Leader of Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike Releases Statement of Victory

May 31, 2017 10:42 AM

In the first statement of the ‘Freedom and Dignity’ hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouthi after the victory of the strike, the strike leader praised the 1500 participants in the hunger strike for their steadfastness and sacrifice, and the many supporters around the world. He also criticized the Israeli government for their ongoing military occupation, and described the many ways that the Israeli government attempted to break the will of the hunger strikers through repression and brutality during the 42 days of the hunger strike.

Below is Marwan Barghouthi’s statement in full:

In the name of God, the merciful
To our great people, the people of struggle and sacrifice
To our people of revolution and intifada
To the children of the Arab and Islamic nations
To the free people of the world

Friends and lovers of peace and justice everywhere…The Palestinian prisoners in the prisons and dungeons of the Zionist enemy have been engaged in an open hunger strike from 17 April until the evening of 28 May. The prisoners in this national strike have marked the longest collective strike, a historic epic in the prisoners’ movement’s record over 50 years.

Despite the brutal repression and indiscriminate terror used by the Israeli Gestapo-style administration in the face of the strike, in which all strikers were transferred from their prisons in an unprecedented action, hundreds of them were held in solitary confinement and special repressive units (Matsada, Dror and Yamaz) were used in round-the-clock raids and inspections throughout the 42 days of the strike. They resorted to the transfer of striking prisoners in harsh and brutal conditions in an attempt to impact or undermine their will, confiscating all personal belongings, including underwear. The prisoners were deprived of all sanitary and hygiene materials, turning their lives into hell and releasing shameful rumors and lies. Yet, the record of the prisoners has been one of unprecedented steadfastness in the record of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and the Israeli repression failed to break their will. From this historical and heroic scene, I stand on record, and with great pride, saluting this great steadfastness of the hunger strikers. And I salute with great reverence the martyrs, their families, and all those who rose up, were wounded and detained in this battle of freedom and dignity for Palestine.

I would also like to pay tribute to our great people of our pure Palestine, from the river to the sea, and in exile and diaspora. I thank them for their great support and unbridled efforts for the cause of the prisoners and their strike, which has returned the Palestinian cause to the forefront of the international political landscape. At the same time, I salute the Arab, Islamic and friendly peoples of the world for the level of solidarity and participation with which they supported us.

And salutes to all of those who participated in local and international media campaigns, as well as the Bar Association, the Doctors’ Syndicate, the Ministry of Education, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, and the Prisoners’ and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, emphasizing that the battle of freedom and dignity for Palestine is an integral part of the struggle for freedom, independence, return and the overthrow of the apartheid system in Palestine and the end of the occupation.

Our great people, despite the fact that the government of terror that leads the apartheid regime of Israel launched an attack on the hunger strike in a failed and desperate attempt to hide its crimes, this did not intimidate the prisoners nor break their iron will. It did not dissuade them from fighting this battle with determination and conviction, and carrying out an epic heroic saga. They have been able to extract a number of just and humanitarian achievements, the first of which is to restore the second monthly visit to the families of the prisoners, which was stopped almost one year ago, as well as addressing problems ongoing for years related to the conditions of daily life, including the conditions of women prisoners, child prisoners, ill prisoners, the “bosta” and transfer processing, the “canteen” (prison store) system, the introduction of clothing, as well as the formation of a committee of senior officials of the Prison Service for continued dialogue with the prisoners’ representatives in the forthcoming few days to discuss all issues without exception.

In light of this and with the coming of the holy month of Ramadan, we have decided to suspend the strike to give the opportunity to carry out these discussions with the Prison Service, emphasizing our strong readiness to resume the strike if the Prison Service does not fulfill its commitments made to the prisoners.

On this occasion, I extend my warmest congratulations to the heroic prisoners for their steadfastness and achievements of humanity and justice, with a special tribute to the prisoners of Nafha prison, who played a leading role in the success of this strike and the achievement of this great victory. I also pay tribute to the prisoners who went on strike in the prisons of the Negev, Ofer, Ramle prison clinic, Ashkelon, Gilboa, Megiddo, Ramon, and the children and women prisoners, and, finally, in Hadarim prison, and to everyone who participated in all of the detention centers and prisons, I hold their hands and kiss their high foreheads.

