From Georgia in the USA to Occupied Palestine, prisoners are utilizing hunger strikes to call attention to their situations and to demand change. In occupied Palestine, hunger strikes successful forced Israel into a negotiated agreement in mid-May. As early as a week later, the Israeli government violated the agreement. In response, Palestinian political prisoners are once again on hunger strike and their lives are at risk. We are inspired by the courage and leadership of these prisoners. The alert includes concrete actions you can take in support of their demands.
Please join us in responding to the following Action Alert from Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.
Samer al-Barq has now been on hunger strike for 105 days, in addition to 30 days prior on hunger strike with the mass prisoners’ hunger strike in April-May 2012, and is now the longest serving hunger striker anywhere in the world, having taken over this title from fellow Palestinian prisoner Akram Rikhawi.
He is joined on hunger strike by Hassan Safadi, who has now been on hunger strike for 75 days, on top of a 71-day long-term hunger strike including the April-May 2012 period, and Ayman Sharawna, who has now been refusing food for 65 days. All three are suffering from serious medical conditions, including major kidney problems, unconsciousness, and suppressed immune systems, as confirmed by Addameer, Physicians for Human Rights and al-Haq. Take action today to call for their immediate release and save the lives of Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna!
All three men are protesting the Israeli violations of the May 14 agreement (and prior agreements) between the prisoners’ movement and the Israel Prison Services. One of the provisions of that agreement was that current prisoners held under administrative detention would not have their detention renewed, and that long-term hunger strikers like Safadi’s detention would particularly not be renewed. However, on May 21 – only one week after the agreement – al-Barq‘s administrative detention order was renewed and he relaunched his hunger strike. He was joined by Safadi on June 21, when his own administrative detention order was renewed.
Ayman Sharawna, on the other hand, was released in October 2011 as part of the large prisoner exchange agreement. However, he was re-arrested shortly thereafter, in January 2012, and has been held without charge since that time. He launched his own hunger strike on July 1, the six month anniversary of his arrest.
Urgent action is needed to protect the lives of these Palestinian prisoners. They have been held together in an isolation cell that is 1.8 meters by 1.5 meters and no room for a wheelchair, and are currently shackled hand and foot to their hospital beds, even as their doctors report severe health threats to their lives. It is urgent that we act now to free Samer, Hassan and Ayman and secure them much-needed health care.
The Israeli Prison Services have continued to violate the May 14 agreement in numerous ways – Dirar Abu Sisi remains in solitary confinement and another prisoner was recently moved to isolation. Although family visits to Gaza prisoners have now been announced, they will be “experimental,” apply only to a small portion of the 479 prisoners and will exclude prisoners’ children from visits. Ofer prison is once again escalating repression against Palestinian prisoners.
Woroud Qasem recently returned home from prison and spoke for the first time in public. It is urgent that we act now for all Palestinian prisoners to return to their families and homes! Palestinians are organizing a week of action in Gaza to demand freedom for these men – and all of the Palestinian prisoners held in the jails of the occupation for their resistance to apartheid, occupation and oppression and their commitment to free their land and people. International solidarity and action is needed to hold the occupation accountable for its ongoing imprisonment and abuse of the people of Palestine.
1. Sign a letter demanding the Israeli state transfer Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna immediately to hospitals and release them. Tell the Israeli Prison Services that the world is watching! Click here to sign.
2. Sign a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross and demand it uphold its responsibilities to Palestinian prisoners and act to save the lives of Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna. Click here to sign.
3. Join a protest or demonstration outside an Israeli consulate for Palestinian prisoners. Many groups and organizations are holding events – join one or announce your own. Organizing an event, action or forum on Palestinian prisoners on your city or campus? Use this form to contact us and we will post the event widely. If you need suggestions, materials or speakers for your event, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Contact your government officials and demand an end to international silence and complicity with the repression of Palestinian political prisoners. In Canada, Call the office of John Baird, Foreign Minister, and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel and justice for Palestinian prisoners, at: 613-990-7720; Email: email@example.com. In the US, call the office of Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209). Demand that Elizabeth Jones bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel.
5. Join in the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Boycott Israeli products, and academic and cultural institutions until all Palestinian rights (including the right of refugees to return, to be free from occupation and for full equality) are fulfilled – including freeing the thousands of Palestinian prisoners behind bars.
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International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network