Palestinian woman detained without charge or trial joins six more on hunger strike for freedom

As Palestinian prisoner Fidaa Damas launched her open hunger strike, the number of Palestinian prisoners continuing their hunger strike against Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial reached seven: Jafar Ezzedine, Ihsan Othman, Ahmad Zahran, Mohammed Abu Aker, Mustafa al-Hassanat, Huzaifa Halabiya Baderand Fidaa Damas. Damas, 25 and a student at Al-Quds Open University, is currently the only Palestinian female prisoner held in administrative detention of approximately 50 Palestinian women prisoners. From Beit Ummar near al-Khalil, she has been jailed since May 2018.

Fidaa Damas.

Jafar Ezzedine, 48, has been on hunger strike since 16 June, when he was scheduled to be released from a five-month sentence in Israeli prison. Instead of returning to his waiting family in Jenin, he was instead ordered to three months in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Ezzedine is a veteran of administrative detention and has carried out four previous hunger strikes in the past against his imprisonment on the basis of secret evidence. Reports indicate that his health is deteriorating and he is experiencing serious pain. In retaliation for his protest, he has been thrown into solitary confinement and bared from family visits or the “canteen” (prison store.) He has also reported frequent night invasions by guards searching his room, depriving him of sleep.

Jafar Ezzedine 

Ihsan Othman, 21, a student at al-Quds University, has also been on hunger strike since 16 June. He was transferred to a hospital after the deterioration of his own health; he has been on hunger strike against his imprisonment without charge or trial. He has been jailed since 12 September 2018; when held in administrative detention in the past, he participated in the Karameh hunger strike of 2017.

Ihsan Othman

Ahmad Zahran, 42, of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah has been on hunger strike since 20 June, protesting his administrative detention. He was previously imprisoned for 15 years in Israeli jails. His strike prompted his comrades also held in administrative detention, Mohammed Abu Aker, 24, Mustafa Hassanat, 21, and Huzaifa Halabiya, 28, to launch their own hunger strike on 1 July. All three were transferred on Sunday, 7 July from the Negev desert prison to solitary confinement in retaliation for their hunger strike. Their mattresses are confiscated every day from 6 am to 7 pm in order to prevent them from resting, despite the fact that they are experiencing extreme fatigue as a result of the strike.

Palestinian prisoner jailed without charge on hunger strike, Mustafa Hasanat

Abu Aker and Hassanat are both from Dheisheh refugee camp, where they are leading activists and community organizers. Halabiya is from Abu Dis, Jerusalem; he suffers from serious health problems as he was injured as a child, has burns over a significant percentage of his body and recently battled leukemia.

Huzaifa Halabiya

Five more prisoners suspended their strikes after receiving an agreement to end their administrative detention after 12 days without food: the five prisoners from Dura, near al-Khalil were brothers Mahmoud and Kayed al-Fasfous, Said al-Nammoura, Abdel-Aziz al-Suweiti and Ghandafar Abu Atwan.

Administrative detainees are discussing escalating protest steps to campaign against the ongoing policy of imprisonment without charge or trial. There are currently approximately 500 Palestinians jailed under administrative detention orders. Issued for one to six months at a time on the basis of secret evidence, these orders are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians regularly spend years at a time jailed under administrative detention.

The Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a second statement, highlighting the growing calls for action:

“First, this week, other prisoners with administrative detention orders, including some transferred to administrative detention after the expiration of the unjust sentences imposed on them by the military occupation courts, will be joining the strike.

Second, we warn the prison administration and the occupation intelligence from their continued violations of the rights of hunger striking prisoners.

Third, we urge the masses of our people and the forces of the resistance to take action in support of the hunger striking prisoners through events, popular support and wide activities. In this role, we support the leading role of the committees to support the prisoners in Gaza for their many activities organized in support of the strikers. This is one of the most important pillars supporting the prisoners’ struggle and putting pressure on the levers of struggle for the prisoners and the hunger strikers in particular. We also appreciate the call of the national and Islamic forces in Ramallah to participate in actions on Tuesday in a national popular action to support the prisoners and reject all attempts to harm the Palestinian national liberation cause.

Fourth, we call on all movements in the national liberation struggle to develop their programs to support the administrative detainees and raise this issue in all levels and venues.

Fifth, we renew our call for former prisoners and administrative detainees, especially those who have previously engaged in hunger strikes, to participate in a day of support including a one-day hunger strike….

This united battle will widen and escalate and requires all support and solidarity to strengthen the prisoners who are engaged in this confrontation to enable them to achieve their goals.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests, petitions and phone calls can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.

(Source / 12.07.2019) 

No One Is Illegal, MLPD, Italian trade union and more: Solidarity with Khaled Barakat, Solidarity with Palestine!

