MLK SPEAKS OF THE NECESSITY OF NONVIOLENT GADFLIES

There is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. . . . we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

 

A symbol of resistance for all of humanity

What MLK’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ tells us about Ahed Tamimi in a cold Israeli cell

In recent weeks, several people have said that the liberal indifference to Ahed Tamimi’s detention in an Israeli prison for slapping an occupying soldier on December 15 is reminiscent of the white liberals in Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, written in 1963. Today, you can give yourself no better political lesson than rereading that inspiring document of the American movement  for freedom.

King’s letter is an explanation of the need for “direct political action.” King addresses a group of white liberal ministers and rabbis who have said they’re against segregation but times are changing, so why do “extremist” black clergy have to risk a backlash with provocative demonstrations? King answers that time is neutral and won’t do anything on its own; blacks have waited for hundreds of years for some modicum of justice and learned that the privileged will never give up privilege without pressure. White businesses promised to remove humiliating signs directing blacks to segregated water coolers and bathrooms and never followed through, and meantime anti-colonial struggles in other countries have outpaced American change, and inspired blacks to dream of an equal future.

We need to ratchet up political tension so as to precipitate a crisis, King explained:

[T]here is a type of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth. . . . we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. So, the purpose of direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.

Liberal ministers and rabbis were a bigger obstacle to this process than outright racists, King said, because they defused that tension among progressives with “lukewarm acceptance.” In the distant past the church had ended infanticide and gladiators’ fights to the death, but now the church was ineffectual. King warned:

It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo [as to]. . . be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I meet young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.

Some whites had walked in black people’s shoes and understood the “urgency of the moment,” King said, but the moderate ministers were blindly supporting order, however unjust.

You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping “order” and “preventing violence.” I don’t believe you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its angry violent dogs literally biting six unarmed, nonviolent Negroes.

And he warned that the black community now includes many nationalists who advocate violence against Jim Crow.

The analogies of King in the Birmingham city jail to 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi in an Israeli jail are many. Occupied Palestinians have waited decades for justice as other struggles in the world have been successful. Palestinians have long been promised sovereignty and never gotten it. “Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber,” King writes, but Palestinians have seen their lands robbed year after year with no enforcement mechanism from the world. Many in the Palestinian community now advocate violence. But in their little village the Tamimi’s are part of a non-violent struggle against a violent occupation.

Ahed Tamimi caused tension– and a “crisis-packed” situation– when she slapped the soldier in her tiny village of Nabi Saleh on December 15, just hours after her cousin was maimed by another Israeli soldier.

But her weeks in jail are greeted with indifference or contempt by leftwing Israelis and American liberal Zionists, who tell us there must be equal sympathy for the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian children. While the U.S. press writes articles about Tamimi’s choice in clothing, suggesting her encounters were staged. These people rationalize Israel’s brutal policy of a “managed conflict” forever with “lukewarm acceptance.”

Some will say, what about Ahed’s slap? Wasn’t that violent? It was not. Violence entails the possibility of producing injury to another. Tamimi’s slap of a towering, heavily-armed soldier was merely an insult, and a resonant one. “We must see the need of having non-violent gadflies.” (And as for throwing stones, even the New York Times Magazine has justified that as a legitimate response to occupation).

King’s letter is a challenge to the indifferent who rationalize the status quo. Moral people — church people, political people — must either take action or support it, he said. Geography is no barrier. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” is the most ringing line in the letter (which one of us used as an epigraph in his book againstSouth African apartheid).

Today we revere King for precipitating radical political change in the U.S. and sacrificing his life to do so. The letter speaks to all who cherish the hope of ending other injustices. It is NOT meaningful as a nostalgic signpost of a huge battle our society won 50 years ago. It is ONLY meaningful as a signpost for what actions we should take today.

King ended his letter with a prayer. It is consciously a spiritual statement. Birmingham 1963 is the “eternal now of the letter, and the message passes from King’s soul to the reader right now. It addresses the struggle we all feel inside ourselves: It calls to the idealistic and motivated parts of our nature that see a way to address injustice, and against the lukewarm, timid despairing acceptance we feel in the face of huge odds.