And with the renewal of their covenant and participation in this national strike, the longest and fiercest in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement’s history, there is a turning point in the relationship between the prisoners and the mechanisms of the prison administration. From now on and after today, we will not allow any infringement upon the achievements and the rights of the prisoners. In addition, this battle is also a force to rebuild and unify the prisoners’ movement in its various components, as a prelude to the formation of a unified national leadership in the coming few months. This is in preparation for the battle to extract the recognition of the prisoners in the dungeons of the Israeli occupation as prisoners of war and prisoners of freedom and the full application of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.

To our great people, as I renew the tribute to the martyrs of the battle of freedom and dignity, I call upon the Palestinian president Abu Mazen, the PLO leadership and the national and Islamic factions to carry out their national duty to the prisoners by working to liberate them and gain their freedom. Again, I warn against any resumption of negotiations before requiring a comprehensive release of all prisoners and detainees. I express my special thanks to all institutions and bodies related to the prisoners, especially the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, headed by the struggling brother Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society and the struggling brother Qaddoura Fares, and the Higher Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs, the popular and international campaign for the release of all Palestinian prisoners, led by the struggling lawyer Mrs. Fadwa Barghouthi.

Glory to the righteous martyrs
Freedom to the prisoners of freedom
Long live the Palestinian battle of freedom and dignity

Your brother, Marwan Barghouthi (Abu al-Qassam)
Hadarim Prison
Cell No. 28

 

Israeli Occupation Policies Key Cause of Palestinian Hardship: UN

May 31, 2017

Israeli occupation soldiers

The United Nations said on Wednesday that Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza are at the root of Palestinian hardship.

“Occupation policies and practices remain the key cause of humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report.

West Bank and Gaza residents suffer from a lack of basic security, it said, adding that the split between Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas’s West Bank-based administration and the rival resistance movement Hamas in Gaza also restricts humanitarian work.

“At its heart, the crisis is one of a lack of protection for Palestinian civilians — from violence, from displacement, from restrictions on access to services and livelihoods, and from other rights violations.”

Zionist entity occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Six-Day War..

OCHA’s 15-page Humanitarian Overview for 2016 notes a sharp fall in bloodshed over the year compared to 2015.

“Palestinian fatalities from conflict-related violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel declined by 37 percent compared with 2015,” it said.

“The decline in Israeli fatalities was 48 percent.”

Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, had peaked, it said.

“In the West Bank, more Palestinians were displaced in 2016 (1,601, including 759 children) due to demolitions of their homes by the Israeli authorities than in any year since OCHA began recording the phenomenon in 2009,” it said.

In the Gaza Strip, where unemployment is among the highest in the world, a strict Israeli blockade has been in force for over a decade.

“Israeli restrictions on the entry of national staff of aid organizations to and from Gaza intensified in 2016, with 31 percent of permit applications to enter or exit Gaza denied,” OCHA said.

Source: AFP

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‘Israel’ Submits to Deal with Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

The hunger striking Palestinian detainees in various Israeli prisons have suspended their hunger strike, on Saturday at dawn, after a 20-hour session of talks, led by imprisoned legislator Marwan Barghouthi, and other senior political prisoners, with the Israeli Prison Authority. More

Palestinian prisoners

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 ‘Israel’ Submits to Deal with Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

 27-05-2017 | 09:18

Zionist authorities finally submitted to a deal with the Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike in ‘Israeli’ occupation prisons over the past 40 days.

 

‘Israel' Submits to Deal with Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike


Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, confirmed the deal on Saturday.

Other informed sources also said that the hunger strikers had halted their protest action following the agreement.

Since April 17, more than 1,600 Palestinian prisoners had been refusing food in a protest action, dubbed the Freedom and Dignity Strike. The strike was led by Marwan Barghouti, a jailed leader of the Palestinian Fatah movement.