Anna Gabriel, Eulàlia Reguant et Carles Riera of the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) of Catalonia stand in solidarity with Khaled Barakat. 5 July, Geneva

Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat has been subject to an ongoing political ban in Germany on 22 June when he was prohibited from speaking about the Bahrain “economic peace” conference and the “deal of the century.” Part of an ongoing series of repressive actions targeting Palestine organizing in Germany, the political ban on Barakat comes alongside an anti-BDS resolution, criminal charges against protesters interrupting a Knesset member, the deportation of Rasmea Odeh and the closure of Jewish Voice for Peace’s bank account, among other attacks.

Around the world, people of conscience are raising their voices in solidarity with Khaled Barakat and against the ongoing racist violations of Palestinian human rights both in Europe and in occupied Palestine. Please join the support campaign! Send your statements of solidarity to samidoun@samidoun.net or take a solidarity photo featuring the campaign posters to post online or share with us!

Some of the most recent statements and expressions of solidarity include the following documents and the solidarity photos from the CUP of Catalonia and the Zurich Youth Platform.

No One Is Illegal | Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD) | Sindacato Generale di Base

No One Is Illegal Statement

Barakat was a co-founder of No One Is Illegal in Vancouver in 2002, fighting racism, deportation and repression. The following statement was issued on 4 July:

Statement of solidarity with Khaled Barakat 
from No One Is Illegal-Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territories

We write in solidarity with comrade Khaled Barakat facing political censorship and repression in Germany. Khaled Barakat was a founder of the No One Is Illegal network and movement in Vancouver, advocating for the rights of Palestinian refugees and for all refugees in Canada, and fighting for the right of return for Palestinian refugees. He articulated a clear connection between Israeli apartheid and Canadian settler-colonialism. As a member of No One Is Illegal and as an active leader in social movements in Vancouver and across Canada, he was a consistent and passionate organizer against Zionist occupation and U.S imperialism and for Palestinian liberation from the river to the sea.

We stand unconditionally with Khaled Barakat. The attacks on Khaled Barakat are part of the illegal Israeli state’s attempt to quell the Palestinian diaspora in exile and the international Palestinian solidarity movement. The attempt to silence our friend Khaled Barakat occurs in the context of a campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to attack Palestinian and solidarity organizations globally. By barring Khaled Barakat’s right to speak at demonstrations or meetings, threatening him with prison time, and potentially denying him and his wife the right to reside in Germany, the German state is aligning with the racist Israeli state. The illegal occupation of Palestine has been perpetuated by targeted killings, ethnic cleansing, massacres, torture, assassinations, humiliations at hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks, curfews confining entire populations to their homes, caging of Palestinians in jails and open air prisons, annexation of Palestinian-owned land, building of illegal settlements, demolitions of homes and a systematic policy of material deprivation- all of which should be rightfully and legitimately exposed and resistance to which does not constitute anti-Semitism.

We offer our continued unconditional and unequivocal support to the Palestinian resistance movement against Zionist/Israeli apartheid and occupation. We support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign as a strategy of international solidarity. We oppose the Zionist-Eurocentric settler-colonial foundation of the State of Israel that claims a racist, exclusionary, and privileged Jewish identity and has, since its inception, violently displaced and discriminated against Palestinian people. We affirm the fundamental and inalienable right of all Palestinian refugees to return to the original towns, villages, and lands of 1948 and 1967 occupied Palestine from which they were expelled.

Knowing Khaled Barakat, we know he will not be intimidated nor be silenced. We will not be intimidated or silenced either, and we reiterate that we stand with him. We demand an end to the ongoing colonization and occupation of Palestinian lands, an end to the apartheid system in Palestine, full recognition of the fundamental right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and an end to all forms of international support for Israeli war crimes. Palestine will be free.

MLPD Statement

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany has also come under attack from anti-Palestinian forces in Germany, particularly in 2017 when politicians demanded the prohibition of the Internationalist Alliance because of its inclusion of supporters of the PFLP among its ranks. The statement is below:

Statement of solidarity against political repression against Khaled Barakat
The MLPD hereby expresses its solidarity with Khaled Barakat and condemns his expulsion from Germany.

Dear Khaled,

The order of the Foreigners’ Authority of Federal Republic of Germany against you confirms the further repressive legal development of the Federal Government and the bourgeois parties. This order has been made without any evidence of a police defense against dangers.

With the passing of the new police laws, the “orderly return law” of Minister of Interior Seehofer and the reactionary condemnation of the German Bundestag against the BDS campaign it becomes clear: It is not about the prevention or prosecution of offenders and fascists like Anis Amri and the fascist Stephan E. who according to his own statements murdered the CDU politician Lübcke, but instead directed against the people and groups who are committed to international friendship, freedom and democracy. It serves to intimidate those who publicize and denounce the crimes committed by the Israeli military and Zionist government against the Palestinian people, including the false assertion that Khaled Barakat’s political and journalistic activity “brings foreigners against each other.”

