In the early dawn hours of Thursday, 31 October, Israeli occupation forces stormed the Ramallah home of Palestinian leftist and feminist leader and internationally-known parliamentarian, Khalida Jarrar. They seized Jarrar from her family home at 3 a.m. Jerusalem time, with over 70 soldiers and 12 military vehicles armed for the forcible invasion, as reported by her daughter Yafa on Facebook:
The arrest comes just eight months after Jarrar was last released from Israeli imprisonment after spending 20 months jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention. Administrative detention orders can be issued for up to six months at a time, and they are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians like Jarrar have spent years at a time jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Within the Israeli occupation prisons, she played a leading role in supporting the education of the minor girls held there, organizing classes on human rights and in review for mandatory high school examinations when the prison authority denied the girls a teacher.
This was not the only time that Jarrar was 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.
Jarrar is a longtime advocate for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and has served as the former Vice-Chair and Executive Director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. A member of the Palestinian Legislative Council elected as part of the leftist Abu Ali Mustafa Bloc, associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, she chaired the PLC’s Prisoners Committee.
She is also an outspoken leader in the fight to hold Israeli officials accountable for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. She is a member of a Palestinian commission charged with bringing complaints and files before the international court about ongoing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, from attacks on Gaza to land confiscation and settlement construction to mass arrests and imprisonment.
Israeli occupation forces have once again arrested Palestinian feminist and leftist leader Khalida Jarrar in an early-morning raid on her home in occupied Ramallah.
In 2014, she resisted – and defeated – an Israeli attempt to forcibly displace her from her family home in el-Bireh to Jericho. Only nine months later, in April 2015, she was seized by Israeli occupation forces and ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. After a global outcry, she was brought before Israeli military courts and faced 12 charges based on her political activity, from giving speeches to attending events in support of Palestinian prisoners.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges international mobilization and action to demand the immediate release of Khalida Jarrar. This arrest comes amid multiple hunger strikes, including a hunger strike of over a month carried out by Heba al-Labadi, and the severe torture of Samer Arbeed. It is yet another attempt by the Israeli occupation to attack Palestinian popular movements – and campaigns to defend Palestinian prisoners – and suppress them through fear, arrests and intimidation carried out by a massively armed occupation force.
It is urgent that we intensify our solidarity to demand the freedom of Khalida Jarrar, Heba al-Labadi and all of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners behind bars in Israeli occupation prisons, including building the movement to boycott Israel on an international level.
Israeli Occupation Forces Raid Addameer’s Office and Steal its Belongings
19 September 2019
Israeli occupation forces raided today, Thursday, 19 September 2019 at around 2:00am the office of Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association.
The Israeli forces stole five laptops, memory cards, three laptop memories, one laptop card, several books and additionally searching through the belongings of the office.
This is the third incident where the Israeli soldiers have raided the office, the first was in 2002 and the second incident was in 2012.
Addameer reassures that those constant raids will not stand in the face of any duties the organization has for Palestinian political prisoners. The organization will continue to support Palestinian prisoners to flight all human rights violations they suffer from including torture, arbitrary detention and unfair trails.
Addameer sees this raid as a part of ongoing and systematic attacks against the Palestinian civil society organization. Those attacks are targeting the organizations that have a role in facing the occupation’s violations and claiming accountability for those violations. This is additionally a part of the occupation’s campaign to shrink space, delegitimize and de-fund those human rights and civil society organizations.
Les forces d’occupations ont effectué un raid dans les locaux d’Addameer et ont volé des biens
19 September 2019
Jeudi 19 septembre, aux alentours de 2h du matin, les forces d’occupation israéliennes ont effectué un raid dans les locaux de l’association Addameer qui défend les prisonniers politiques et les droits de l’homme.
L’armée israélienne y a volé 5 ordinateurs portables, des cartes mémoires, trois disques durs, plusieurs livres et a fouillé tous les bureaux.
C’est la troisième fois que les forces d’occupation effectuent un raid de la sorte dans les locaux d’Addameer, le premier était en 2002 et le second en 2012.
Addameer maintient que ces raids à répétitions ne l’empêchera pas d’effectuer sa mission pour les prisonniers politiques palestiniens. L’association Addameer continuera de soutenir les prisonniers palestiniens face à toutes les violations des droits de l’homme dont ils souffrent, incluant la torture, la détention arbitraire et les mauvais traitements.