For people who care about the Middle East, the letter can have only one meaning, to look on the lives of our brothers and sisters in Palestine and to hate the occupation and anything that rationalizes it. King tells us to be with Ahed Tamimi in her cold cell, and fight for her freedom.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was released from the Birmingham jail after 11 days. Ahed Tamimi, 16 years old, is still in an Israeli jail — 27 days later, and counting.

Here is the last speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. …..

“I may not get there with you. But we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” He was shot the next day.

THE MAKING OF THE PALESTINIAN MANDELA

Portrait of a boy with the flag of Palestine painted on his face

Recently, the struggle for Palestinian human rights gained international attention surrounding a new icon of resistance–16 year old Ahed Tamimi. While in the West Bank in late 2016, Abby Martin interviewed Ahed Tamimi about her hardships and aspirations living under occupation and it becomes clear why her subjugators are trying to silence her voice. Her brother Waad and father Bassem also talk about their experiences with Israeli soldiers harassing their village and targeting their family. In this exclusive episode, Abby outlines the Tamimi family’s tragic tale and unending bravery in the fight for justice and equality in Palestine and how the story of their village of Nabi Saleh is emblematic of the Palestinian struggle as a whole.

 

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The proud Father …..

SPANISH POLICE BRUTALITY CAUGHT ON VIDEO

Spanish Police Brutality 1st October 2017 Catalonia Full Compilation

Image by Mike Flugennock

IN TOONS ~~ NO FREEDOM FOR CATALONIA

Franco’s ghost rears its ugly head in time for Halloween

Images by Carlos Latuff

OUR VOTES MATTER NOT

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ALL WE WANT IS INDEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy invades Catalonia on the back of a tank

And finally, from Israel

‘THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST’ (HA!)


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TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE PALESTINIAN WAY

A poem about Truth and other thoughts from Palestine

TRUTHS

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Truths became fragile outcasts
drowned refugees denied even their pasts
or those refugees silenced
by Zionist media murdered
Orphaned and denied futures
Tortured and robbed of cultures
kept behind ghetto walls
taboo subjects in conference halls
truths sinking?
rapidly shrinking?
becoming nameless?
faceless
powerless
mentionless
lies multiply?
occupy
people’s minds
flash that blinds
polarising
colonizing
calcified hearts
broken in parts
Standing with the persecuted truths
we are hunted by mean untruths
But it is our solemn option
to offer orphan truths’ adoption

Though numerous… all lies end
Truths return and never bend
truths humble and meek but remain here
loud for those who want or wish to hear
you can see them, hear them, taste them
feel them and know them
In helping a hungry child smile
in walking the extra mile
in a shared simple meal
in every emotion we feel
in a sparkle in a student’s eye
in the pain that we cry
in a lover’s embrace
in a friend’s grace
in generous giving
in gracious receiving
in never tiring
of true loving

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I wish that the US and the Western governments take care of their people in
need.  Instead of legislating to help Puerto Rico, the Israeli occupied US
Congress is trying to be an even more obedient "house slave" for the
Zionist masters by imposing more penalties on Hizballah (Lebanon) and Iran
and pushing for yet another devastating war (just like they did in Somalia,
Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Libya). Bernard Levy, the Jewish Zionist instigator
of the mayhem in Libya was in Northern Iraq building Zionist relationships
with the Kurdish region and instigating for dividing Iraq like the Zionists
did in Sudan. Other Zionists pour illegally acquired money in illegal
Jewish settlements and the largest terrorist organization in the world -
the Israeli army. Dividing the world and creating hatred and wars has been
a key pillar of global Zionist machinery for decades*. It is the old
colonial strategy of divide and conquer. As always many reject divisions
while some fall into this trap. Time to look in the mirror and time to turn
the tables. Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria are waking up. China and
Russia are finally showing some backbone. Even new understandings and
alliances are being forged against the wishes of the puppet masters. For
the sake of humanity, it is time to end the hate, the divisions and
conflicts.  The key to peace will be from here in Palestine. Once the
notion of a sectarian ("Jewish") state is abandoned, we transform to a
state of all its people, secular and democratic. It would have the ripple
effect of peace throughout the Arab world. Radical Islamists trying to
imitate Israel by having an Islamic state will no longer have a footing or
an excuse.