Khaled Barakat is accused of belonging to an organization that is on the terrorist list of the US and Israel as well as the EU! President Trump calls the Chief Executive of North Korea “the dictator and enemy of world peace,” and the next day he is “his best friend.” This terrorist list depends on where and how best the imperialists can obtain money and political influence. The imperialists understand this, while claiming to respect peace and democracy. What a double standard!

The Federal Government’s decision to label the BDS campaign as anti-Semitic campaign is as unfounded as it is for the Palestinian forces who have been in reality fighting for years against the oppression, expulsion and murder of the Palestinian people.

We condemn this criminalization and denial of essential democratic rights and freedoms and will make this statement known and continue to protest.

Immediate withdrawal of the orders against Khaled Barakat!

Raise high international solidarity!

Proletarians of all countries unite!

With solidarity greetings
Monika Gärtner-Engel
International secretary of the MLPD

SGB (Sindacato Generale di Base)

The SGB, an Italian rank-and-file trade union, sent a letter from President Massimo Botti to the German Ambassador in Italy denouncing the attack on Khaled Barakat and the ongoing campaign to smear the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. The letter called for the defense of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, protection of freedom of expression and cancellation of the political ban on Khaled Barakat. See the letter below:

Youth Platform Zurich

The Zurich Youth Platform shows its solidarity with Khaled Barakat

(Source / 06.07.2019) 

The extreme pro-Israel right attacks the growing campaign to free Georges Abdallah

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Paris, France, on Saturday, 22 June to demand the liberation of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the imprisoned Arab struggler for Palestine who has been jailed in France for nearly 35 years. After the large demonstration, attacks have poured in from the French far right and pro-apartheid organizations, as documented by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (translation below from the original French)

A story that comes (again) from afar

We can recognize the “quality” of these attacks in their consistency. Indeed, the Zionist far right and its allies have been repeatedly outraged by the growing support for the release of Georges Abdallah, Arab Communist and fighter for Palestine imprisoned in France since 1984 and eligible for release since 1999.

Since his arrest in 1984, Georges Abdallah has suffered repeated attacks from the supporters of the apartheid regime.

In 2016, during a film screening about Georges Abdallah at Utopia in Toulouse, the CRIF defamed the resister Georges Abdallah and the organizations that support him by attempting (unsuccessfully) to ban the event.

A few months ago, La France Insoumise member of parliament Danièle Obono was subjected to a wave of insults on Twitter for her support for the longest-held political prisoner in Europe. Among these Twitter attacks, one could count that of the lawyer-editorialist for the extreme right, Gilles William Goldnadel, or those of the leaders of the Printemps Républicain, Gilles Clavreul and Laurent Bouvet.

The campaign targeting only this one parliamentarian while dozens of prominent political figures also support Georges Abdallah must raise clear questions. This is especially true as many attacks referred to “integration” and the “values of the Republic,” long-established anti-Black, racist dog-whistles.

Misrepresentation in the service of Israel

The “controversy” surrounding the Paris demonstration for Georges Abdallah was sparked following an article in the pro-Israel, far-right website “Le Monde Juif,” close to the Jewish Brigade and the Jewish Defense League. This article, accompanied by a video, claims that the demonstrators chanted “Death to Israel,” (“A mort Israel” in French) and thus reflects anti-Semitism in the streets of Paris.

Even though it is very clear in the video that the slogan being chanted is actually “Down with Israel,” (“A bas Israel” in French) this is a classic refrain of the supporters of Israeli apartheid. They repeatedly affirm the Zionist claim that attempts to assimilate all Jews under the banner of the Zionist state. What is targeted in this slogan is the Israeli state, as a colonial, racist and advance base of Western imperialism in the region.

The accusation of anti-Semitism is too serious to be taken lightly. We condemn these wretched propaganda operations which aim to cast opprobrium upon a campaign that actually has great political clarity. Indeed, this campaign supports the struggle of Georges Abdallah and his organizations – the FARL as well as the PFLP – who fought and still fight against colonialism and racism, and for a free and democratic Palestine from the river to the sea.

Leading politicans support the attacks

This campaign, initiated by the most extreme ultra-Zionist networks, was soon joined by several prominent politicians.

For example, Les Républicains leader Eric Ciotti said, “hearing ‘Death to Israel’ on the streets of France in 2019 is unacceptable. This anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic act is intolerable.” Note also that he uses the same amalgamation as President Macron in an attempt to criminalize anti-Zionism.

Embedded video

Eric Ciotti @ECiotti  

Entendre “Mort à Israël” dans les rues de France en 2019 est insoutenable.

Cet acte antisioniste et antisémite est intolérable.

