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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Palestine | International
Victory in 40 Days Due to International and Community Support
"While further information about the agreement has not yet been released, news indicates that further achievements of the strike also center on the issue of family visits, including access to more relatives including grandparents and grandchildren; improved communication, especially between imprisoned children and women and their families, and the installation of public telephones; easing security prohibitions and the frequent bans on family visit imposed by the Israeli prison administration.
Al-Mayadeen TV reported further aspects of the agreement:
• periodic entry of private external physicians to examine ill prisoners
• allowing visits from family members of the “second class,” including grandparents and grandchildren
• increasing the amount prisoners may have in their canteen (prison store, where nearly all necessities of life must be purchased from and Israeli corporation) accounts
• adding 3 satellite channels to the prisoners’ TV access
• transferring the Ramla prison hospital to the old section which includes several rooms and a recreation area
• installation of a public telephone for women prisoners, child prisoners and ill prisoners to communicate on a daily basis with their family members
• family visits to be increased to 60 minutes from 45 minutes
• photographs with parents once annually
• increasing the quantities of meat, vegetables and fruits for prisoners
• allowing the introduction of clothing such as trousers and bags
• providing each prisoner with 1 liter olive oil, 1 kilo coffee, 1/2 kilo baklava and 1/2 kilo za’atar."
"Throughout the strike, the prisoners faced harsh repression. They were denied legal visits, family visits, beset by repressive raids, their belongings confiscated – even the salt that they relied on with water to preserve their life and health. Through it all, their steadfastness was an example of commitment and dedication to carry through their struggle. They were not alone in their steadfastness. The mothers and the families of the prisoners filled the tents of solidarity and support in every city, town, village and refugee camp in Palestine. Many prisoners’ mothers launched their own hunger strikes; they struggled, suffered, resisted and led alongside their children. Martyrs fell on the streets of Palestine as they protested and struggled for the liberation of their beloved prisoners at the hands of the occupation forces."
"Fundamentally, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is and remains a voice and a power of resistance that continues to confront the occupier on a daily basis. This strike was not only about family visits, medical care and basic human rights; fundamentally, it was an assertion of Palestinian resistance, rejection of the occupier, and power to struggle, not only for specific demands, but for freedom, return and liberation."
"Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes all of the Palestinian community organizers, international political parties, global labor organizations, Palestine solidarity movements, women’s organizations, and strugglers for justice who organized hundreds of events in cities in every continent of the world, demonstrating again and again, developing creative protest mechanisms, taking the #SaltWaterChallenge, organizing one-day hunger strikes and building strength to support the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle. Historically the Palestinian prisoners have always emphasized the importance of international solidarity and support for their struggle for liberation. Every one of these groups and individuals who have taken action around the world has a part in this collective struggle and collective victory."
"Through their struggle, the Palestinian prisoners have escalated and developed growing support for the Palestinian struggle – in the labor movement, where major union confederations in Canada and Uruguay joined social movements in Brazil issuing resolutions in support of the strike, and even among parliamentarians, as the Portuguese parliament, the Pan-African Parliament, many Members of European Parliament, Argentine and Chilean parliamentarians, Galician and Andalucian parliamentarians, and even Canadian NDP leadership candidate Niki Ashton and US Congressperson Danny Davis – supported the prisoners."
"Perhaps most movingly, the power of internationalist solidarity between liberation struggles was vividly illustrated in the solidarity of Irish Republican, Filipino and Turkish and Kurdish political prisoners and the hunger strike of Arab Communist struggler for Palestine, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, along with Basque and Arab comrades, in French prison in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ strike, as well as the solidarity expressed from U.S. prisons. Palestinian prisoners celebrated the news of Puerto Rican struggler Oscar Lopez Rivera’s release from U.S. colonial prisons and rejoiced in the scene of his homecoming alongside former Palestinian prisoner and community leader Rasmea Odeh."
"The Palestinian prisoners’ movement and their struggle also further empowered and inspired campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions – from the establishment of HP-free zones in labor unions and community institutions to the inspiration of local boycott campaigns and initiatives, focusing on G4S, HP, academic and cultural boycott and the full boycott adopted by the LO labor union in Norway. The power and clarity of the prisoners’ resistance must encourage all of us to center the demands and struggle of the prisoners in building the global campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions."
"On this occasion of the prisoners’ victory, we know that there is a long struggle to come, for liberation for the prisoners and liberation for Palestine. We urge all of the Palestinian communities, supporters of Palestine and social justice organizers who took to the streets, drank salt water, engaged in hunger strikes, expressed their solidarity and organized across borders and walls to celebrate the victory of the prisoners with events and actions on 4-6 June, in Celebrations of Dignity and Victory."