US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel denounces racistposter campaign 
trying to silence truth tellers [In my opinion they should
sue these racist Zionists for defamation]


The Palestine exception to free speech


EDWARD SAID writing in 1993 with amazing foresight telling the truth that
should be read by all who had the Oslo delusion (“two state” road) then and
those who still have it now


*Ex-CIA official: America's Jews Are Driving U.S. Wars

IN PHOTOS ~~ SUPPORT FOR ‘THE DREAMERS’ CONTINUES TO GROW

  On Sept 9th, once again,  4,000 DACA demonstrators flooded  New York City’s Columbus Circle across from Trump’s International Hotel.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IS REMOVING HATE SITES FROM THE WEB A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY?

I say NO! It PRESERVES Democracy!

Obviously, I’m NOT a LIBERAL

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Stormfront has been described by the anti-hate group Southern Poverty Law Center as the “murder capital of the internet”. The group pointed out that “registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the site was put up in 1995. In the past five years alone, Stormfront members have murdered close to 100 people.”

Stormfront: ‘murder capital of internet’ pulled offline after civil rights action

Web.com pulls support for one of the oldest and largest neo-nazi hate sites following campaign by Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

One of the oldest and largest neo-nazi sites on the internet, the white supremacist chatroom Stormfront, has been thrown off the open web by its hosting provider.

Stormfront has been described by the anti-hate group Southern Poverty Law Center as the “murder capital of the internet”. The group pointed out that “registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the site was put up in 1995. In the past five years alone, Stormfront members have murdered close to 100 people.”

As of Tuesday morning, Stormfront.org was unavailable, with the site’s domain registry recording that its hosting provider Network Solutions had issued a “hold” on the address.

Stormfront’s removal comes a week after a letter, informing Network Solution’s parent company Web.com of the neo-nazi site’s infractions of the its usage policy, was sent by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil rights organisation formed at the request of John F Kennedy in 1963.

The group, which has been writing to Web.com repeatedly since early July, repeated its request of the company to take “immediate action” against Stormfront.

Becky Monroe, the director of the group’s Stop Hate project said: “Since its creation, Stormfront has been consistently recognised as a site for racial hatred … a representative sample of posts on the site refer to interracial couples by slurs, share racist caricatures, or otherwise dehumanises minorities by referring to them as ‘creatures’ or ‘ethnics’.

“It is clear that Stormfront’s reason for existing is to advance hateful racist ideologies in undeniable persistent violation of the acceptable use policy of Web.com.”

The letter closes by giving a deadline of August 28, the same day Stormfront lost its site.

“Especially in the wake of tragic events in Charlottesville and the spike in hate crimes across the country, Stormfront crossed the line of permissible speech and incited and promoted violence,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The move follows the downfall of the Daily Stormer, a far-right news site which was dropped by multiple service providers after it published an article smearing the victim of a far-right terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. Eventually, the site was forced to move to the so-called dark web due to the lack of companies willing to work with it publicly.

As with the withdrawal of the Daily Stormer’s domain by GoDaddy, the decision of Web.com to pull its support for Stormfront will likely prompt a game of cat and mouse for the site, as it attempts to re-register its domain name with new registrars, many of whom will also choose to refuse to serve the forum.

Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who has operated stormfront.org since 1995 said that he was seeking counsel and that: “I can switch to another domain, but it might wind up the same way.”

It will also prompt a new round of debate over just how critical private companies are to free speech on the internet – even when the free speech is on the part of white supremacists and neo-nazis.

“This is a really terrible time to be a free speech advocate,” Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation told the Guardian on Monday.

Web.com did not reply to a request for comment.

SOURCE

IN PHOTOS ~~ THOUSANDS STAND (KNEEL) IN SUPPORT OF NFL PLAYER’S RIGHT TO DISSENT

White players kneeling during anthem a nightmare for NFL

(click on link to view video)

Political sports writer Dave Zirin speaks at the New York City rally in support of Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the National Anthem.

www.espn.com/video/clip?id=20437731

On Wednesday August 23rd, people gathered at the offices of the National Football League [NFL| in Manhattan NYC.  By some accounts 3-4 thousand people attended. The rally was in support of quarterback, Colin Kaepernick who refused to stand for the Star Spangled Banner prior to the beginning of the football game but instead choose to kneel rather than pay homage to the flag that represents the racism which is so prevalent against the Black population in the United States, especially in the murder of Black people by police, a crime that goes unpunished. As a result of his doing  this Kaepernick has not been picked as a team player on any of the NFL football teams for the coming season.  At this point many other players are also ‘taking the knee’, including young people on college and high school teams.