The hunger strikers were demanding appropriate medical care and treatment in Zionist occupation prisons, as well as an end to solitary confinement and the so-called administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge.

There had lately been rising concerns about the health conditions of the Palestinian inmates; some of them had been taken to hospital with deteriorating health.

Not all of the details of the Saturday deal were immediately clear. Zionist media said that, under the agreement, Palestinian prisoners would be allowed two monthly family visits instead of one.

On Friday, Palestinian demonstrators turned out on the streets in the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip to express their solidarity with the hunger strikers.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in the enemy’s jails, 536 of them arbitrarily, according to figures provided by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer in January.

Palestinian inmates complain that they have been subjected to assault and torture at ‘Israeli’ prisons.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

 

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Palestinian Nakba Day ~ Over 700,000 forced to leave Palestine in 1948: nowadays the Zionist colony seals off all the Palestinians, a people of captives in their own home

People across the world are commemorating the Nakba Day which marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israelis in 1948.

The Day of Catastrophe is officially marked every year on May 15, but the occasion this year coincides with a hunger strike being observed by more than 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war. Today, more than 7 million Palestinian refugees are living in exile, while 1.8 million Palestinians are living in the world’s largest open-air prison in the Gaza Strip.

Ahead of the anniversary, the besieged Gaza Strip and several parts of the world witnessed protests against the Israeli oppression and occupation which has continued for decades.

Hani Islayim, a senior Hamas leader, said the march aimed at telling “hypocrites” that “we are staying in Palestine” to end the Israeli occupation.

“On the 69th anniversary, we say that the land is ours, al-Quds (Jerusalem) is ours and Palestine is ours,” he said.

“If some people have forgotten our cause, we say that we haven’t forgotten and the occupation will be forced out of our land soon, God willing, and Palestine will stay Islamic and Arab,” Islayim added.

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti urged Palestinians to carry out acts of “civil disobedience” to commemorate the Nakba Day. He also appealed to Fatah and Hamas to enter into a national reconciliation agreement.

Elsewhere across the world, people rallied in Berlin in remembrance of the Nakba Day. Protesters also gathered outside the Israeli consulate in the Canadian city of Toronto in support of the hunger-striking Palestinians in Israeli jails.

‘Israel, UK must apologize for Nakba’

On Sunday, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel must acknowledge that its establishment in 1948 was a “catastrophe” for the Palestinians and apologize for it.

The Nakab Day, he said, “means an ongoing journey of pain, loss, and injustice.”

Erekat also urged Tel Aviv to open all its 1948 archives and show “the truth of what was done to our people, including its ethnic cleansing policies and the policy of shooting to kill Palestinians that attempted to return home.”

The official further urged the UK “to apologize for its role in the Palestinian catastrophe, beginning by the infamous Balfour Declaration and the denial of our national rights.”

The document issued in November 1917 by the then British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour said the UK government “views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” settling the stage for creation of Israel.

Settlers attack Palestinians, Israeli forces stand idly.

In the occupied territories, human rights group Yesh Din released footage showing Israeli forces watching indifferently while Jewish settlers hurled stones at Palestinians in the West Bank.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the footage was shot on Friday near the village of Burin in the occupied West Bank.

“This is a very serious incident” in which Israeli soldiers “allowed the criminals to throw stones unhindered,” the group said in a statement.

Yesh Din urged the Israeli military to investigate the incident but the army denied its soldiers ignored the attack.

There have been scores of attacks targeting Palestinians in different parts of the West Bank, with most of them largely going uninvestigated by Israeli authorities.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Built on occupied land, the settlements are internationally condemned as illegal.


RELATED

Rabbi speaking in solidarity with Palestinian Nakba Day


UK: Zionists disrupt and harass peaceful Nakba Day event in London


The celebration of a ‘Memorial Day’ is only for ‘the chosen people’, not for others. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) enforced tough restrictions across the occupied territories as Palestinians mark the 68th anniversary of the Nakba Day. This is the day when hundreds of thousands of Palestinian were expelled from their homes starting from 1947-48 and subsequent years.


