Palestine: Prisoners Will Have To Extend The Hunger Strike
Layla al-Issawi holds a placard depicting her son Samer, who has been on hunger strike for 209 days while being held in an Israeli prison, at her home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya February 17, 2013. The European Union on Saturday called on Israel to improve conditions for Palestinians in its jails, and a Palestinian minister said there would be rallies next week to support hunger-striking prisoners. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails, many charged with involvement in attacks on Israelis. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
One of the leaders of the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Samer al Issawi, who made a 9-month long hunger strike, from 2012 and 2013, forcing his captors to comply with his demands and free him, even though he was detained again six months later and sentenced to 20 years of jail.
I bring here the words of Samer’s mother, who stated: “I visited my son at the beginning of the hunger strike. The doctors who treated him after his last hunger strike almost two years ago told him that his life might be in danger if he takes part in another hunger strike due to the irreversible damage the first one caused to his organs. My son, after listening to me, said: ‘Mother, you believe in God and in his will. God gives us life and takes it away from us. God is one and death is one as well. Trust Him, I am going to join the strike along my comrades. I want your blessing and forgiveness for causing so much pain to you’.
Samer ended his conversation with a smile saying “this is how we’ll rest from the cockroaches and mice that come to us during the strike because there is no food for them”. With my blessings I said goodbye. He made the goodbye sign that all prisoners give to their families. That’s how my last visit to Samer ended.”
I also bring the communiqué by Mrs. Velitsia Langer, Honorable President of the European Alliance in Solidarity with the Prisoners of Palestine:
“Save the life of Palestinian Prisoners,
I call upon the international community and humanity in order to save the lives of the Palestinian prisoners that are sustaining a hunger strike from over 16 days or more. More than 1500 prisoners are living with salt and water.
Their demands are fair and contemplated in International Conventions and Laws.
Our demands are:
- For jailers to stop torturing and imposing collective punishments;
- Stop administrative detentions;
- Allow prisoners to have contact with lawyers;
- Allow family visits more frequently;
- Fulfill right to make phone calls;
- Fulfill the right to education and proper healthcare.
I call the German government and the European Parliament to exert pressure and demand the Israeli government so that they respect International Law and the Geneva Convention.
I call them not to remain in silence, to express themselves against this repression. Your silence makes you accomplices and perpetrators of these crimes”.
Honorable President of the European Alliance in Solidarity with the Prisoners of Palestine.”
Due to tortures and the lack of medical care, 210 Palestinian prisoners have died since 1967. Israel’s Interior Minister stated that he does not mind the death of Palestinians due to hunger strikes and he does not accept International Law. Do we have nothing to say to this far-right man?
The Hunger Strike for Dignity and Freedom of the Palestinian prisoners has united and strengthened the resistance. Their fight is the continuation of the struggle for Palestine’s liberation.
The maneuvers to break the strike are known, and they range from aggression to seduction: attacks, prison transfers, fines, depriving them from their salted water, or giving them particular visit permits, or some an isolated meeting with a lawyer.
Strikers remain united and demonstrations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza take place uninterruptedly, and many families have camped out on the streets and begun a parallel hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners. Likewise, all around the world mobilizations in solidarity are being held.
We should ask ourselves if the US and Israel will attempt any maneuver to get out of this problem—like going back to the “peace talks” to grant some rights to prisoners, trying to freeze the mobilizations at the hard core of the struggle against neocolonialism, and buying some time to make attacks on Syria and Iran easier.
No matter what path the enemies of Human rights and Palestinian Liberation choose, the unity of prisoners will count with International Solidarity. Palestine is not alone, nor is Mrs. Layla.