Valiant resistance of Palestinian prisoners condemned to indefinite detention

ON APRIL 17, on Palestine Prisoners Day and at the very moment the Israeli Zionist occupation regime in the West Bank released the Palestinian administrative detainee and hunger striker Khader Adnan (as agreed back in February), hundreds of other Palestinians held by the occupier in administrative detention launched an open-ended mass hunger strike. NATHAN J. FREEMAN in TML Daily reports that this mass action is aimed against the Israeli occupier, against its fascist policy of administrative detention and against the collaboration of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) in handing “wanted persons” in the West Bank over to the occupier.

Palestinians display pictures of jailed relatives during a gathering marking Palestine Prisoners’ Day near the Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem, April 17, 2012. (ActiveStills)

April 17 – Palestine Prisoners’ Day

Adnan’s release had been one of the conditions of his agreeing to suspend his hunger strike back in February. His 66-day strike against the Israeli Zionist occupier marks an important victory for the forces of the Palestinian resistance on the ground in the belly of the beast, i.e., the prisons, of the occupier. It equalled in length the record set (and until now held) by the Irish national martyr Bobby Sands who died in The Maze prison at Long Kesh back in 1981.

Palestinian national soccer team member Mahmoud Sarsak – on 87th day of hunger strike as of 10 June 2012

The broader target of this latest development is the Zionist occupier’s entire system of administrative detention without charge or trial. This is a key weapon of their power to dictate daily life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This system would not last another minute without the collaboration of the PA under the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Salem Fayyad.

By obstructing efforts to restore presidential and Palestinian legislative elections since Abbas’ term ended more than two years ago, Abbas has become unofficial president-for-life for the Zionists and their backers from the camp of U.S. imperialism, including Canada.[1]

Palestinians display pictures of jailed relatives during a gathering marking Palestine Prisoners’ Day near the Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem, April 17, 2012. (ActiveStills)

So long as any Palestinian land remains occupied by the Zionists, the Palestinian Prisoners Movement, with the rest of the organized forces of Palestinian resistance, stands shoulder to shoulder for the non-recognition of the State of Israel. They uphold the right of return for the 750,000 Palestinians refugeed by the original Zionist seizure of power in Palestine back in 1947-48 and their nearly six million descendants alive today. Also in line with other organized forces of Palestinian resistance, they consider the collaboration of the PA regime of Abbas and Co. with the Zionist occupier a major target.

With the date of Adnan’s release tentatively secured, the prisoners’ movement set April 17 as the starting date for a general open-ended hunger strike by all Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli-controlled jails.

The re-energizing of the prisoners’ movement as the spearhead of national resistance at this time emerged out of the aftermath of the price successfully imposed on the occupier late last year by the organized forces of resistance in the prisoner swap for Zionist soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit was returned in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in the occupier’s jails.[2]

Within weeks, however, the Zionists were re-arresting those who had just been released and placing them in administrative detention indefinitely, without charge. As a consequence, support for the call for a general hunger strike grew very large very fast.

Another outrage was perpetrated by the Zionists even as they released Hana’a Shelabi, a Palestinian woman who had gone on hunger strike after being re-jailed following release as part of the Shalit prisoner swap. The Zionist occupier deported her from the West Bank, where her family lives, to the Gaza Strip. The cup was now full and the time has come to challenge this entire rotten apparatus with organized mass hunger strikes by the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in the occupier’s jails.

Martyrs of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement, 1967-2007 (palestineposterproject.org)

This struggle has simultaneously challenged both the administrative detention regime – the principal instrument of the occupier’s “authority” over every Palestinian in the West Bank – and the collaboration in maintaining this yoke that has been developed over the last 21 years of the so-called Oslo Accords between the occupier and the Palestinian Authority.

Be they in the Occupied Territories, inside the State of Israel, in refugee camps across the Middle East or living outside the Middle East, a large majority of Palestinians see the Israeli Zionist occupier, both strategically and in daily life, as a genocidaire, and not just some temporary “racist” presence. Without taking on and destroying that collaboration in practice, Palestinian rights cannot be defended. This is why Palestinians generally reject de facto recognition and/or acceptance of the existence and rights of their occupier, the State of Israel, as a surrender to the vile claim of the so-called “Jewish state” to a “right” to steal and exist on territory that has been Palestinian land for four millennia.

In common with the late Yasser Arafat – founder and leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization – many Palestinians believe that there is ultimately only one way to be finally rid of the Israeli Zionist occupier and its U.S. imperialist armourers and paymasters once and for all. That is the road of national liberation struggle, the road on which the Palestinians’ victory is the deed of the Palestinian people themselves. This struggle will not rest until the occupier surrenders or flees and the Palestinian nation-building project is re-launched on Palestinian territory.

In the view of the Zionists, the Obama Administration and the Harper dictatorship, the advances being scored by the Palestinians’ own movement, re-energized by the prisoners’ movement, are utterly unconscionable. Meanwhile, all Canadians who value peace and freedom retain the fullest confidence in the ultimate victory of the Palestinian people. They salute the recent victories scored on the road of destroying the Zionist regime of administrative detention. Such a struggle is crucial to develop further here against the plans of the Harper dictatorship for derailing and liquidating the progressive cause of the Canadian working class and people for an anti-war government.

Endnotes

1.  Much to the shock and outrage of the entire U.S. imperialist camp, the Hamas-supported Change and Reform slate defeated Abbas’ “Fatah” faction in Palestine’s last elections in January 2006. In revenge, the Zionists unleashed their complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, which continues to this day. Canada’s initial response was for the just-elected Harper dictatorship – then a minority government – to slash its then-$10 million-a-year aid package for the PA to zero. This distinguished it as the first and only country in the world to respond so drastically at that time. It effectively affirmed its role as the single most fanatical defender beyond the territory of the State of Israel of the Zionists’ genocidal aims regarding the Palestinians. Among the combined Liberal and NDP parliamentary opposition of the day – a combination which potentially could have unseated the Harper gang at that time and forced new elections in this country – the attitude taken towards this development was to go along with it. After two terms in office as a minority government and elections to a majority last year, the Harper dictatorship now pours more than $70 million a year into the coffers of the PA. This mostly finances the creation and ongoing training, under the direction of a Pentagon general holding at least a three-star rank, of a 2,000-member Presidential (body) Guard for Abbas. Quite tellingly, not a penny of this “aid” is directed to assist the PA to ensure that the diesel-powered electric power station in Gaza, and hence its hospital, sewage and other life-sustaining services, can function continuously without the life-threatening blackouts that have become the new normal under the Zionists’ crippling siege.

2.  Shalit had been held and kept alive for six years by the popular resistance committees network in the Gaza Strip, including throughout the Zionists’ three-week-long “Operation Cast Lead” bombing slaughter of more than 1,400 people in the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the mass prisoner exchange secured for the release of Gilad Shalit, there remain a total of more than 3,300 Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Related Reading

The war on Palestinian soccer: Free Mahmoud Sarsak, amateursport.wordpress.com

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