Je m’étonne qu’une telle manifestation de soutien au terroriste Georges Ibrahim Abdallah ait été autorisée à Paris par la @prefpolice !1,17711:42 AM – Jun 26, 2019 1,182 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

For her part, the Israeli apartheid ambassador to France, Aliza Bin Noun, said she was “shocked, especially since the organizers were authorized by the Prefecture of Police.”

Aliza Bin Noun @AlizaBinNoun  

On a scandé “mort à #Israël” ce samedi en plein cœur de #Paris. Pas étonnant: c’était lors d’une manifestation de soutien au #terroriste notoire Georges Ibrahim Abdallah! Je suis plus que choquée, ce d’autant + que les organisateurs aient reçu l’autorisation de @prefpolice43011:26 AM – Jun 26, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy 283 people are talking about this   

Faced with slander, we must confront it!

This new campaign of defamation helps to reveal that, in the diversity of its expressions, the campaign for the liberation of Georges Abdallah is growing and disturbing the defenders of racism and colonialism. The Collectif Palestine Vaincra asserts on this occasion its support for the Jeunes Révolutionnaires, initiator of the red block that is attacked in the video, which has been attacked on multiple occasions on social networks in this regard.View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Jeunes Révolutionnaires@JR_EF_  

A bas Israël ! De la Mer au Jourdain, Palestine aux Palestiniens !356:06 PM – Jun 24, 2019 18 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

Meanwhile, LREM deputy Sylvain Maillard will propose that the National Assembly adopts the “IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,” which is yet another attempt to censor support for the Palestinian people. We must not allow France to criminalize anti-Zionism; this is our duty to everyone.

(Source / 29.06.2019) 

Anti-Palestinian repression in Germany: Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat banned from speaking

The repression of Palestinian rights advocacy in Germany continued last night, Saturday, 22 June, as Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat was banned by the Berlin authorities from delivering a speech on the so-called “deal of the century” spearheaded by Donald Trump and the Arab and Palestinian response. He was also banned from engaging in all political activities and events in Germany until 31 July, whether directly (in-person) or “indirectly” (over video.) This outrageous attack on freedom of expression is only the latest assault on Palestinian rights carried out by the German government.

The event was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, 21 June, organized by an Arab community discussion group that regularly hosts speakers on important events in the Arab world. The city-owned venue reportedly received complaints about the event from pro-Zionist and pro-Israeli apartheid organizations, and informed the hosts that they could not hold the event. The event was instead relocated to a Sudanese community center on Saturday, 22 June. With the Bahrain conference to promote so-called “economic peace” at the expense of Palestinian rights expected in the coming days, the talk was of particular importance.

However, without notice or explanation, there were large numbers of police stretching from the closest U-Bahn station to the venue and blocking the street. When Barakat approached with Samidoun international coordinator Charlotte Kates, they were stopped by police and told the event would not take place tonight because it had been prohibited. They were then taken in a police van to a larger police station, where they were met by a German-Arabic translator, more police and two representatives of the Foreigners’ Office of Berlin.

Barakat was presented with an 8-page document and told that he was not allowed to give speeches in person or over video, participate in political meetings or events or even attend social gatherings of over 10 people; he was told that violations were punishable by up to a year in prison. Under German law, non-citizens can be barred from political activity if it could harm the “security or stability” of Germany. The accusations, which purport to show that his political activity is “dangerous,” do not do so; instead, there is mainly a list of speeches and events as well as a 2014 interview with Rote Fahne News, the publication of the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany.) Despite claiming that Barakat’s speech could increase tensions or “political conflict” between Jews and Palestinians and Arabs in Germany, the document points to absolutely no negative repercussions whatsoever of all of his previous speeches in the country.

The document also accuses Barakat of being a member of the Palestinian leftist party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Despite noting that the PFLP is, in fact, not banned in Germany, it notes that it is listed on the EU terrorist list and thus presents a danger, even though none of the listed allegations indicate any danger at all. It could not be more clear that this is the latest attempt on Palestinian expression and advocacy and the further restriction of freedom of speech, expression and association in Germany.

Barakat and Kates were also told that their residency in Germany would not be renewed and would “come to an end,” although they were not presented with that decision.

This incident comes amid an ongoing campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the so-called “anti-BDS ministry,” to attack Palestinian and solidarity organizations, especially leftists. Barakat has been singled out by this ministry on multiple occasions, as has Samidoun and its work. It also comes following a series of attacks on Palestinian rights and freedom of speech in Germany, including:

It should be noted that this repression comes hand in hand with political attacks on the Arab and Muslim communities in Germany spearheaded by the far-right rhetoric of the AfD and other parties, but with the active complicity of the official “left,” which continues to support the suppression of Palestinian community organizing and Palestine solidarity in defense of a colonial, apartheid, racist system. It also comes amid ongoing criminalization of popular movements in Europe, including trials of trade union leaders and refugee solidarity organizers in various countries.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses our deepest outrage at the political ban against Khaled Barakat. We believe that it indicates a serious danger that outright bans, police repression and residency revocation are becoming a police state norm for suppressing unwanted Palestinian political speech that defends rights, justice and liberation.