Addameer considère ce raid comme une partie des attaques systématiques et incessantes contre la société civile palestinienne. Ces attaques visent les organisations qui jouent un rôle dans la lutte contre les violations de l’occupant et qui portent responsable l’occupant de ses violations. Cela fait également partie de la campagne de l’occupant visant à réduire la marge de manœuvre, à délégitimer et à couper les fonds des organisations de défense des droits de l’homme et de la société civile.
قوات الاحتلال تقتحم مقر مؤسسة الضمير وتسرق مقتنياتها.
19 أيلول 2019
سرقت قوات الاحتلال من المؤسسة 5 أجهزة حاسوب نقال، ذاكرة كاميرا، ذاكرة 3 أجهزة حاسوب، كرت حاسوب وعدد من الكتب كما عبثت بمحتويات المكتب.
سرقت قوات الاحتلال من المؤسسة 5 أجهزة حاسوب نقال، ذاكرة كاميرا، ذاكرة 3 أجهزة حاسوب، كرت حاسوب وعدد من الكتب كما عبثت بمحتويات المكتب.
يذكر أن هذا الإقتحام يعتبرالثالث بعد أن قام جيش الاحتلال بإقتحام المؤسسة عام 2002وعام 2012
تؤكد مؤسسة الضمير أن اقتحام مكاتبها المتكرر لن يثنيها عن القيام بواجبها اتجاه قضية الأسرى السياسيين الفلسطينيين.
و ستواصل عملها الجاد في مساندة كافة الأسرى للتصدي للانتهاكات الجسيمة التي يواجهونها من تعذيب واعتقالات تعسفية ومحاكمات غير عادلة، على كافة المستويات وامام جميع المحافل محلياً و دولياً.
ترى مؤسسة الضمير أن هذا الاقتحام هو جزء من الاستهداف المنهجي لمؤسسات المجتمع المدني الفلسطيني، خاصة تلك التي تلعب دوراً ريادياً لمساءلة ومحاسبة الاحتلال على جرائم الحرب و الجرائم ضد الانسانية. وهي استمراراً للحملة التي تقودها حكومة الاحتلال بحق المؤسسات الفلسطينية من تشويه و تضييق على مصادر التمويل وغيرها.
Diné members of The Red Nation took direct action by raising a Palestinian flag, given to them by Irish Republican Socialist Party members in Belfast, alongside that of the Navajo Nation outside its presidential office in Window Rock, Arizona
The Red Nation, a mass organization based in New Mexico and dedicated to the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism, released the following statement.
The Liberation of Palestine Represents an Alternative Path for Native Nations
Adopted September 6, 2019
Rejecting Anti-Palestinian, Anti-Arab, and Anti-Muslim Opportunism
Palestine is the moral barometer of Indigenous North America. While there is widespread agreement among Native people that European colonialism and Indigenous genocide is criminal and immoral, there are a surprisingly high number of Native politicians, elites, and public figures who don’t extend the same sympathies to Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims. They range from outright Zionists who support Palestinian ethnic cleansing to liberal centrists who don’t support Palestinian rights of protest and resistance.
“Red washing” is a useful academic term used to describe how Zionists recruit Indigenous people to normalize the Israeli settler project. We use the term “anti-Palestinian opportunism” to describe how profitable and career-advancing it is for Indigenous people to align with the Zionist project.
Indigenous leaders frequently and falsely equate aspirations of Indigenous peoples with the Zionist settler project, which requires the displacement, removal, and continued banishment of Native Palestinians from their homelands.
Even self-described “progressive” Native leaders make pro-Zionist statements and positions for political gain.
Last year during her run for US Congress, Haaland equated Native Americans getting the right to vote in New Mexico in 1948 to the creation of the state of Israel as “parallel” experiences. And when US representative Ilhan Omar, a black muslim woman and refugee, spoke out against AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), a pro-Zionist, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab lobby group, Haaland criticized Omar’s remarks as a “type of anti-semitism” emphasizing that as Democrats, “we support Israel.” To advance her own standing with Zionist liberals like Nancy Pelosi, Haaland aligned herself with the rightwing of the Democratic party that has frequently maligned and smeared progressive Muslim women like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. Haaland’s opportunism demonstrates that she is anything but an ally to Palestine and more of an opportunist willing to throw Palestinians under the bus when it benefits her political career.
