The struggles of the Palestinian political prisoners are inextricably connected with the overall struggle of the Palestinian people. 70 percent of the Palestinian families have at least one member that has been imprisoned for action against the state of Israel. 20 percent of the total population has been imprisoned at least once in their life while according to other estimations 40 percent of the male population has been imprisoned at some point in their life within the past 30 years.
Another revealing manifestation of the situation the Palestinian strugglers find themselves in while inside the Israeli prisons is the fact that until 1999 ‘mild torture’ during interrogation was considered legitimate practice by law. These tortures included -among others- deprivation of sleep, immobilization in an uncomfortable body posture, loud music, exposure to extremely cold or hot temperatures, placement of malodorous cloths over the face etc. In 1999 the supreme court of Israel upheld that in certain cases these practices were illegal and thus imposed some restrictions. These restrictions did not, however, rule out force-feeding as illegal in accordance with the UN provisions.
On the 1st of May, 2000 almost 1000 of the 1650 Palestinian political prisoners participated in a large-scale hunger strike that lasted one month, demanding better living conditions, better treatment by the guards, family visits, abolition of the solitary confinement, access to health care and release of political prisoners. During the solidarity demonstrations seven Palestinians lost their lives while one thousand got injured. Meanwhile, sixty Israelis got injured too. On the 31st of the same month the government of Israel satisfied some of the demands.
In February 2012 around 1800 Palestinian political prisoners started a hunger strike against the regime of administrative detention. That is, incarceration without evidence to back a charge, without specific accusations, without trial and evidence, meaning they would remain detained for an indefinite amout of time as ordered by the military authority of Israel. Out of the 4500 prisoners in total, 310 remained in prison under the status of administrative detention. Among their demands was the ability of family members who resided in Gaza to be able to vist their relatives in prison- a fact that was impossible since, as residents of Gaza, they were not allowed by the state of Israel to leave Gaza-, the termination of solitary confinement and the release of those kept under administrative detention.
On the 24th of May of the same year and after a several-day hunger strike, the strugglers managed to strike a deal with the state of Israel, which pledged to bring the maximum duration of administrative detention down to 6 months if sufficient evidence were not provided in between. Moreover, the family visits expanded and those in solitary confinement returned to the regular blocks.
Today, 1500 Palestinian political prisoners have been on hunger strike since the 17th of April and their number is expected to climb up to 2000 within the following days. United in a single battlefront and despite their internal disputes and confrontations, members of Fatah, Hamas, PFLP and Islamic Jihad participate in a common struggle as political prisoners.
Their demands resemble those of the previous mobilizations and have to do with the prisoners’ access to telecommunication and the placement of payphones in every block, in particular. Also, they demand that they have visits from their relatives, who must get a permit to enter the occupied territories- applications for such permits are usually rejected and the visits are, in reality impossible since the prisons are located inside the occupied territories. Finally, they demand access to health care, the abolition of administrative detention and the abolition of solitary confinement.
The state of Israel has so far reacted with unannounced transfers of the prisoners and their placement in solitary confinement.
We, as anarchist prisoners of the Greek prisons, can only join our voices with the voices of the Palestinian strugglers. Beside our straightforward and unconditional solidarity against the forces of imposition, with the forces of slings and knives against the forces of bombs and tanks, the forces of the oppressed against the forces of state brutality, the forces of the Palestinian people against the forces of the Israeli state, we also express that we have yet another reason to support every act of resistance against the state of Israel. The technology of surveillance, the apartheid know-how, the derogation regime, the interweaving of social and political marginalization, the imposition of militarized control upon whole populations, the administrative detention- which makes a come-back in Europe as a tool to manage migration- and the overall dystopian reality that the state of Israel imposes upon the people of Palestine constitute a compass for those in power as well as an experimentation that the rest of the states will eventually be called on to implement elsewhere.
Victory to the struggle of the Palestinian political prisoners!
Victory to the arms of the Palestinian resistance!
Korydallos Prison, Athens