On Friday, 28 June, a protest is being organized against the Bundestag’s anti-BDS resolution under the slogan Palästina Spricht (Palestine Speaks), and we urge all to attend and participate. Internationally, your statements and voices of solidarity are critical in helping to fight back against this intensified repression. These attacks will not silence Khaled Barakat or the Palestinian people – but it is critical that we build our international movement to defend Palestine, especially as it is targeted for liquidation.

(Source / 23.06.2019) 

May 2019 report: 421 Palestinians seized by Israeli occupation forces, including 78 children and 6 women

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions, including the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, issued the following report for May 2019 on 16 June. English translation by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network: 

Photo for illustrative purposes 

In May 2019, Israeli occupation forces arrested 421 Palestinians, including 78 children and 6 women. The Israeli occupation authorities seized 145 Palestinians from the city of Jerusalem, 59 from Ramallah governorate, 60 from al-Khalil governorate, 30 from Jenin governorate, 21 from Bethlehem governorate, 32 from Nablus governorate, 13 from Tulkarem governorate, 19 from Qalqilya governorate, 8 from Tubas governorate, 8 from Salfit governorate, 14 from Jericho governorate and 12 from the Gaza Strip.

The number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails reached 5500 at the end of May, including 43 women. The number of imprisoned children in Israeli jails reached approximately 220.

The following summary highlights the realities faced by the detainees in prisons and detention centers and the most prominent actions by the occupation authorities during the month of May:

Hunger Strikes During May 2019

Several prisoners continued their hunger strikes against administrative detention during May 2019, including the prisoner Hassan al-Aweiwi, who began his strike in April and experienced significant deterioration of his health. He faced clear intransigence by the occupation authorities in refusing to meet his demands and end his administrative detention.

Palestinian prisoners’ institutions documented the retaliation by the Israeli occupation prison administration against al-Aweiwi since he launched his strike, including isolation, denial of family visits and frequent transfer from one detention center to another as well as to civilian hospitals.

Al-Aweiwi is 35 years old, married wth three children. He was previously arrested several times, most recently on 15 January 2019.

Bassam Abu Akkar, from Aida camp in Bethlehem, went on hunger strike on 21 May, rejecting his administrative detention after two consecutive years. He ended his strike after reaching an agreement to limit his administrative detention

Abu Akkar, a leader of the prisoners’ movement, spent a total of 24 and one-half years in Israeli prison, between sentences and administrative detention. He has been detained without charge or trial since 27 July 2017; he is married with seven children.

Among the prisoners who took part in hunger strikes during the month of may were Ahmed Hroub from al-Khalil governorate, Thaer Badr from Beit Liqya, the wounded Moataz Abidu from al-Khalil and Murad Malisha from Jenin.

Medical Neglect

Over 750 prisoners continue to suffer from a policy of medical neglect by the Israeli prison administration, which is systematically used as a means of retaliation and pressure.

The medical situation for the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is becoming more serious with every wave of escalation by the prison administration, the latest of which was the series of restrictive measures that followed the publication of the recommendations of the committee formed by the occupation minister Gilad Erdan to exert increased pressure on the prisoners in September 2018.

These restrictions included an escalation of the policy of medical neglect against sick and wounded prisoners, which has led to increased suffering from the effects of their illnesses, even after their release.

The occupation uses medical neglect as a means of torture and pressure on detainees to extract confessions from them or attempt to break their morale and increase their suffering in prisons. This medical neglect is institutionalized in the prison system and the detention centers. For example, prison clinics lack specialized medical staff or equipment to perform necessary tests to address problems raised by the prisoners. In the event a prisoner’s health worsens, he or she is transferred to the Ramle prison clinic, which is not significantly different from the prison clinics in terms of the level of medical care available. However, the Ramle clinic focuses on prisoners with permanent disabilities, severe medical deterioration or terminal illnesses.

There are currently 15 sick prisoners being held at the Ramle prison clinic in inhumane and inappropriate conditions. In particularly difficult cases, prisoners are transferred to Israeli civilian hospitals especially for required tests.

The occupation delays the treatment of ill prisoners, whether in the provision of medication or tests required to diagnose a patient’s condition, which can exacerbate their conditions and lead to the emergence of new health problems.