Pro-Zionism isn’t confined to the world of politicians. Indigenous artists, athletes, and academics have also chosen to ignore Palestinian rights to advance their careers.
In 2012, poet Joy Harjo ignored Palestinian calls for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of Israeli institutions when she toured Israel. This year, the Library of Congress made her the US poet laureate. In 2017, international jurist and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, S. James Anaya crossed the BDS picket-line to give a lecture on Indigenous rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Last year, while unarmed Gazans were gunned downed by Israeli snipers during the Great March of Return, the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team refused Palestinian calls to boycott an international lacrosse tournament in Israel because they claimed Israel recognized “Iroquois sovereignty.”
The refusal of the United States and Canada to recognize Indigenous sovereignty is not an excuse to trample the rights of Palestinians. And no artistic expression, sports tournament, or academic talk trumps the right of Palestinians to live in peace in their own homeland.
These examples show that Indigenous artists, athletes, celebrities, and politicians are rewarded for pro-Zionism and anti-BDS positions. In other words, it’s lucrative for Indigenous peoples in settler societies to be anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, or anti-Muslim — because that’s the status quo for US imperialist interests. After all, to be anti-Palestinian is to be pro-United States, pro-Israel, and, therefore, pro-settler colonialism.
On Settler Colonialism
Settler colonialism presents itself as a shield, as a protector. What they don’t tell you is that it shields occupation and protects occupiers. Palestinians have resisted Israeli settler colonialism since 1948 and European colonialism since 1917. Israel’s violent occupation of historic Palestine is typically framed as a “conflict.” This is a distortion of history that erases the actual truth: Israel’s very existence depends upon the elimination of Palestinians. This is called settler colonialism. Israel is a violent settler nation that should be condemned for its crimes against humanity.
And like its patron, the United States, white historians in the United States have long framed the history of settler colonialism in this nation as a “conflict” between two equal sides: cowboys and Indians; settlers and savages. Dakota scholar Elizabeth Cook-Lynn reminds us there are no two sides to a story of colonial dispossession and genocide. In a settler nation, there is a clear perpetrator: the settler state. Like Palestinians, Native people continue to resist systematic colonialism by the U.S. We refuse to be uprooted. Refusal is the basis of all forms of anti-colonial resistance, and we, as the original peoples and nations of these lands, extend unwavering solidarity and support to our Palestinian relatives who struggle for liberation from the same violence that threatens to erase our histories and our futures.
There is a prominent tendency within US-based Palestine solidarity work to foster peace and reconciliation as a model of justice. We strongly object to this tendency. Israeli colonization perpetuates violence, regardless of the liberal niceties about “peace” and “respect” you place on it. Peacemaking is not a bilateral responsibility in a settler colonial state that perpetuates war crimes against the colonized. The notion of “mutual” peace implies that the colonized holds equal responsibility for justice. In a colonial context, colonialism is the original crime, and colonizers the aggressors. When did invasion become self-defense? The only form of justice that matches this crime is decolonization. The decolonization of Israel requires withdrawing the Zionist occupation from occupied Palestine, removing the blockade from Gaza, and honoring the Palestinian right of return (all tenets of BDS, which we detail below). And those who advocate for justice in Palestine are also obligated to advocate for our liberation and decolonization from US occupation.
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions
Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid in the world. They offer their citizens complete healthcare coverage paid for by U.S. dollars, while Palestinians die on a daily basis because they are unable to access healthcare in the occupied territories, much less pay for it. Israel commits atrocities against Palestinians with impunity because the U.S. allows it to happen. We are citizens of Native nations that endure despite violent colonial occupation by the United States. We have not achieved decolonization and the national liberation of our homelands because the U.S. has sought to thwart our freedom dreams at every turn. It is thus no surprise that it bankrolls Israel’s efforts to do the same to Palestinians. U.S. occupation gains strength and legitimacy through Israeli occupation, and vice versa.
The best method of resisting–and ultimately undoing–the collusion between the US and Israel is to enforce Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). BDS is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality founded in 2005 that upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. The BDS movement is a form of non-violent advocacy to demand the state of Israel 1) end its occupation of all Arab-Palestinian lands, 2) recognize the equal rights of Arab-Palestinians, and 3) respect the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
BDS is inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement that helped to put international pressure to end apartheid. The US and Israel backed the racist South African apartheid regime when the rest of the world morally opposed it. Indigenous peoples were made a category in the UN Decade to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Apartheid, which began in 1974. Zionism as a form of racism was also part of the initial agenda (which was later removed after the 1993 Oslo accords) and gave a platform for Palestinian rights. US presidents from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush boycotted the UN programs on racism, most likely over the questions of apartheid in South Africa and Palestine. This boycott included the two UN decades to combat racism and apartheid from 1974-1993.