Quelli della Memoria…Corta: con la Faccia Tosta d’Imporre una ‘Giornata della Memoria’, Mentre la Negano Agli Altri


SOURCES:
PressTV
TerraSantaLibera
Submitted by SyrianPatriots, Lone Bear, Cem Ertür 
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/nakba-day-2017/
~

PFLP Leadership on Mass Palestinian Hunger Strike


by Stephen Lendman

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat is one of hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners hunger striking for justice.

In 1967, he founded the organization, dedicated to liberating Palestine from Zionist colonial occupation. In 2002, he was politically imprisoned for 30 years – because of his prominence and determination to continue struggling for freedom.

On May 11, Beirut-based Al Mayadeen aired a statement issued by the PFLP’s leadership, addressing Palestinians, the Arab world, and freedom-loving people everywhere, saying:

“Today, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is locked in the battle of freedom and dignity…with ever more determination to continue until the achievement of its goals.”

“It is armed with the weapon of its will, the unity of the prisoners’ movement and the justice of our cause, with the support and embrace of the masses of the Palestinian people, the Arab nation and the forces of freedom in the world.”

“The prisoners face, after their declaration of the battle of the strike, a bloody war and ferocious Zionist repression that has intensified in recent days and in various prisons.”
“Dozens of leaders are isolated for participating in the strike, including Ahmad Sa’adat, Marwan Barghouthi, Abbas Sayyed, Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Kamil Abu Hanish and dozens of others.”

“This repression is reinforced by the prevention of legal visits in an attempt to cover up their situation and the circumstances of their confinement, while the occupation intelligence agencies continue to use techniques of psychological warfare in order to break the strike.”

“This has only made the prisoners even more determined to continue the battle and confront these Zionist attacks.”

“The Zionist occupation prisons are prisons of horror. There are tens of severely ill prisoners, some engaged in the strike and currently barred from treatment, suffering from the policy of medical neglect.”

“The clinics that are supposed to be places of treatment and alleviation of pain are instead sites of abuse and suffering.”

“The declaration of the occupation of the establishment of so-called ‘field hospitals’ is either an attempt to better its image in the media, or to create sites of pressure on the prisoners to attempt to break the strike and carry out threatened forced feeding.”

“A number of measures against the prisoners have recently escalated, including the closure of prisons, conversion of whole sections to collective isolation sections, massive bans on family visits and the imposition of thousands of shekels in fines on strikers.”

“Despite all these measures, we have also promised to you that we will not break or give in, and so from the womb of our suffering and despite the severity of repression, we will continue this battle until victory.”

“We in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine organization in Israeli prisons deliver this statement to Al-Mayadeen TV channel in the context of the escalation of the battle of confrontation with the occupation.”

“We announce the enrollment of new batches of leaders and cadres in the coming hours will join the strike as well as prisoners from various political organizations.”

“(T)o the masses of our people: continue with all your determination and strength in the field of escalation of the clashes with the Zionist occupation at sites of contact.”

“We urge all forces, factions, youth, student and women’s organizations, and all sectors of our society in Palestine, in exile and in the camps to continue in this movement.”

“We have full confidence in your great struggle and we are confident in your achievements. (W)e take this opportunity on Al-Mayadeen to make a plea to the Arab masses and Arab parties, trade union and student and youth associations to build wider solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people and to take the issue of the prisoners to the street.”

“We urge you to confront all attempts to divert your attention from the just cause of Palestine, especially normalization, which is a treacherous stab in all of our backs.”

“Be with the cause of Palestine in heart and soul, and do not allow our people to be alone, we are part of you and your national role in supporting Palestine is critical.”

“(W)e call on the free people of the world to continue to develop their solidarity and support for the cause of the prisoners. We are very proud and happy when we hear of the events, sit-ins and solidarity actions in the capitals and cities of the world.”

