Prisoners Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, who started the strike and have been detained for 2 years without charges, are at grave risk of death, now entering their 74th day (5/11/12) of fasting. For reference, Mahatma Gandhi ended his longest hunger strike on day 21; Bobby Sands died on day 66.
This history-making prisoner-led nonviolent movement is growing by the day. Sign Petition HERE
Israeli policymakers, hunger strikers, the media and Palestinian citizens all need to hear from the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who support nonviolent resistance and oppose grotesquely undemocratic practices like "administrative detention" which allows Palestinians to be detained without charge.
Please sign the petition, and forward it to everyone you know. And put it on your FACEBOOK! <http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=oWi68kaLr0Tb3kJnP2MYYAnNiCD0tM4H>
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned that Halahleh and five others were in "imminent danger of dying" and called on Israel to transfer them to a hospital and allow visits from their families.
The strikers are also protesting inhumane conditions such as egregious solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and the refusal to medically treat critical health conditions.
"Just yesterday, 1,000 residents of Dheisheh Refugee Camp, where I'm honored to have worked for many years, rallied in solidarity with the strikers. And in Ramallah, student activists staged a sit-in that shut down the United Nations building. Leaders of Palestinian nonviolent popular resistance and their Israeli allies are now calling for international solidarity demonstrations. And groups like Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, and the International Red Cross are weighing in." Lori Rudolph, Fulbright Scholar at Bethlehem and Al Quds University
For Israel, punishing Palestinians is not enough.
An ongoing hunger strike by nearly 2,000 Palestinian inmates stands as a reminder of their humanity, but Israelis are more interested in revenge.
By Amira Hass 5.5.12 HAARETZ
In faraway, frozen Finland - otherwise known as the infirmary of Ramle Prison - the lives of four detainees who have been on a hunger strike for at least 60 days hang in the balance. Nearly 2,000 inmates in the Nafha, Ashkelon, Gilboa and other prisons around Israel have been on hunger strike for two weeks. The very fact of their decision to refuse food and their willingness to risk being punished by the authorities stands as a reminder of their humanity. The Israel Prison Service does not have to make much of an effort to conceal this mass action from Israeli eyes. The great majority of Israelis label all incarcerated Palestinians as conscienceless murderers or common terrorists, at the least. They have little interest in acts of personal or collective courage on the part of Palestinian detainees that serve as reminders that they are human beings.
Administrative detainees have been held without trial for years under emergency regulations inspired by the British Mandate. It's not important. Hundreds of prisoners from the Gaza Strip haven't seen their families for six or more years. Why should anyone care? When Gilad Shalit was in captivity in Gaza, the cancellation of visits for Gazan prisoners in Israel was presented as "proportionate pressure." After his release, Israelis don't care that this sort of proportionality goes on, and that family visits were not restored. So what? Why should we care that Palestinians are kept in isolation for years on end and barred from seeing their families for three, five or 10 years? Any normal prison administration would welcome prisoners' demand to go back to studying through the Open University. Studies reduce stress and tension levels in prison. But the name of the game here is submission.
Palestinian prisoners are given names and faces in the Israeli news media only if they can demonstrate their "contemptibility." Their names and faces are not mentioned in the context of their personal, family and national history for more than 60 years: expulsion, exile, destruction of their homes, the injury and killing of friends and family members by Israeli soldiers, or trifles such as beatings by soldiers or expropriation of their land by government officials. Palestinian prisoners are mentioned in terms of the number of life sentences they are serving. But Israel's revered army generals, retired and on active duty, are responsible for killing many more Palestinian (and Lebanese ) civilians than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Palestinian prisoners.
History - praise be to Clio, the Greek muse of history - is no longer written only by the victors. But the conquerors still decide who is the hero, who is the soldier who acts as the judge and who is the defendant who is declared a terrorist even before he is convicted. The Palestinians are not recognized as prisoners of war whose weapons are less advanced, less sophisticated than those of their jailers. Israelis are not satisfied with the various measures to worsen their prison conditions. When it comes to Palestinians, punishment is not enough. Prison must also be never-ending revenge that extends what Israel tries to do outside its walls as well: to break up the collective, to weaken the individual, to deter others from resistance to the foreign regime. The hunger strike is, in effect, a protest against these goals. Not all of the Palestinian prisoners have joined it. In prison, as outside of it, Palestinian political and social cohesion has declined, and many of the inmates lack the cultural and social awareness of their predecessors. Nevertheless, the hunger strike underlines the fundamentally political nature of the collective of Palestinians incarcerated in Israel.
Thursday May 10, 2012 by Regina Qumsieh
The Palestinian News Network reported today that Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, stated through his spokesman, Martin Nesirky, that the Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike and who are held under administrative detention without trial should 'be charged with legal guarantees or released'.
He noted 'the importance of avoiding deterioration of their health' and 'urgently requests all concerned to find a solution without delay.'
Nesirky concluded that Ban Ki-moon supports Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, who is ‘strongly engaged in this case'.
One third of the 4,700 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike, including 310 prisoners who are in administrative detention and 7 who have been on hunger strike for more than a month and a half, according to the Israeli prison administration, official Palestinian sources and humanitarian organizations.
In related news, on Wednesday dozens of Palestinians prevented UN staff from entering their offices in Ramallah, demanding that Ban intervene in the cases of Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike. The protesters carried placards denouncing the UN and calling for solidarity with Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike in Israeli jails.
from Mary Ratcliffe of SF Bay View:
"Let the strong support Palestinians are giving their prisoners inspire us to do much more to support our prisoners here in the U.S., the world's leading prison nation. Many of the Palestinian prisoners' demands are identical with those of the 12,000 California prisoners who participated in last year's hunger strikes at their peak."
That's my Facebook message to encourage folks to sign the petition you'll find at:
In the section below concerning the petition, it's said that "over 2,000 Palestinian prisoners have begun one of the largest hunger strikes of all time."
Yet we know that six times as many prisoners struck in California.
"Just yesterday, 1,000 residents of Dheisheh Refugee Camp, where I'm honored to have worked for many years, rallied in solidarity with the strikers. And in Ramallah, student activists staged a sit-in that shut down the United Nations building. Leaders of Palestinian nonviolent popular resistance and their Israeli allies are now calling for international solidarity demonstrations. And groups like Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, and the International Red Cross are weighing in." quote from Lori Rudolph, Fulbright Scholar at Bethlehem and Al Quds University
Sign the petition now and show your support before it is too late for these brave activists.