Nevertheless, the connections between the South African anti-apartheid movement, Palestinian rights, and Indigenous rights cannot be ignored or dismissed. Without this lateral solidarity, Indigenous peoples would not have made such historic gains, like the drafting of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It should come as no surprise that Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States (all settler colonial regimes) initially voted against UNDRIP, maintaining their decades-long position of hostility towards Indigenous people at the UN. Israel was absent from this vote.
Across the world, student groups and university faculty have called for the academic boycott of Israeli universities, which participate in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and dispossession of Palestinian land. Dozens of U.S.-based Native scholars have pledged to honor the academic boycott of Israel by not collaborating with Israeli universities.
Another key part of the BDS movement is the economic boycott of, and divestment from, U.S., international, and Israeli companies that profit from Israel’s occupation. Israel argues that boycotting Israeli companies hurts Palestinians whom they employ; however, Israel controls natural resources, has intentionally destroyed Palestinian businesses, and has restricted Palestinians’ ability to steward their own lands and support their people. Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip–nearly 2 million people–are completely restricted from visiting family in the West Bank or in other countries or seeking crucial medical care. Israel profits from its blockade of the Gaza Strip by allowing its own exports into Gaza for sale on the market and simultaneously destroys Palestinian agricultural land and severely restricts Gaza’s exports.
The BDS movement also calls for a cultural boycott in addition to academic and economic boycotts. Israel deliberately uses culture, entertainment and the arts to normalize and whitewash their occupation of Palestinian lands. BDS calls upon artists and entertainment performers to refrain from going to Israel.
With this history of solidarity in mind, we urge all Native people and Nations to respect the Palestinian call for BDS by pledging NOT to collaborate with universities, institutions, or organizations that promote and normalize the occupation. Don’t allow yourselves to be redwashed by Israel and its apologists to justify ethnic cleansing. Don’t cross the picket line!
While BDS calls for a cultural, economic, and academic boycotts, Indigenous nations are typically drawn into supporting Israeli settler colonialism because Israel offers recognition of Indigenous sovereignty and nationhood, when settler colonial states like the United States and Canada refuse to do so. We urge Indigenous nations to not only culturally boycott Israel, but to also refuse its recognition of our Indigenous nationhood. Instead, we urge Palestinians and Indigenous nations in North America to create, foster, and strengthen political ties through mutual recognition, aid, and support. Allying with Palestinian nationhood offers an alternative path for anti-colonial Indigneous nationhood that doesn’t normalize settler colonial regimes—whether its Israel, the United States, or Canada.
BDS activists have successfully pressured U.S. politicians to not participate in AIPAC-sponsored Israel trips. We urge Native leaders and politicians to refuse participation in Israeli- and Zionist-sponsored delegations and instead participate in Palestinian-led and -sponsored delegations only.
According to Jewish Voice for Peace, it is anti-semitic to claim that all Jewish people are aligned with the aims and goals Zionism and to equate support for Israel with the idea that Israel is a Jewish-only homeland. While anti-semitism is a real issue and on the rise as a central tenet of rightwing authoritarianism and fascism, BDS and justice for Palestine are not anti-semitic. To say otherwise is to minimize and obfuscate the crimes of Israel and the suffering of Palestinians. We condemn pervasive anti-Indigenous, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim sentiments, beliefs, and practices in the US and Israel with a rigor and veracity that equals our condemnation of anti-Jewishness worldwide.
We, The Red Nation, pledge to fulfill our commitment to Palestinian liberation by doing the following:
Holding Native celebrities, politicians, athletes, and artists accountable when they choose to cross the BDS picket line.
Supporting the Palestinian right of return without hesitation or apology.
Supporting BDS at all turns.
Offering full solidarity to Palestinians in the diaspora by giving them space for organizing and speaking about Palestinian liberation.
Extending Indigenous hospitality and kinship to our Palestinian relatives whenever they are in, or traveling to, our homelands.
Supporting Palestinian resistance in any and all forms; when people are occupied, resistance is justified.