“We urge you to escalate this movement and besiege Israeli embassies and all complicit international institutions with the occupation to pressure them and deliver the message of the Palestinian people and the suffering of prisoners.”

“This is also part of the work to hold the occupation accountable, including forcing the occupation to apply international conventions on prisoners and bringing occupation officials before the International Criminal Court for their crimes”

“(I)t is important for us to address these areas to a satellite channel of resistance and truth. Although the censorship and media blackout practiced by the occupation against us means that we cannot hear directly from this voice of resistance, we hear about you from our comrades and loved ones, and we hope you find a way to bring your free voice to us in the castles of struggle.”

“(W)e extend our appreciation and thanks to you on behalf of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement and on behalf of the PFLP in the prisons of the occupation for your keen attention to the cause of the prisoners. We hope this interest will be strengthened by dedicating even more space to this issue.”

“You are an important voice for the masses and the people, confronting policies of submission and defeat that some are attempting to impose on our Arab homeland.”

“We promise, according to the circumstances to continue to send our messages from the prisons through you.”

“In this battle for victory and dignity, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is on its way to a major strategic achievement and as promised, we will not hesitate to walk on thorns in order to win a decent place under the sun. This is our pledge and our promise to you.”

Freedom and Dignity strike day 28. Israel refuses to negotiate. Even when it does, it doesn’t, systematically breaching things agreed to.

According to PA prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqe, Israeli prison officials called for a meeting with strike leaders, no further details provided.

The National Committee for Supporting the Hunger Strike said prison officials are willing to discuss Palestinian demands to split their unity in hopes of undermining the action.
Prisoners are adamant against talks without involvement of strike organizer Marwan Barghouti and PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat.
Stalemate prevails unless one side bends. On Sunday, the Addameer prisoner support group urged worldwide solidarity with courageous Palestinians, putting their bodies and lives on the line for justice.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
 Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

في اليوم الـ 28 لإضراب الكرامة: انضمام 11 أسيراً جديداً

بيادسة: نقل سعدات من سجنه لن يمنعنا من زيارته

مايو 15, 2017

رأت فرح بيادسة محامية الأسير أحمد سعدات إن نقل الأسير سعدات إلى سجن آخر هو لمنعنا من زيارته، ولكننا سنتوجّه إلى سجن أوهلي كدار الذي نُقل إليه سعدات للمطالبة بلقائه. وذلك في وقت بلغ عدد الأسرى المُضربين عن الطعام في معركة الكرامة 1800 أسير بعدما انضمّ أمس 11 أسيراً من سجن جلبوع إلى الإضراب.

وأضافت بيادسة قائلةً: «لن نسمح للاحتلال بتعطيل جهودنا للقاء الأسرى»، مُطمئِنةً إلى أن «صحته ما زالت جيدة. وهو صامد والأسرى يستمدون معنوياتهم منه».

وكانت اللجنة الإعلامية لإضراب الكرامة أعلنت أن إدارة سجون الاحتلال نقلت الأسير القائد أحمد سعدات صباح أمس من سجن «عسقلان» إلى سجن «أوهلي كدار».

وأضافت اللجنة الإعلامية، أن هذا الإجراء يأتي كسياسة ممنهجة لحرمان الأسير سعدات من زيارته التي تقررّت من قبل محامية مؤسسة الضمير.

يأتي ذلك، بعد تحديد سلطات الاحتلال موعداً لزيارة محامي مؤسسة الضمير لسعدات والمضرب عن الطعام منذ أكثر من أسبوع والمعزول في عسقلان، أمس عصراً.

من جهة أخرى، أعلن رئيس هيئة شؤون الأسرى والمحررين عيسى قراقع أن سلطات الاحتلال سمحت للمحامي خضر شقيرات بزيارة الأسير مروان البرغوثي أمس، في أول زيارة له منذ بدء الإضراب، مشيراً إلى أن هناك لامبالاة إسرائيلية منذ بداية الإضراب وحتى اليوم في مناقشة أو حتى مجرد فتح حوار حول مطالب الأسرى جراء رفض الجانب الصهيوني فتح حوار مع قادة الإضراب واشتراطه فتح الحوار بعد وقف الإضراب.

