AFOPA Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners

12 May 2017

 17 April 2017: Palestinian prisoners launch the largest collective hunger strike in years. [Photo: The Palestine Project]

17 April 2017: Palestinian prisoners launch the largest collective hunger strike in years. [Photo: The Palestine Project]

Over the last five decades approximately 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel; some 6,300 are currently behind bars, including 300 children. Most are imprisoned for resisting Israel's illegal military occupation of Palestine, an action which they are guaranteed a right to do under international law.

More than 1,000 of these 6,300 political prisoners held by Israel are now refusing food in protest against the degrading treatment they receive in prison and the treatment their families receive when they attempt to visit.  Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouthi, himself in prison since 2002, initiated this collective hunger strike on Palestinian Prisoners' Day, April 17. It has been called under the banner of Freedom and Dignity. A hunger strike is not only the most peaceful form of resistance it is also the action of last resort by prisoners desperate for their human rights after having no success dealing with an intransigent Israeli Prison Service.

The Palestinian prisoners are calling for an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention (imprisoned without charge or trial for an indefinite period); fortnightly family visits without cancellation or interference; appropriate medical care including an end to the medical neglect of prisoners; and requests for access to education and the humane transport of prisoners. For a full list of the prisoners' demands, click here.

Israel hopes to break the prisoners’ spirits. It has locked up the leaders in solitary confinement, denied striking inmates access to lawyers, taken away communications, confiscated salt rations (the only sustenance, along with water, that the prisoners were taking), threatened to introduce force-feeding and even denied the prisoners access to cool water. They will not succeed.

As Marwan Barghouthi has said,

‘our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.’

The Australian Friends of Palestine Association supports the Palestinian prisoners and their demands. We stand in solidarity with the prisoners, their families and all Palestinians who have had to endure Israeli detention. We will inform as many people as we can about the hunger strikers and the conditions in Israeli jails and encourage people to tell others and join in the world wide support of the Palestinian hunger strikers. 


Further resources

STATEMENTS from Palestinian organisations and parties.

STATEMENTS from international organisations.

 Latest statistics on Palestinian prisoners, via Addameer >>

Latest statistics on Palestinian prisoners, via Addameer >>

 Follow the progress of the #DignityStrike via the Samidoun Network >>

Follow the progress of the #DignityStrike via the Samidoun Network >>