Educating our membership about Palestine through delegations, readings, and events.
Educating Native Nations and other colonized people about Palestinian Liberation and Resistance efforts.
In solidarity with all colonized peoples of the world,
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands with the people of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, who face the front lines of aggression by the Israeli state, its Zionist supporters, imperialist backers and reactionary allies, and urges broad solidarity with their resistance.
In particular, they show its eagerness to weaken the resistance forces confronting its spearheads: Israel and the militant fundamentalist groups, including Al-Qaeda affiliates, with whom it has found common cause. They also reflect the ongoing threat that Zionism and the Israeli state pose to all peoples in the region. After all, this is nothing new. Israel currently occupies the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Shebaa Farms. Its occupying forces were driven from southern Lebanon in 2000 due to the people’s resistance. Since that time, the Israeli state has repeatedly attempted to incite war with Lebanon and engaged in a brutal assault on the people of the country in 2006, rebuffed when the Lebanese resistance was victorious over the Zionist war machine once more.
And along with his decision to ban a visit by United States Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, they also demonstrate the willingness of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces a surprisingly close battle for re-election on 17 September, to win at any cost, even the embroilment of his state in a regional war.
Samidoun urges all supporters of Palestine to strengthen their solidarity with the forces of resistance confronting Israel, Zionism, imperialism and reaction both there and in surrounding countries through escalated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns, particularly against targets, like Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, HSBC and Sabra, complicit in servicing the Israeli military, demands that imperialist and reactionary government end their support for Israel, and mass mobilization against Israel’s dangerous escalation.
Israeli occupation forces seized at least 23 people from their homes on Monday morning, 26 August, including several Palestinian student leaders and activists at Bir Zeit University. They join approximately 60 fellow students at Bir Zeit and over 300 Palestinian students overall held in Israeli prisons. Student activists involved in the elected council or other organizations are particularly targeted for arrest, interrogation and imprisonment; nearly every year, the Bir Zeit student body president is seized by occupation forces and prevented from carrying out his or her term on campus.
The students arrested on Monday morning include Ribhi Karajeh, a former political prisoner, seized from his village of Saffa; Khaled Abu Qash and Ahmad Kharouf. The Progressive Democratic Student Pole at Bir Zeit University issued a statement denouncing the arrests, saying that these arrests come “in the context of unsuccessful attempts to undermine our solid will and strong determination” and affirming that the Palestinian people will not be intimidated by persecution and the struggle will not be weakened by arrests.
The Palestinian Youth Mobilization in Germany (Hirak) called on students around the world to organize to confront the arrests and repression targeting Palestinian students throughout occupied Palestine. Hirak urged the Higher Committee for the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege in Gaza to adopt a Friday of protest for Palestinian students in order to unify the student movement in struggle and work together to escalate the popular struggle against the occupation and break the siege on the Palestinian people in Gaza, especially students.
1. Ribhi Karajeh, from Saffa west of Ramallah 2. Mohammed Munir Barghouthi, from Kobar north of Ramallah 3. Kanaan Hazmawi, from Kobar 4. Diaa Mashal Barghouthi, from Kobar 5. Marwan Adib Barghouthi, from Kobar 6. Nael Jamal Barghouthi, from Kobar 7. Shadi Barghouthi, from Kobar 8. Musaab Saher Barghouthi, from Kobar 9. Mohammed Munir Barghouthi, from Kobar 10. Qassam Nael Barghouthi, from Kobar 11. Yousef Sarhan, from Kobar 12. Khaled Ahmad Qad, from Abu Qash north of Ramallah 13. Aseer Hatem Maarouf, from Ain Qinya north of Ramallah 14. Talaat Hatem Maarouf, from Ain Qinya 15. Ahmad Kharouf, from Ramallah 16. Yahya Mohammed al-Rifai, from Kafr Ain west of Ramallah 17. Haitham Yousef al-Eiss, from Kafr Ainn 18. Firas Abdel-Karim Adam, from Zawiya, west of Salfit 19. Hafez Abu Zeid, from Jenin 20. Salah Albou, from Abu Dis east of Jerusalem 21. Saqer Hanatsheh, from Ramallah al-Tahta 22. Salem Badi al-Dardasari, from al-Bireh
As these new arrests targeted students and activists, Palestinian student Osama Fakhoury, 22, from al-Khalil, was once again ordered to eight more days of detention by the Ofer military court. An engineering student, Fakhoury is the former student council chair at Bir Zeit University. He has been jailed since 2 July, when he was seized by occupation forces 25 days before the release of his mother, Palestinian writer Lama Khater, who was released from over a year in Israeli prison in late July.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins Hirak in its call to action to defend Palestinian students under attack and organize to win the liberation of Palestinian prisoners – and of all of Palestine. We translate the statement below:
“The Zionist occupation continues to arrest and target our Palestinian students and comrades in the universities in the occupied homeland, Palestine, believing that it can break their resolve our our commitment. Our response to the crimes of the occupation is through popular action and its comprehensive escalation everywhere.