من جهتها، قالت الجبهة الشعبية الفلسطينية إن «الأبطال الأسرى يخوضون معركة الحرية والكرامة بأمعائهم الخاوية، وهذه المعركة البطولية للحركة الأسيرة إنما هي أيضاً جزء من معارك شعبنا في رفضه النكبة ونتائجها الكارثية».

وفي بيان لها بمناسبة الذكرى الـ 69 للنكبة الفلسطينية قالت إن «لم تكن نكبة عام 1948 التي حلت على الشعب الفلسطيني والتي أدت لطرده وتشريده وتدمير قراه ومصادرة ممتلكاته النكبة الأولى والتي حلت بالأمة العربية، بل كانت تجسيداً لاتفاقات دولية استهدفت حاضر ومستقبل الأمة وفي القلب منها القضية الفلسطينية كقضية شعب وأرض وحقوق».

وأكّدت الجبهة أنه «بالوحدة والمقاومة يحقق الانتصار، وإن طريق التنازلات المجرّب والمفاوضات والتطبيع والتنسيق الأمني مع العدو لا يوصل لحقوق، وأوسلو باتفاقاته السياسية والاقتصادية والأمنية فشل بالحفاظ على الحقوق الوطنية أو استرجاعها».

واعتبرت أن «معركة الحرية والكرامة التي يخوضوها أسرانا البواسل باعتبارهم النموذج والقدوة هي الطريق الأقصر والمجدي لكسر إرادة الجلاد وهزيمة المحتل»، داعيةً إلى «ضرورة إعلاء صوت الشعب الفلسطيني وحركته في الشارع لإنهاء الانقسام واستعادة الوحدة الوطنية وإعادة بناء منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية كأداة كفاحية وإطار جامع وممثّل شرعي ووحيد لشعبنا».

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With Palestinians on Hunger Strike, British Medical Journal Devotes Whole Issue to Israel

[ Ed. note – Yesterday the British Medical journal The Lancet published a special edition devoted to “Israel’s achievements in health.” According to an executive summary on the journal’s website:

These five Lancet Series papers and accompanying comments outline Israel’s achievements in health and health care, towards a goal of attaining universal health coverage for an unusually diverse population. The papers explore Israel’s unique history, challenges, and accomplishments, and the religious and regional influences that have had an impact on health. The Series also offers an insight into existing collaborations and potential future opportunities, and outlines extensive recommendations to address the persisting inequalities between population groups, and to further strengthen health-care delivery systems.

The issue was probably timed around the 69th anniversary of Israel’s founding, but it’s publication date–May 8–coincides with day 22 of a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners and moreover comes just as reports have surfaced that Israel is trying to recruit doctors to force-feed the prisoners in violation of medical ethics.

In fact, the prisoners, in response to reports about the planned force-feedings, have called for a “week of rage” against the Zionist state.

“Any attempt to force-feed any hunger-striking prisoner will be treated as an attempt to execute prisoners. We will turn these prisons into battle fields with our bodies, armed with our will and determination,” reads a statement put out by the prisoners.

You can go here to access an essay on why force-feeding prisoners is considered a violation of medical ethics, but a key paragraph from the article reads:

So, despite the doctor’s dilemma, if the prisoners are making rational, informed, and uncoerced choices to continue their hunger strike, then every international code of ethics, including that of the World Medical Association (WMA), supports the prisoners’ actions. The WMA Declaration of Tokyo states: “Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially” [3]. To ensure that the physician is making the correct determination, the WMA goes on to add, “the decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent physician. The consequences of the refusal of nourishment shall be explained by the physician to the prisoner”

To give credit where credit is due, Israeli medical professionals have refused to participate in the force-feedings, and they have also called upon foreign doctors to refuse the Israeli government’s efforts at recruiting practitioners from abroad willing to violate the code.