Summer is a season of suffering for imprisoned Palestinians

The Israeli occupation authorities make all of the details of the lives of the Palestinian detainees; even changes in the seasons bring more suffering. As the temperature increases, so too does the humidity and the lack of ventilation in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The suffering of the prisoners is doubled, especially in the desert or near the coast. Some prisons suffer from insect infestations or unpleasant odors and the prison administration often refuses to install air conditioners or other cooling equipment in the prisons. Sometimes, cold water is deliberately cut or prisoners in isolation are denied cold water.

According to the monitoring of the prisoners’ associations, the prisoners’ complaints are continuing to rise along with the temperature and humidity, especially at Saba, Nafha, Ramon and the Negev desert prison (especially the tent sections), in Damon prison (where the women prisoners are held), in Ramle-Nitsan in the underground sections and in Shata and Gilboa, where humidity is high.

60,000 NIS ($16,627 USD) in fines imposed on Palestinian child prisoners in Ofer

In May, Israeli occupation courts imposed prison sentences on a number of child prisoners held in the Ofer military prisons, in addition to large fines amounting to more than 60,000 NIS ($16,627 USD). In May 2019, 43 child prisoners were transferred to Ofer prison; 22 were seized from their homes, 12 taken from the streets, seven arrested for lack of permits and two after being summoned to interrogation.

Of these children, four were arrested after being shot by Israeli occupation soldiers and nine more were beaten during their detention and taken to Israeli interrogation centers. There were 31 children sentenced in May 2019, with actual terms ranging from 31 days to 10 months.

(Source / 17.06.2019) 

3 years, 119 court hearings: Mohammed Halabi continues to fight back against Israeli imprisonment

Mohammed Halabi

Palestinian charity worker Mohammed Halabi has been brought 119 times to Israeli court during the three years of detention. Halabi, a manager in Gaza for World Vision, was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 15 June 2016. After being secretly detained for nearly two months, he was then the subject of a massive international propaganda campaign, largely spearheaded by Gilad Erdan, in August of that year. Erdan is a member of the Netanyahu government as both Minister of Public Security and Minister of Strategic Affairs, responsible for directing global campaigns of incitement against organizations that defend Palestinian rights.

Benjamin Netanyahu himself contributed a video accusing Palestinians of not caring about their people on the basis of allegations that Halabi had diverted $43 million in funds for charity work in Gaza to instead support Palestinian resistance. This figure far exceeded any reasonable amount of World Vision’s budget; over seven years, World Vision’s entire budget in Gaza amounted to no more than $22 million.

Despite the factual impossibility of the Israeli state’s claims, however, both the Australian and German governments initially suspended funding to the global Christian charity. Over 100 workers in Gaza lost their jobs amid an already extreme unemployment crisis in the besieged Strip. In line with his ongoing official attacks on Palestinian and international organizations that provide any support to Palestinian rights, Erdan even accused World Vision of “turning a blind eye” because it is “very anti-Israeli.”

Anthony Loewenstein published an extensive report in 972mag reporting on the three years of the prosecution of Mohammed Halabi.  By 2017, an official investigation carried out by the Australian government concluded that there was no basis to support the Israeli claim. Funding to World Vision was apparently restored, although none of these international funds are used to support Halabi’s defense.

Upon his arrest, he was denied access to a lawyer for 50 days. Israeli officials issued statements claiming that he confessed. In 972mag, Halabi and his lawyer Maher Hanna both affirm that, like many other Palestinians seized by the Israeli occupation – including children – Halabi was subjected to torture by Shin Bet forces.

Three years and 119 separate court hearings later, no evidence has been asserted to prove the Israeli state’s claims. All that the Israeli prosecution has submitted to the court is testimony by Shin Bet officials and interrogators. When Halabi has sought to bring witnesses from Gaza to speak in his defense in the nominally civilian trial, permission has been denied, one after the other, on “security grounds.”  Halabi’s lawyer has himself been denied permission to visit Gaza and interview witnesses himself.

Throughout the process, Halabi has refused to sign a plea agreement. Over 90 percent of all Palestinian political cases in Israeli military or civil courts are resolved through plea agreements. The endless hearings and lengthy procedures are themselves a form of intense pressure to force Palestinians to agree to a plea – which is often later then used against them as an “admission of guilt.” The judge in the case pressured Halabi to accept a plea agreement, saying “you know how these issues are handled.”

The Halabi case makes clear that the “civil” guise of Israeli courts is often a sham in cases labeled “security matters” – that is, political prosecutions of Palestinians from occupied Palestine ’48 who hold Israeli citizenship, Jerusalemites or even some Palestinians from Gaza, like Halabi. There is very little difference from the Israeli military courts used for Palestinians from the occupied West Bank.

Halabi’s father issued a call to all international institutions, urging them to pressure Israel to release Halabi and drop the baseless charges. He noted that his son’s health had declined substantially in Israeli prison.