The rally included a broad array of many civic and community activist organizations, the   speakers demanding that Kaepernick be given the opportunity to play.  If not a boycott of the games and the sponsors of the NFL was demanded. The speakers did not limit the issue to Kaepernick but discussed the broader struggle against white supremacy which projected itself so violently in Charlottesville with fascists parading with torches and proclaiming, “You [Blacks] will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us”. One  of the many speakers was Dave Zirin [sports commentator for the Nation Magazine] who spoke of the Palestinian struggle to great applause as he pointed to the fascist/Zionist Jewish Defense League  across the street demonstrating against this rally. Another speaker was Linda Sarsaur, who is one of the organizers of the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration, a Palestinian activist in America who is subjected to the Islamaphobia so prevalent in the United States. She noted in her speech “if you are not ready to put your life on the line for freedom then take the word out of your mouth”. 

The rally ended with everyone holding the hands of the people next to them as a minister said a prayer asking for justice.  Several important issues were addressed at this event – Colin Kaepernick’s punishment for exercising his 1st amendment right to freedom of speech, the racism increasingly prevalent, and the power of money, in this case in the hands of the team owners, to do whatever they want in disregard of the people.  Certainly a fact of life in all areas in the USA today.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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Also see THIS report from The Nation

ECHOS OF McCARTHYISM IN THE ANTI BDS CAMP

Image by Carlos Latuff

“All human beings deserve human and civil rights, including the Palestinians,” Waters said. “And we’re winning it. This is why they want to silence me, this is why they call me an anti-Semite and this why they don’t want me on Charlie Rose or Stephen Colbert, speaking.” (FROM)

Also see the following post by Michael Rivero (Click on link)

THE NEW McCARTHYISM

 

FOR THE 4th ~~ PUERTO RICAN PARODY

This is meant to be funny?

The REAL Puerto Rico

 

#50YearsTooMany ~~ ‘CELEBRATING’ THE OCCUPATION IN IMAGES AND VIDEO

Bibi: “To commemorate 50 years since Unification of Jerusalem, we’ve decided to upgrade the Western Wall!”

How one American Jew views the situation …

How zion glorifies the occupation

The former Chief Rabbi of Britain adds the following …

The reality of the horrors faced daily by the victims can be seen here …. (Click on link)

50 STORIES OF PALESTINIAN LIFE
UNDER OCCUPATION

More photos and videos can be seen at the following Twitter Site (Click on link)

#50YearsTooMany

 

Kudos to Sears for the following …..

Sears offers ‘Free Palestine’ clothing line

One of the items offered*

Screenshot T-shirts with the slogan ‘Free Palestine’ available for sale on the Sears website, June 6, 2017. (Sears.com via JTA)

REFLECTIONS ON THE VICTORIOUS HUNGER STRIKE

Barghouti’s statement was posted to social media around noon EST in Arabic. The letter lauds gains from the strike, including increased family visits, more clothing, special unnamed services for female and child prisoners, expedited transfers and, most importantly, the establishment of a collective bargaining committee where Israeli prison authorities will “dialogue with the prisoners’ representatives in the forthcoming few days to discuss all issues without exception.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Marwan Barghouti vs. Benjamin Netanyahu

In first statement since end of hunger strike, Marwan Barghouti celebrates ‘the victory of the strike of freedom and dignity’

Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti released his first statement today since an announcement that the 42-day strike was suspended on Sunday, bringing to a close the longest joint protests organized by Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s history.

Barghouti said the strike could resume after the close of the Ramadan holiday if planned negotiations with Israel’s prison service are not successful.

Barghouti’s statement was posted to social media around noon EST in Arabic. The letter lauds gains from the strike, including increased family visits, more clothing, special unnamed services for female and child prisoners, expedited transfers and, most importantly, the establishment of a collective bargaining committee where Israeli prison authorities will “dialogue with the prisoners’ representatives in the forthcoming few days to discuss all issues without exception.”