The Palestinian Youth Mobilization calls on all Palestinian students everywhere to organize, confront and expose the policy of large-scale arrests carried out by the Zionist occupation forces against the student movement in occupied Palestine.
We also call on our brothers and comrades in the Higher Committee for the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege to adopt a Friday of anger on behalf of the students of Palestine to unite efforts for a unified student movement in action and work together to escalate the popular movement to confront the occupier and break the siege imposed upon our people in the Gaza Strip, especially on the student population.
To our struggling people everywhere:
Popular escalation is the only possible option to protect our national rights and our sacred cause from the threat of liquidation.
Hirak also calls on the BDS movement to mobilize committees and campaigners everywhere, especially in universities, to defend the students in occupied Palestine.
We also emphasize that the attacks of the occupation on Palestinian students are not separate from its attacks on our people and our nation in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemns the latest cynical attack by the Palestinian Authority against marginalized people in Palestine, noting that the ban on activities by al-Qaws is an attempt to distract from the PA’s ongoing failure to defend Palestinian rights from Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid. While the PA claimed that it was investigating how to end its catastrophically damaging “agreements” with the Israeli occupation, in reality, security coordination with the occupier at the expense of the Palestinian people continues on a daily basis.
By targeting LGBTQ-identified Palestinians, Palestinian Authority security officials – also responsible for carrying out security coordination with the occupation on the ground and locking up Palestinian youth and students in political detention – are attempting to claim the mantle of religious and cultural identity to hide the PA’s ongoing involvement in coordinating “security” with the occupier. Instead, the PA seems to be attempting to incite conflict between Palestinians while providing free propaganda to the pinkwashing campaigns of the colonial Israeli regime and Zionist organizations around the world, while marginalized Palestinians bear the brunt.
“This dangerous reaction only proves once again that the PA is serving as a tool in the hands of the Zionist occupation that is used to oppress our people and to break any movement against the occupation. We know, very well, that the Zionist entity will be the only baneficiary of these repressive actions against LGBTQ-identified Palestinians. We can already see how these forces – which actively attack Palestinians of all identities through ongoing colonization, apartheid, occupation, killings, siege, imprisonment and dispossession – have already begun to disingenuously use this action to pinkwash the occupation.”
“Al-Qaws and other organizations have played a key role in building international awareness of the real situation of the Palestinian people, exposing the pinkwashing propaganda of the occupation state. Their members are part of the Palestinian people and our national liberation movement. The Palestinian people are diverse in our struggle for national and social liberation, and our diversity includes the LGBTQ community. Our vision of liberation includes justice for all.”
“These events should only encourage progressive and revolutionary LGBTQ movements and communities around the world to escalate their solidarity with the Palestinian people through fighting pinkwashing campaigns and building the boycott campaign against the racist, settler-colonial Israeli apartheid project and the BDS movement. Palestinians of all identities and sexualities are fighting for liberation from settler-colonialism as well as fighting for social liberation and democratic rights. It is impossible to achieve the latter without the fotmer.”
“Pinkwashing campaigns are, in reality, an international propaganda assault on LGBTQ Palestinians by the very forces most responsible for their oppression. We know that the Palestinian Authority is engaging in ongoing security coordination with the Israeli occupation. Far from protecting Palestinian values, it has completely sold out those values while pursuing normalization and cooperation with the Zionist occupation and the imperialist forces that fund, aid and arm it. In response to these attacks, this is the time to intensify all of our efforts to fight for national and social liberation in Palestine and for freedom for all oppressed communities.”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins organizers and activists throughout occupied Palestine in condemning the normalization meetings undertaken by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with a delegation from the so-called “Israel Democratic Party” and it alliance, the Democratic Union. This meeting comes amid the approach to the Israeli elections scheduled in early September, in which the Israeli war criminal Ehud Barak – founder of this party – is marketing himself as a “left” competitor to his fellow war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas’ meeting with the representatives of Barak’s party – presented as a reunion with the granddaughter of Yitzhak Rabin and a symbolic reconstruction of the Oslo alliance – aims to perpetuate normalization of allegedly “left” Israeli forces which in fact represent the same brutal policies toward the Palestinian people, rooted in settler colonialism and Zionist racism, as their electoral rivals in the Likud or the Yisrael Beitenu of Avigdor Lieberman.