Three years later, Mohammed Halabi remains imprisoned; the Gaza Strip and millions of Palestinians remain under siege. While World Vision has consistently supported Halabi’s defense, each new round of allegationsagainst Palestinian rights defenders by Erdan and his ministry seems to lead to new repressive actions, closures of accounts, intensified surveillance and widespread media coverage, with few questions asked about the authenticity of these assertions.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges the broadest possible support for Mohammed Halabi and all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Like Halabi himself, we note that his imprisonment is part and parcel of the political repression of Palestinians and of the siege on Gaza. It is an attempt to continue the siege on Palestinians by all means, including the smearing, torture and imprisonment of charity workers, the targeting of farmers and fishermen and the weekly shooting of popular protesters participating in the Great March of Return.

We also note the complicity of the “international community” not only in the persecution of Mohammed Halabi but, more fundamentally, in the siege of Gaza and the ongoing Nakba targeting the Palestinian people for over 71 years. This case, and those of all over 5,200 Palestinian prisoners, also highlights the critical necessity of escalating the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and the isolation of the Israeli occupation state, confronting official complicity with popular solidarity.

Freedom for Mohammed Halabi and all Palestinian prisoners! Freedom for Palestine, from the river to the sea!

(Source / 15.06.2019) 

Palestinian women prisoners announce demands, plan for collective strike 1 July

Palestinian women protest for Palestinian prisoners’ freedom, Ramallah

Palestinian women prisoners in Damon prison delivered an official letter to the Israeli prison administration, informing them of their intention to launch an open hunger strike on 1 July if their demands are not addressed. In a statement, former prisoner Mona Qa’adan said that 13 prisoners would launch the strike, led by Damon prisoners’ representative Yasmin Shaaban. Others who have announced their participation in the strike include women serving long sentences such as Shorouq DwayyatAmal TaqatqaNurhan Awad and Malak Salman.  She noted that all of the women prisoners are prepared to join the strike as it progresses.

The “Strike of the Free Women,” the name given the struggle by the women prisoners, will focus on a number of demands, including:

  • Removal of intrusive surveillance cameras from the prison yard
  • Extension of exercise time to eight hours between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Restoration of the exercise yard to eliminate hazards
  • Opening of a library for female prisoners and a classroom for girls
  • A private room near the “canteen” (prison store) for the preparation of food
  • Improved conditions for visiting family members
  • Return of confiscated books and family photos

Qa’adan noted that these are simple demands, yet very important for the imprisoned Palestinian women, emphasizing their right to human dignity and a decent life. She urged all to stand with the women prisoners in this struggle to extract their rights. They have issued demands repeatedly and have found no relief but further repression; she said that they have no option but to strike to extract their legitimate rights.

The prisoners’ message is a call to the people and the masses, not simply to officials and institutions, to take an urgent stand on this issue in order to reach a solution so that it is not necessary to repeat this strike in order to defend the gains achieved by the prisoners through struggle, Qa’adan said.

The announcement comes after imprisoned writer Lama Khater, 43, was sentenced to 13 months in Israeli prison by the Ofer military court. Khater was seized from her home in al-Khalil on 24 July 2018. She was subjected to harsh and abusive interrogation in Ashkelon detention center and denied sleep for days. Khater was accused of “incitement” for her publications on social media and in the press; she was also accused of support for a prohibited organization. All major Palestinian political parties are banned by the Israeli occupation.

On 11 June, Nurhan Awad’s sentence was reduced to 10 years when she was successful in her appeal at the Jerusalem high court, Asra Media reported. Awad, 19, was only 17 when she was sentenced to 13 years in Israeli prison.  She was one of several Palestinian children targeted for extreme sentencing, especially Jerusalemite children. Nurhan was accused of attempting with her 14-year-old cousin Hadeel to stab a man with scissors: a 70-year-old Palestinian man was lightly injured. Hadeel was shot dead by Israeli occupation soldiers and Nurhan was shot with two bullets. After her cousin was extrajudicially executed, Nurhan was imprisoned.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network calls on all supporters of Palestine and the Palestinian people to join the campaign to support the women prisoners. Palestinian women prisoners have been in the forefront of the prisoners’ movement over the years, including organizing multiple hunger strikes that played a significant role in securing key rights for the prisoners – the very rights now once again under attack. We urge supporters to organize events and actions, issue statements and build the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli occupation state. Palestinian women prisoners are struggling for basic rights, dignity and justice – it is critical that we support their efforts.

(Source / 14.06.2019) 

Struggle in Ashkelon Prison: At least 45 Palestinian prisoners announce plans for hunger strike

At least 45 Palestinian prisoners held in Ashkelon prison by the Israeli occupation have announced plans to launch an open hunger strike on Sunday, 16 June. Repressive measures by the prison administration have escalated since the end of April, and prisoners have reported frequent night raids and invasive searches. Prisoners have been hit repeatedly with costly fines and multiple prisoners have been arbitrarily transferred from one prison to another.