But in addition to force-feeding, is it possible Israel may also start levying fines against hunger strikers? The following is reported by Ma’an News:

Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe announced Monday that the committee had also decided to suspend payments it provides for prisoners so they can purchase items from the prison commissary where hunger strikers have been getting salt to balance their healths, after IPS [Israeli Prison Service] started to deplete hunger strikers’ accounts by 200 to 500 shekels ($55-140).

The same article says that the IPS has banned lawyer visitations for hunger-striking prisoners, and an additional article reports that hunger-strikers have been placed in solitary, transferred to other prisons, and undergone nightly cell raids and confiscation of personal belongings.

And that’s where things stand now. Enter: The Lancet. You can go here to access the prestigious medical journal’s special issue, which is entitled, “Health in Israel.” One of the articles, an essay headlined “Medical Ethics in Israel: Bridging Religious and Secular Values,” contains the following passage:

Nevertheless, the law [of the state of Israel] also permits actual coercion of life-saving treatment upon an otherwise competent patient if the institutional ethics committee, after careful consideration, agrees that the patient would give his or her consent retroactively after treatment. Several court cases have now taken place to impose treatment on a non-consenting individual. In one case, the court mandated force-feeding a hunger-striking prisoner on the basis that in Israeli culture, human life takes precedence over human dignity. The ethics committee of the Israel Medical Association, by contrast, is opposed to force-feeding a hunger-striker because they consider it affront to autonomy and human freedom.

The article makes no mention of the current hunger strike.

Whether the editors at The Lancet were aware the strike is going on is unclear, though one would think that publishing an entire issue extolling “Israel’s achievements in health”–this at time when the Zionist government has designs on carrying out a gross violation of medical ethics–would be some cause for embarrassment.

The article below, published today by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, offers some insight why the Lancet’s management may have decided (or felt compelled) to venture into such a publishing foray at the present time. And just beneath the article you will find an RT report on the hunger strike, also just posted today. ]

***

British Medical Journal The Lancet Publishes Issue Devoted to Israel

JTA

The British medical journal The Lancet published a special issue on Israel three years after publishing an open letter that accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.

The special issue, titled “Health in Israel: Progress and Challenges in a Region of Conflict,” was unveiled Monday in Tel Aviv. It was guest edited by A. Mark Clarfield of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and also staffed by Orly Manor of the Israel National Institute for Health Policy and Services Research and Zaher Azzam of the Rambam Health Care Campus.

The issue is part of The Lancet’s series of country analyses investigating progress toward universal health coverage, and explores the unique aspects of health and health care delivery in Israel. The papers, authored by academics and policymakers in Israel, offer constructive recommendations for strengthening the country’s health care system, improving health and addressing health inequalities in Israel.

In the August 2014 issue of the Lancet,

“An open letter for the people of Gaza” accused Israel of a “massacre” in Gaza during the war between Israel and Hamas, as well as “cruel” and “vicious war crimes.” Physicians, researchers and Israeli officials decried the letter, which was signed by several dozen Western doctors.

Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet, visited Israel that October and then wrote in an editorial that he regretted publishing the letter and said,

“This schism helped no-one and I certainly regret that result. I have seen for myself that what was written in the Manduca et al letter does not describe the full reality.” He announced in that editorial that he would devote an issue to health care in Israel.

Horton said in a statement issued Monday,

“This Series was conceived in the aftermath of a tragic conflict in 2014 between Israel and Gaza, and following publication of a letter that divided world medical opinion about that conflict. Through the generous and courageous outreach of the authors of this Series, we have sought to show that medicine and science can be a bridge to a better understanding of complex and seemingly intractable geopolitical challenges. Our future commitment is to work intensively with both our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues to provide the foundations in one aspect of society for peace and justice.” 

In the wake of the Gaza letter, the journal issued new guidelines to deal with “submissions that lie at the difficult intersection of medicine and politics.”