"In these celebrations, we will recognize the power of the Palestinian people to defeat the occupier and the colonizer, honor the prisoners and their steadfastness, and emphasize the ongoing struggle. These celebrations are an occasion to escalate our demands for Palestinian freedom – for the liberation of Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the entire land of Palestine."
New details have been released regarding the agreement under which Palestinian detainees suspended the 40-day hunger strike on Saturday morning, 27th of May, providing elaboration on the specific issues addressed in the detainees’ negotiations with the Israeli occupation prison administration.
Issa Qaraqe, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission spoke in a press conference on Sunday, 28th of May in which he declared that “80 percent of the demands” of the detainees were achieved in the strike, calling it “an important achievement to build on in the future on the basis of the protection of the prisoners’ rights and dignity.”
According to the PNN, Qaraqe reported on the major items agreed upon by the strikers with the Israeli prison administration, as noted by Palestinian lawyer Karim Ajwa, who met on Sunday morning with one of the strike leaders, Palestinian prisoner Nasser Abu Hmeid.
The points are as follows:
1. Expanding access to public telephones in order to communicate with family members, in accordance with agreed-upon mechanisms, with continuation of dialogue on this issue as a priority for prisoners in all prisons.
2. Agreement was reached on a range of issues relating to family visits; first, lifting the security ban on hundreds of family members of Palestinian prisoners, ending the practice of returning visitors holding permits and refusing their visits at checkpoints, and lifting an unjustified ban imposed on more than 140 children who had been banned by the prison administration from visiting their parents.
3. Giving an initial commitment to shorten the time between visits for Palestinian prisoners from Gaza, for a period of up to one month instead of two months or more between visits.
4. Agreement was also reached on a number of issues related to the conditions of family visitation, including allowing the introduction of clothing and bags, and allowing prisoners to provide and share sweets with children and others.
5. Introducing new standards for visitation for relatives of the “second degree,” such as allowing the introduction of nephews and nieces during nursery school age and providing that prisoners whose fathers and mothers have died may add one or two additional more distant family members to their visitation list.
6. Providing formal approval for the return of the second monthly family visit according to the mechanism agreed upon between the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestinian Authority.
7. Reaching an agreement on the Ramle prison clinic, to return the ill prisoners to the larger “old” section of the prison, which has been renovated.
8. Agreement was reached on issues related to the conditions of women prisoners, including the inclusion of all prisoners in HaSharon prison, adjustments to the visitation process with family members, husbands and children, the introduction of handicraft materials, improvement of conditions of confinement, and establishment of a special transportation system, rather than the “Bosta,” for transfer to and from the courts.
9. On the issue of child prisoners, a number of issues were agreed upon to improve their conditions of confinement, access to education and related issues.
10. Agreement was reached on most issues related to the difficult conditions of life in Nafha prison.
11. On the issue of the sick prisoner patients held in the Ramle prison clinic, as noted above, to return the prisoners to the re-opened section with improved humanitarian conditions, as well as introducing a new system for the movement of these prisoners with private transportation, directly to and from the courts, rather than transiting through lengthy crossing points on the “Bosta.”
12. Distributing meals to prisoners in transit in the “Bosta” during transfers and allowing them access to use the toilet during this time.
13. Approving the establishment in every prison department of Palestinian “security prisoners” of a kitchen area for the preparation of food and the introduction of cooking equipment, rather than being in the same rooms with the prisoners.
14. Allowing photographs with parents once annually, or with a prisoner’s spouse. In the event of the prisoner’s father or mother’s death, the photograph could be taken with a brother or sister.
15. Introducing improvements to the “canteen” (prison store), with higher-quality goods available, including fruits and vegetables, molokhiyeh and spices.
16. Introducing modern sports and recreation equipment in the recreation yards.
17. Solving the problem of overcrowding in the prison sections and resolving the problem of high temperatures through a system of ventilation and cooling.
18. Adding an ambulance to be equipped for use to transfer prisoners in urgent health emergencies, to be stationed at the Negev, Ramon and Nafha prisons, due to the fact that these prisons are far from hospitals.
19. Transferring prisoners to prisons closer to their families’ places of residence.
In addition to these points, there will be a mechanism for further negotiations on additional issues. The prisoners’ committee will include Karim Younis, Nasser Abu Hmeid, Hafez Sharaya, Nasser Oweis, Ammar Merhi, and Ahmed Barghouthi. All detainees who have been transferred since the beginning of the strike are to be returned to their original locations and the sanctions imposed on hunger-striking detainees lifted.
It should be noted that the imprisonment of Palestinians from the West Bank within Palestine ’48 is entirely illegitimate under the Fourth Geneva Convention.