Similar his New York Times op-ed that kicked-off the hunger strike in April, Barghouti strategically added specifics about the conditions inside of Israel’s prisons during the six weeks of protest. He said guards confiscated prisoners’ underwear and personal hygiene items and moved a large number of strike participants into solitary confinement or other prisons. Likely indirectly addressing a video Israeli Prison Services circulated during the strike that allegedly showed him breaking the fast with a candy bar and cookies, Barghouti also decried Israel for “releasing shameful rumors and lies.”

An English translation of the full statement was posted here by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Samidoun. The entire text is below:

First statement of the leader Marwan Barghouthi after the victory of the strike of freedom and dignity

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

 

Related (Click on link)

Palestinian hunger strike ends with prisoners declaring victory – but Israel claims nothing happened

 

FREEDOM AND DIGNITY HUNGER STRIKE ENDS WITH PARTIAL VICTORIES

All salutes to the courageous, struggling Palestinian prisoners, on the front lines of the Palestinian struggle for liberation! Their victories and their struggles are those of the Palestinian people and of all people seeking justice and liberation.

And salutes to all of those around the world who have been part of the prisoners’ struggle and Palestinian victory for the past 40 days.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Palestinian prisoners suspend hunger strike after 40 days of struggle

After 40 days, Palestinians suspend mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons

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Hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons suspended a 40-day mass hunger strike during dawn hours on Saturday, after reaching an agreement with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) that reinstated the prisoners’ family visitation sessions to two times per month, according to initial information from Palestinian leadership and IPS, with details yet to emerge regarding any additional achievements.

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The agreements came on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for which some hunger strikers had vowed to fast and forgo the salt and water mixture being consumed by the prisoners from dawn until sunset — the only source of nutrients the hunger strikers were consuming.
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Palestinian leaders applauded the prisoners’ “victory” on Saturday, saying that the agreement represented an “important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners.”
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However, increasing family visits was but one of a number of demands hunger-striking prisoners were calling for — including 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.
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The national committee formed to support the hunger strike has meanwhile said that more details regarding the outcome of the hunger strike would be revealed later.
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While further information about the agreement has not yet been released, reports indicated that further achievements of the strike also centered 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, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Samidoun.
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An IPS spokesperson told Ma’an that an agreement was forged between the Israeli state, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Palestinian Authority (PA), granting prisoners the second monthly family visit, to be funded by the PA.
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The move effectively reinstated the number of family visits that were formerly provided to Palestinian prisoners, before the ICRC reduced the number of visits it facilitated last year from two to one visit a month, a decision that sparked protests across the Palestinian territory.
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However, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said back in August 2016 that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had already approved a decision to cover all financial expenses for the second visitation session. A spokesperson for neither the PA nor PPS could immediately be reached for comment.
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“It is appalling that it should take a 40-day mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners to restore family visits taken away by an international agency that should be motivated by the rights and well-being of the prisoners. Far from a neutral bystander, the ICRC was in fact a party to this strike and a participant in the confiscation of the rights of Palestinian prisoners,” Samidoun wrote.
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The group’s report argued that, “This raises once again sharp questions about what really provoked the cut in family visits for Palestinian prisoners and the level of Israeli involvement in what was claimed at the time to be a mere financial decision, despite Palestinian pledges to cover costs.”
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Talks at stand-still until Barghouthi brought in at 11th hour
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Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe and head of PPS Qaddura Fares said in a joint statement that the prisoners suspended the “Freedom and Dignity,” following more than 20 hours of negotiations between IPS officials and prison leaders in Ashkelon prison, including Marwan Barghouthi — the imprisoned Fatah official who has been the primary leader of the strike.
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The statement added that IPS officials announced the end of the strike after negotiating with Barghouthi, who IPS had consistently refused to speak with throughout the strike’s duration, as hunger strikers had meanwhile refused to enter negotiations without the presence of Barghouthi.
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The joint statement did not mention which of the hunger strikers’ demands were actually met by Israeli prison authorities.
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A Palestinian source knowledgeable about negotiations elaborated to Ma’an later Saturday afternoon that the talks started Friday at 9 a.m. at Ashkelon prison, initially in the absence of Marwan Barghouthi.At the beginning, representatives of hunger-striking prisoners were Ahmad Barghouthi, Nasser Uweis, Ammar Mardi, and Nasser Abu Hmeid.
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However, the sources said that negotiations did not make progress until IPS agreed to bring in Marwan Barghouthi.The sources said that after Barghouthi’s arrival, IPS then “immediately agreed to some of the prisoners’ demands” and promised to respond positively to them.
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At 4:20 a.m. Saturday, a phone call was made between the imprisoned leaders of the hunger strike and officials from the PA and the Fatah movement outside of Israeli prisons, and after discussions, Marwan Barghouthi agreed to end hunger strike, the sources said.
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The IPS spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that Barghouthi was involved in the agreements that ended the hunger strike, but said that IPS was not considering the talks “negotiations,” as they only reinstated a previous policy and did not provide any new concessions to the prisoners.
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The IPS spokesperson told Ma’an that some 834 prisoners remained on strike to the 40th day, and that 18 prisoners who remained hospitalized would be returned to Israeli prison following the improvement of their health conditions.
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The spokesperson declined to comment on whether any of the other demands were met.
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The final round of talks came after Palestinian security officials and officials of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, had reportedly been engaged in negotiations in recent weeks.
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A meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Donald Trump during Trump’s two day visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank also reportedly played a role in reaching an agreement.
Abbas also reportedly raised the issue with Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, during a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday.
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Palestinians, UN, celebrate hunger strike’s ‘victory’
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United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said he welcomed reports that the hunger strike had been suspended. “I call on all sides to abide by the terms of the agreement and avoid similar heightened tensions in the future,” he said in a written statement.
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A spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Xavier Abu Eid released a statement Saturday by the “Free Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners’ international campaign,” saying that the hunger strike had “prevailed.”
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“This is an important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners under international law. It is also an indication of the reality of the Israeli occupation which has left no option to Palestinian prisoners but to starve themselves to achieve basic rights they are entitled to under international law,” the statement read.
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As the statement pointed out, the hunger strike was one of the longest strikes in Palestinian history and included a wide participation of Palestinian prisoners from across political factions.“The epic resilience and determination of the hunger strikers and their refusal to end their hunger strike despite the repression and very harsh conditions they endured allowed for their will to prevail over the will of the jailer.”