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Palestinian Prisoners Enter 21st Day of Hunger Strike

Face Growing Threat to Their Health and Continuing Repression

Global Research, May 09, 2017

On their 21st day of hunger strike, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are facing an ever more serious health situation, as an increasing number of strikers experience loss of balance, muscle wasting and heavy fatigue, reported the strike’s Media Committee.

1500 Palestinian prisoners launched the strike on 17 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, for a series of demands, including an end to the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, appropriate medical care and treatment and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Strikers have faced sharp repression, including frequent late-night raids by repressive forces, abusive transfers from prison to prison, solitary confinement, denial of legal and family visits and confiscation of personal belongings, sometimes including salt. Hunger strikers rely on consuming only salt and water to preserve their lives during the strike.

As the strike has grown and more prominent Palestinian prisoner leaders have joined the strike, repression has also intensified. Some prisoners have been transferred four times since the strike began. Today, the Israeli prison administration reportedly plans to transfer 100 prisoners from Ohli Kedar prison to section 10 in Eshel prison. Meanwhile, 30 of those prominent leaders, including imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, fellow PFLP leader Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Hamas leader Abbas al-Sayyed, longest-held Palestinian prisoner Nael Barghouthi and imprisoned journalist Mohammed al-Qeeq were transferred on Sunday morning to isolation in Ashkelon prison.  All of these transfers also involved barring legal visits for the transferred prisoners.

Image result for palestinian prisoners day

As the health crisis for hunger-striking prisoners looms ever larger, hunger striker William Rimawi was transferred on Sunday morning, 7 May, to the Ramla prison clinic, according to Ma’an News. The prisoners warned of the threat of forced feeding, especially as Israeli far-right Minister of Internal SecurityGilad Erdan reportedly threatened to import doctors from other countries to forcibly feed Palestinian hunger strikers in military “field hospitals” set up in Israeli jails.

“This trend carries with it preparation for a targeted crime against the prisoners with the intention of murder. It is clear that we are in the next stage now, that of repression, abuse, and attempts to break the strike through threatening the lives of the prisoners. The ongoing preparations indicate that there is a decision taken against the prisoners to their deaths at the hands of a gang of fascists in Tel Aviv. This is what makes this confrontation an extraordinary moment,” wrote the prisoners in their statement.

Meanwhile, on Saturday evening, 6 May, the Media Committee of the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society stated that there were still no serious negotiations from the Israeli prison administration aiming to end the strike.

Israeli occupation police in Jerusalem are repeatedly attacking and forbidding events in support of the prisoners organized by their families in the occupied city. Amjad Abu Assab of the Committee of Families of Prisoners of Jerusalem said that the Israeli occupation police declared that they would not allow any event for the prisoners in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and threatened to forcibly disperse any assembly. In addition, on Saturday, 6 May, during a gathering outside the International Committee of the Red Cross building, the police surrounded the families of the prisoners and threatened them with attack as they supported the prisoners’ demands.

Events throughout Palestine and internationally are continuing in support of the prisoners, especially as the prisoners urged a “week of outrage” to demand implementation of their demands and support for the strikers facing harsh repression. Prominent figures like Palestinian resistance icon Leila Khaled and Catholic patriarch Gregory III Laham have joined students around the world on hunger strike in support of the prisoners; in addition, nine mothers of prisoners and a number of former prisoners are continuing their hunger strikes of support.

In Lebanon, four Palestinian youth in Nahr el-Bared camp and six youth from Beddawi refugee camp announced a hunger strike while events and rallies took place on Saturday, 6 May in the refugee camps and in the Khiam former prison in Southern Lebanon, in support of the prisoners’ strike.

Internationally, events and actions were organized in Istanbul, London, Birmingham, Whitstable, Norwich, Sheffield, Oxford, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness, Aberdeen, Uppsala, Dublin, Limerick, Newry, Derry, Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne, Paris, Auckland and San Diego on Saturday, 6 May in support of the prisoners, while actions are planned on Sunday in Sydney, Amsterdam, Cagliari, Munich, Portland, Fremantle and Quito. Events around the world are available at Samidoun’s global event page.

Graphic by Hafez Omar

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