In particular, Nasser Abu Hmaid, a prisoners’ movement leader, was transferred to Nafha prison. He announced that he would join the strike along with his fellow imprisoned Palestinians in Ashkelon prison. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that the announcement reflected the escalating tension inside the prison as Israeli authorities ramp up repression in the months after hundreds of prisoners went on hunger strike against harsh conditions of confinement.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society also said that the Israeli prison administration announced plans to arbitrarily transfer of a number of Palestinian prisoners. Since the mass hunger strike ended in April 2019, 24 prisoners in Ashkelon have been denied access to the “canteen” or prison store, denied family visits and fined.

The Ashkelon prisoners’ demands include the following:

  • Ending the invasions and attacks on the prisoners’ rooms
  • Cancellation of the unjust sanctions on prisoners
  • Proper healthcare and medical treatment for ill prisoners (Basil al-Na’asan, Yaser Rubayat, Haytham Halas, Mohammad Barash), including dental care and specialist doctors
  • Introduction of cooling devices in the prison hall
  • Installation of large fans in the section yard
  • Change to TV channels
  • Return of the detainees’ representative (Nasser Abu Hmaid)
  • Introduction of clothes and books from family members
  • Separate room for processing and cooking food
  • Increased recreation time
  • Photography with wives and parents
  • Access to hot water during the day
  • Updating visitor telephones in the family visit rooms
  • Allowing the purchase of fruits and vegetables from the “canteen” without restriction

This reports comes as Palestinian prisoners in various detention centers have announced that they will return to open hunger strike if the Israeli prison administration continues to violate the agreement that ended the strike. Dozens of prisoners associated with Hamas were suddenly transferred to other wings, many with cell phone jammers installed. Meanwhile, Israeli officials have taken no action to install public telephones in the prisons, a major demand of the strikers which they agreed to in order to end the strike.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses full solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in Ashkelon and all prisoners struggling to uphold their dignity and win their freedom from Israeli occupation prisons.

(Source / 14.06.2019) 

Samidoun Netherlands launched following Amsterdam event highlighting political prisoners

The following report is republished from the website of Revolutionaire Eenheid. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network welcomes the formation of Samidoun Netherlands, and we look forward to struggling together for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners – and all imprisoned revolutionary strugglers! 

Photos of political prisoners, such as Georges Abdallah and Mumia Abu-Jamal, at the Amsterdam event

On Thursday 30 May, Revolutionaire Eenheid organized a successful benefit evening for political prisoners at Dokhuis Galerie, Amsterdam. We cooked dinner, put together an exhibition of international political prisoners, and enjoyed the music of political duo, Your Local Pirates. Guests of the evening were Joke Kaviaar, who was imprisoned by the Dutch state for her political work and writings, and Mohammed Khatib from Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

Joke Kaviaar is dedicated to the struggle for immigrant and refugee rights. She was arrested and imprisoned in January 2019 after a legal struggle with the State since 2011. But being imprisoned did not stop Kaviaar from being active. She helped other prisoners file complaints, remained steadfast in the face of prison repression and kept writing and drawing.

Kaviaar also pointed out that even though we do not think of Dutch prisoners as ‘political,’ they sure are. Women who defended themselves against abusers. Refugees who are deported. Poor people who are forced into illegality. These are all political prisoners.

The situation is different in Palestine. Mohammed Khatib: “The occupation imprisons the organizers and leaders of the liberation movement. The Israeli’s think that by putting a struggler in jail they will become powerless. But today, political prisoners are leaders of our movement.”

Khatib emphasized that Palestinian prisoners are leaders because they are in daily confrontation with the occupation. In order to have a proper library, prisoners have organized collectively and for example went on hunger strike. Other struggles of prisoners are against administrative detention, for family visits and for access to healthcare.

In order to continue supporting Palestinian political prisoners, Samidoun is announcing its formation in the Netherlands. Samidoun Netherlands will focus on raising awareness about Palestinian prisoners and their struggle and organizing concrete solidarity with them.

The establishment of Samidoun Netherlands comes at a time of increasing repression of the Palestine solidarity movement. PayPal closed Samidoun’s account and the German parliament intents to outlaw BDS. Also in Germany, the state and Zionist forces have been trying to repress Rasmea Odeh, Palestinian freedom fighter. This bears resemblance to last year, when the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam evicted an autonomous student space after Revolutionaire Eenheid hosted Odeh.

We understand these desperate attempts as a desperate response to the growing strength of the Palestinian liberation movement. Samidoun Netherlands will strive for the liberation of all political prisoners by connecting the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle with European cases such as Joke Kaviaar and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah and broadening support networks across these causes.

(Source / 07.06.2019) 

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)