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Israeli forces had attempted to break the hunger strike through various punitive measures — with the measures being repeatedly condemned by human rights organizations — including putting hunger strikers in solitary confinement, “inciting” against the hunger strikers and their leaders — most notably Barghouthi, and threatening to force feed the hunger strikers, the statement highlighted.
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Scores of Palestinian prisoners were also transferred to Israeli hospitals during the hunger strike, with reports emerging that prisoners were vomiting blood and fainting. Palestinian leaders had feared possible deaths among the hunger strikers if their demands were not met.
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The statement went on to thank all those who stood in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, particularly former political prisoners in South Africa, Ireland, and Argentina.“The Palestinian people are a nation held captive, and the Palestinian prisoners are the reflection of this painful reality,” the statement read.
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Spokesperson for the PA Youssef al-Mahmoud also congratulated the hunger strikers on “achieving their demands.”
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“Our heroic prisoners achieved a new victory in their legendary resistance,” he said, adding that the government would continue its efforts to “guarantee that all Palestinian prisoners are freed without exceptions or conditions.”
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He also called for an end to political divisions in Palestine and to work on regaining national unity to support Palestinians.
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Meanwhile, member of Fatah’s central committee Jamal Muheisin and head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe held a press conference at Yasser Arafat square in Ramallah to announce the “victory” of the hunger strike.
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The national committee formed to support the hunger strike also released a statement saying that the hunger strikers had achieved a “legendary triumph forcing the occupation government to negotiate with the leaders of the hunger strike and Marwan Barghouthi after having refused to negotiate for 40 days.”
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The statement highlighted that the “epic hunger strike” brought back unity between Palestinians in Israeli prisons and revived the spirit of national solidarity, which has succeeded in “thwarting the occupation’s plots.”
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The statement added that more information regarding the details of the agreement between IPS officials and the hunger strikers would be released later.
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The Hamas movement said a statement that it “hails the incredible steadfastness of the Palestinian prisoners inside the Israeli prisons,” in which “Israeli prison authorities had no choice but to succumb to the prisoners’ just demands.””This victory serves as an evidence that by unity, will, and steadfastness Palestinians can achieve even the impossible missions in their struggle against the unjust occupation,” the statement continued, going onto thank families of prisoners, the Palestinian people, and “the free world” for showing devoting their time to solidarity actions throughout the hunger strike “to keep this humanitarian issue alive.””Their efforts and support rallies drew the world’s attention to the prisoners’ ongoing plight, and revealed the ugly face of the Israeli Occupation of being a blatant violator of the Palestinians’ human rights,” Hamas affirmed, adding that “the prisoners’ issue will remain a core one, and the ultimate goal of setting them free will never be forgotten.”
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Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have underwent numerous hunger strikes since the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza in 1967, with several hunger strikers being killed during strikes owing to Israeli policies of force-feeding the prisoners.
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Their demands have ranged from insisting on better quality prison food to ending torture in Israeli prisons.
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According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of April, most of whom are being held inside the Israeli territory in contravention to international law which forbids holding Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza outside the occupied territory.
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While Israeli authorities label Palestinians as “security prisoners,” activists and rights groups have long considered Palestinians held in Israeli custody as political prisoners, and have routinely condemned Israel’s use of prison as a means of dismembering Palestinian political and social life in the occupied territory.
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Addameer has reported that 40 percent of the male Palestinian population has been detained by Israeli authorities at some point in their lives.
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THE STRUGGLE IS FAR FROM OVER ….
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In Photos … NYC rally brings Palestinian prisoner solidarity to the heart of Times Square

Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Zachariah Barghouti

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Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Joe Catron

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Photo: Joe Catron

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New York City activists and supporters of justice in Palestine came together in Times Square on Wednesday, 24 May for an event in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.
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The event, Portraits4Palestine, was organized by Existence is Resistance and thePalestinian Youth Movement, with the participation of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, BAYAN USA, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the International Action Center, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine and the US Palestinian Community Network, as well as Al-Awda New Yorkand the Syrian American Forum. Participants took photos holding signs in support of the prisoners and distributed information, engaging with passers-by.
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The rally went on for over two hours as each group spoke about the prisoners and chanted in support of the Palestinian struggle and the prisoners’ hunger strike. Adnan of Samidoun led chants in Arabic and English as participants waved signs and banners in support of the strike, which began on 17 April 2017. 1500 out of a total of nearly 6500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched the strike for basic human demands, including an end to the denial of family visits, proper health care and medical treatment, the right to access education, and an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.
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Joe Catron of Samidoun spoke at the rally, saying that “the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle is a century old, like the broader Palestinian national movement against Zionist settler colonialism. It will not end today or with the Strike of Freedom and Dignity.” He encouraged people to continue to organize and invited all to attend the upcoming protest on Friday, 26 May to support the prisoners outside the Best Buy in Union Square.
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BAYAN USA also shared information about the campaign to stop the declaration of martial law in Mindanao in the Philippines. They denounced martial law as leading only to further militarization, destabilization and neoliberalism, a threat to the people and their rights. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its solidarity with the Filipino people and the demand to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao and confront potential US involvement and the “war on terror” framework.
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The rally was of great interest to many passers-by, with various people coming to join the rally after seeing the protest and finding out more about the Palestinian prisoners’ strike. One mime performing in Times Square joined the protest and sang Palestinian songs in support of the prisoners.
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Many more actions are being planned to support the prisoners’ strike in New York City. On Friday, 26 May, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network will gather outside the Best Buy in Union Square at 5:30 pm for a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike.
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The protest will also urge the boycott of HP products, as Hewlett-Packard is engaged in extensive contracts with the Israeli occupation military and prison system; it is part of a global day of action for the 40th day of the strike, called by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee. All are encouraged to attend and join the demonstration.
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Rally report FROM

GAY PRIDE IN IMAGES ~~ INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA

Today, and every day, I stand with our LGBT community to stop discrimination around the world

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Live and let live.

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Canada leads the way … “Privileged to be part of a generation living in a country where I can be open about who I am, marry who I love.”