Such meetings with representatives of Israeli parties, competing for the right to oppress, exile and besiege the Palestinian people and escalate war threats against Iran and even Lebanon, only serve to normalize war criminals. Instead, all such parties – fundamentally based on the negation of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people to return, self-determination and national liberation on their land – should instead be clearly and firmly boycotted.
When Palestinian Authority officials engage in normalization meetings, this undermines the efforts of people of conscience around the world – including and especially Palestinian communities and organizations in exile and diaspora – to boycott Israeli political parties and institutions. International solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement can never be found in the accommodation of war criminals like Ehud Barak and his latest political machinations. Instead, popular movements around the world stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate resistance to the regime of occupation, apartheid, racism and colonialism that Barak’s party aims to helm.
The Israeli elections are being used to fuel one attack on the other upon the Palestinian people, from “anti-BDS minister” Gilad Erdan‘s alliance with the most overtly racist and reactionary settlers to invade al-Aqsa and displace Palestinian worshippers, to escalating threats of war from Gaza to Iran, to the promotion of a “neo-Oslo” normalization by Barak’s pseudo-leftist party whose very name is a fundamental contradiction: “Democratic Israel,” based on apartheid and colonization. Attempts by the Palestinian Authority to promote such figures come only at the expense of the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights.
The Oslo process has never been anything but deeply destructive to the Palestinian people, and normalization has never done anything but undermine Palestinian rights and cover up the reality of a struggle between a colonizer exerting its domination in alliance with the most powerful imperialist forces in the world and a colonized people continuing to struggle and resist.
While the Zionist parties may debate intensely with each other over a range of issues, they are unified in their commitment to the apartheid regime, the dispossession of the Palestinian people, the denial of Palestinian rights, the colonization of Palestinian land and the labeling of Palestinian resistance as “terror.” They compete with each other about how to more “effectively” combat the “Iranian strategic threat” and “Palestinian terror.” None of the Zionist parties recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people, and all are committed to denying Palestinian refugees’ right to return. Palestinians – especially Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – are labeled “extremists” for pursuing their rights at the same time that occupation forces invade Palestinian homes on a daily basis and impose a deadly siege on the Gaza Strip.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges people around the world committed to Palestinian rights and especially Palestinian communities in exile to confront these dangerous normalization meetings. Instead, we must prioritize Palestinian prisoners and refugees, fighting for their fundamental right to return home and putting their bodies and lives on the line within Israeli occupation prisons in hunger strikes for dignity, justice and freedom. Any attempt to promote Zionist parties that continue to reject fundamental Palestinian rights, including by the Palestinian Authority and reactionary Arab regimes, can only harm Palestinians struggling for their lives, land and liberation.
We join the demand to immediately bring to an end the so-called “Committee for Communication with Israeli Society” in the PLO, which is in reality a mechanism to promote normalization with Zionist war criminals and their official political parties and institutions. We urge all friends of Palestine to confront normalization with intensified mobilization to support Palestinian refugees struggling in Gaza, Lebanon and around the world for their rights, and Palestinian prisoners on the front lines fighting for freedom. In particular, this is a critical moment to escalate the international call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and the complicit corporations that continue to prop up its colonial regime.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the passing of Nader Abuljebain, Palestinian writer and lifelong activist, in California on 11 August 2019. Nader Abuljebain was born in 1950 to Palestinian parents from Yafa, occupied Palestine, and attended school in Kuwait before university in the United States.
He lived between the United States and Kuwait throughout his life, and he was a dedicated activist for Palestine and a strong exponent of the Right of Return movement. He was an early member of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, in the United States, where he organized together with many activists across generations who continue to mobilize for Palestine today, including those involved with Samidoun.
He was a strong leader in the anti-war movement, especially the widespread protests against the U.S. war on Iraq and the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, and frequently spoke at demonstrations representing the Free Palestine Alliance.
