nablus, who died during her imprisonment. She will be received at the Catholic Hall in Ramallah for a reception on Thursday night, to be followed by further receptions on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Jarrar’s daughter Yafa said on social media that the shifting of the time and place of her release was a deliberate attempt by the Israeli occupation to minimize celebrations of her release. “Israeli occupation forces just released Mom at 4:00 am (Jerusalem time) this morning at Salem checkpoint near Jenin, which is contrary to what they have informed us. Mom was informed that she would be release at 12:30 pm at Al-jalameh checkpoint near Nablus. Instead, they released Mom in the very early hours at a different location and let her walk free by herself in the middle of no where. In spite of Israel’s attempts to disrupt her reception, Mom is FREE!” she noted.

Jarrar has been imprisoned since 2 July 2017, held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Her administrative detention order was renewed four times, most recently on 25 October. Over 275 organizations, political parties and social movements around the world joined in a collective call for her release.

This is not the first time that Jarrar has been imprisoned by the Israeli occupation; her arrest in 2017 came only 13 months after she was released from Israeli prison after serving a 15-month sentence for her public political activity. After being arrested in 2015, she was ordered to administrative detention; in response to public outrage, she was transferred to the military courts for a bogus trial. During this most recent 20 months in prison, she remained jailed with no charges and no trial the entire time.

In an interview with Wattan TV, Jarrar noted the attacks of Israeli occupation minister of internal security and strategic affairs Gilad Erdan against the Palestinian prisoners. Erdan also directs the Israeli state’s global attacks on the BDS movement and Palestine solidarity campaigns internationally. “The situation of the women prisoners is not easy, especially after the Erdan decision to transfer them from the HaSharon prison to Damon prison as a punishment for them after a 63-day protest against the installation of surveillance cameras in the prison yard. This is part of an overall attack against the prisoners,” Jarrar said.

“The occupation is trying to transfer the prisoners to make them begin their struggle from a zero point, but the prisoners continue to maintain their unity and cohesion and demand a change in their circumstances. The prisoners’ rooms are filled with moisture, and the electrical installations are very dangerous because they are wet and prone to fires. There is a real danger and a complaint has been lodged with the prison administration,” Jarrar said. “In addition to the fact that the prison yards are full of cameras, there is no library for the prisoners and there is no kitchen. The prisoners have to cook inside the rooms filled with moisture.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Khalida Jarrar and the Palestinian people upon her release. Her steadfastness, leadership and clarity of vision is an inspiration to people around the world struggling for freedom. As International Women’s Day approaches, we celebrate the liberation of Khalida Jarrar and pledge to intensify our efforts to free all of the Palestinian women and men jailed by the Israeli occupation. We congratulate Khalida Jarrar on her freedom and pledge to continue on her path of struggle until the freedom of every Palestinian political prisoner behind bars, and the freedom of Palestine.

(Source / 28.02.2019)

One year of prisoner solidarity for Samidoun Gothenburg

The international Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes our comrades in Gothenburg, Sweden on one year of organizing together as a collective for the liberation of Palestinian prisoners – and the liberation of Palestine. We urge all to visit the Samidoun Gothenburg website in Swedish and read the Swedish original statement: https://samidoun.net/sweden/ett-ar-av-fangsolidaritet/

One-year statement 24/1

One year ago, January 24 2018, a few us started the initiative Free Ahed Tamimi Gothenburg (Frihet åt Ahed Tamimi Göteborg). We created a Facebook page and called to protest to bring attention to the detention by the Israeli occupation of the then 16-year-old Palestinian girl Ahed tamimi. By then, the case had already received substantial attention around the world, but Swedish initiatives were glaringly absent. To us, it was an unmistakable opportunity to highlight that Ahed’s crime, like that of so many other Palestinians, was to defy Israel, an apartheid regime maintained by military occupation. A regime whose settler colonial violence is tied up in other imperialist projects such as Fortress Europe and numerous Western military adventures in the Middle East and North Africa in what are labeled wars on “terrorism” and “extremism”. A regime, whose ethnic cleansing, oppression and exploitation are motivated by false ethnonationalist claims of being the homeland of all Jewish people. A regime, whose allies are not to be found among those who combat racism, xenophobia and antisemitism, but among the antisemitic government of Hungary, the Nazi-dominated Ukraine and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who is prepared to sacrifice the jungles of the Amazon rainforest for private economic interests. With her “slap that was heard around the world”, Ahed Tamimi demonstrated that it is possible to resist, and with her words inside and outside the prison walls Ahed has recalled the necessity for all of us who struggle for liberation and a just future to connect our struggles in every way we can.

Since our first protest early last year, we have organized a number of other activities: More protests of different kinds, alone and together with others; letter writing evenings for Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian prisoners; movie screenings and talks to advance our knowledge on Palestine and widen our understanding of how the struggle for a free Palestine is connected to so many other struggles for justice and liberation. We have established many connections locally and internationally through our work. Among others with the international network Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. After discovering many common standpoints, we decided with the release of Ahed and her mother Nariman Tamimi at the end of July 2018 to regroup as an autonomous local group of the network, Samidoun Gothenburg (Samidoun Göteborg).

Today, a year later, January 24 2019, we in Samidoun Gothenburg have just finished marking the international week of action for the freedom of the Palestinian prisoner and General Secretary of the PFLP, Ahmad Sa’adat. Together with many international groups and in many different ways, we have highlighted the question and always pointed to the connection between individual important Palestinian prisoners such as Ahed Tamimi and Ahmad Sa’adat on the one hand and all Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian liberation struggle and all international struggles for peace, freedom and justice on the other. We hope, and believe, that our work has contributed to generating interest, attention, engagement and hopes for the solidarity work for all Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian liberation struggle. In the near future, we support the work for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel as part of the international BDS campaign för an end to the occupation of Palestine, for an end to the apartheid regime and for the right of return for all Palestinian refugees. During February, we will also highlight the prominent Palestinian feminist and leftist parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar, who by the end February will have been held for 16 months of administrative detention as part of the Israeli attempts to suppress resistance by attacking resistance leaders. In both of these issues, we work with others and encourage others to contribute with even the smallest of means to the solidarity work with the Palestinian liberation struggle.

Finally, we continue to push important issues of imperialism and international solidarity with Palestine and Palestinian prisoners as the focus of our work. Our solidarity with Palestinian prisoners is simultaneously solidarity with the repeatedly punished, but persistently struggling, leadership of the Palestinian struggle for liberation as well as with the Palestinian masses who after 70 years of Israeli oppression and more than 100 years of international occupation and colonisation steadfastly persist in their defiant existence and creative resistance. We struggle with a radical conviction that the struggle for the liberation of Palestine is an indispensible struggle for all those around the world who struggle against oppression and exploitation and for peace, freedom and justice.

Free all Palestinian prisoners!

Free Palestine!

(Source / 06.02.2019)