Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, Israeli forces have arrested more than 800,000 Palestinians, constituting almost 20 per cent of the total Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Israeli military system has often cited its justice system to shield its behaviour. However, more and more organizations have been sounding the alarm that the system was never just. Palestinians are tried by miliary courts, were the burden of proof is reversed, and 437 people are currently held without trial, as administrative detainees. Israel has been found to be bound by international law to ensure the rights of Palestinian prisoners to a fair trial but has failed consistently in this duty.
On Palestinian Prisoners Day, April 17 2018, Hanan Ashrawi was quoted as saying:
“Israel continues to violate the rights of Palestinian political prisoners, including the arbitrary arrests of Palestinians, its continued use of administration detention and solidarity confinement, the ill-treatment, abuse and torture of Palestinian men, women, children, and the elderly, the transfer of detainees from occupied Palestine to Israel, the deliberate medical neglect and lack of health care for Palestinians, and the constant prevention of visitations by family members, among other flagrant violations.”
Hanan Ashrawi did communicate that the PLO is submitting evidence of “Israel’s gross violations and illegal behavior” to international organizations for investigation.
Here are some groups which work with prisoners and tools to learn more:
1) ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. They compile research about the plight of Palestinian prisoners and publish alerts about individual prisoners. Learn about their work and support them.
2) Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is an international network of organizers and activists working to build solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom. Samidoun developed out of the September-October 2011 hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, seeing a need for a dedicated network to support Palestinian prisoners.
Hanan Ashrawi also called for letters demanding the release of imprisoned parliamentarians Marwan Barghouti, Khalida Jarrar, and Ahmad Sa'adat. Marwan Barghouti led one of the largest prisoner hunger strikes last year and is leading a prisoner hunger strike again this year. BDS is calling for the continued boycott of Hewlitt Packard and G4S security.
To continue to build awareness, there are recent award winning documentaries worth screening in your communities about this issue: Radiance of Resitance about the Tamami family, Istiyad Ashbah or Ghost Hunting, and the film which won the Jury prize at HotDocs some years ago The Law in these Parts.
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