He participated in numerous conventions and international mobilizations in support of Palestine and the Palestinian people, and he always held his eyes fixed on return, signing his messages tirelessly, “Until return, Hatta al-Awda.”
His work lives on in his book, “Palestinian History in Postage Stamps,” documenting the historical legacy of postage stamps in Palestine, including Ottoman stamps, Egyptian stamps, British mandate stamps, stamps produced by the Palestinian resistance and the PLO, stamps produced to support the Palestinian people around the world and other postage documents that represent the history of the Palestinian people, with extensive documentation in Arabic and English.
His legacy also lives on in the continuing work of so many who learned from and worked with him throughout his life, remaining committed to his clear vision: the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.
As he wrote, “The very fact of our continued existence in the face of the world’s longest standing and horrific occupation is living testimony to the heroism of our people. This process has given the newer generations a pride of their ancestry and heritage and the momentum and strength to resist inside Palestine and in exile. Under the leadership of Palestinian community-based groups, we must all assume a larger role in cultural activism focusing on the Right of Return, and reminding the world that colonial ‘Israel’ was not established on an empty piece of land but rather its imposition was based on a slow genocide and expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs, and the expropriation of the Arab Palestinian land. Anywhere in the world people know they live on the land, but for the Palestinians their land lives in them. They are inextricably and intimately linked to that space and that land in all of Arab Palestine. There will be no lasting peace in the region UNLESS that link, that organic unity between the exiled Palestinians and their homeland, is restored. It is at the core of the Palestinian struggle.”
Palestinian prisoner Bassam Sayeh, 44, is suffering a serious deterioration in his health, and he was taken to intensive care on Tuesday, 6 August. Sayeh, imprisoned in Israeli jails since 8 October 2015, suffers from bone cancer and leukemia and chronic heart problems. After being repeatedly transferred to the Ramleh prison clinic, he was finally transferred to the civilian Afula hospital after his health deteriorated further.
Sayeh, from Nablus, is unable to eat and has reportedly lost consciousness. He is considered to be one of the most severely ill Palestinian prisoners, and his heart, liver and lungs have been weakening since his imprisonment. He suffers from heart failure, pulmonary congestion and an enlarged liver, and his lungs function at only 25% of normal capacity. He is sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 30 years. He was accused of participating in supporting a resistance operation against Israeli settlers. Sayeh was seized by occupation forces as he went to the Salem military court near Jenin for the hearing of his then-imprisoned wife Mona.
Sayeh was denied visits from his wife Mona for almost three years, and only saw her for the first time since his arrest in January 2018. He has suffered from bone cancer since 2011 and leukemia since 2013. Mona Sayeh said that despite his illness, he had been repeatedly subjected to crackdowns and mistreatment by Israeli jailers accusing him of having a cell phone.
During his time in Israeli prison, Sayeh has struggled for access to necessary surgery and has dealt with interference with chemotherapy as well as denial of access to independent specialist doctors. Sayeh’s health situation is one of the most severe inside Israeli prisons, but medical neglect is a significant issue for many Palestinians. 220 Palestinians have lost their lives inside Israeli jails, many in cases connected to medical neglect, like that of Nasser Taqatqa in July 2019.
There are at least 23 Palestinian prisoners with cancer and around 100 seriously ill prisoners. In the past, Palestinian prisoners have died shortly after their release, reporting long-delayed testing and treatment during their time in Israeli prisons.
In addition, the protest, being organized with a large participation of youth and students, is also meant to elevate the level of popular support for Palestinian refugees in the camps in Lebanon fighting for civil, social and economic rights and against unjust and discriminatory laws. Palestinians in the West Bank and in diaspora, including those in Lebanon, together filmed a video calling for the march and urging the widest participation in the event.
The protest will include human rights organizations, advocates for Palestinian prisoners, former prisoners and the families of the prisoners on hunger strike. Samidoun activists noted that the Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails are engaged in a daily battle of steadfastness to bring an end to administrative detention, while there is a rising movement in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. They called people to participte in the demonstration, particularly as it aims to confront U.S. and Zionist attempts to liquidate Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause altogether.
There are currently 29 Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike and 40 more have expressed their intention to join the strike on Monday, 5 August. This demonstration comes to mobilize full support for the prisoners whose bodies and lives are on the line to win their freedom and that of the Palestinian people.