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Latuff adds the following ….

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Bottom line is …

Today, I ask all of you to fight hatred, honour love, and defend LGBTQ2 rights as human rights.

DAY 30 OF HUNGER STRIKE FOR DIGNITY AND JUSTICE

Hunger-striking prisoners are calling for 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 — among other demands for basic rights.

Image by Latuff

Day 30 .. more than 1700 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, be with them!

Barghouthi to stop drinking water as Israel fails to respond to hunger strike’s demands

As the mass “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike in Israeli prisons entered its 30th day on Tuesday, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs announced that leader of the strike Marwan Barghouthi will stop drinking water in response to Israel’s continued refusal to respond to the hunger strikers’ demands.

Participants in the strike, now involving some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners, have been refusing food and vitamins since the strike began on April 17, drinking only a mixture of salt and water as sustenance.

Hunger-striking prisoners are calling for 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 — among other demands for basic rights.

The committee’s statement quoted lawyer Khader Shqeirat as saying that Barghouthi’s decision to escalate measures by refusing water would be “a new turning point in the ongoing open-ended hunger strike.”*

The Israeli government, the statement said, is responsible for leading the prisoners’ along a “tragic and disastrous road” and putting hunger strikers in imminent danger, by taking “a criminal stance regarding the just demands of prisoners.”
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According to the committee, Barghouthi insists on transparently achieving all of the demands made by the hunger-striking prisoners under his leadership, without bargaining or making compromises.
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The committee also called upon the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly to hold an emergency meeting regarding the prisoners’ strike, to oblige the Israeli government to respect prisoners’ rights enshrined under international law, and to call on Israel to end its policy of inflicting a “slow death” on the Palestinian detainees.
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On Monday, reports emerged in Israeli media that Palestinian security officials and officials of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, were attempting to reach an agreement that would end the hunger strike.
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As Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has previously said the demands would only be addressed once the strike was ended, Palestinian officials warned their Israeli counterparts that such an approach would spark an escalation of popular protests that have been staged daily since the strike began — many of which have erupted into violent clashes.
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Meanwhile, hunger-striking prisoner Karim Yunis, the longest serving Palestinian prisoner, insisted that any legitimate negotiations must include leaders of the strike such as Barghouthi, and rejected reported attempts by Israeli intelligence as “false and futile negotiations aimed at breaking the hunger strike in exchange for empty promises.”
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A statement released Tuesday by the media committee established to support the strike warned that striking detainees have “entered a critical health condition,” marked by chronic vomiting, vision impairment, fainting, and an average weight loss of 20 kilograms.
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“In spite of this, (hunger strikers) sent many messages confirming that they will continue the strike until their demands are achieved,” the statement affirmed.
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The media committee said that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has continued to isolate strike participants from the outside world through the use of solitary confinement and restricting lawyer visits for the majority of detainees — in spite of a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision compelling IPS to lift the ban on lawyer visits, which was imposed since the first day of the strike.
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Hunger-striking prisoners have also been prohibited from receiving family visits outright, and face continuous arbitrary prison transfers in an IPS attempt to break up the strike.
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On Monday, IPS moved 36 hunger-striking prisoners from Ofer prison to a so-called field hospital at Hadarim prison, according to the media committee.
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The committee reiterated concerns about the field clinics — set up by Israel in anticipation of the mass hunger strike to avoid transferring the prisoners civilian hospitals.
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“In these clinics, the role of doctors resembles the role of jailers who offer all kinds of food to the sick detainees and bargain them to provide medical treatment in return for ending the strike,” the statement declared, denouncing the field hospitals as unfit and ill-equipped to provide medical care, and merely just another section for holding and pressuring the detainees to break their strikes.
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The hunger strike’s media committee also reported that the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called the group working on the cause of Palestine, during its meeting in Jeddah, to launch campaigns to support the Palestinian striking detainees and put pressure on Israel to respond to their demands.
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Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners’ solidarity network Samiduon highlighted that Palestinian circus performer Muhammed Abu Sakha, has been participating in the strike since its first day.
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Abu Sakha has been held without trial or charges since December 2015, which has inspired an international campaign demanding his immediate release.
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Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer reported on Thursday that following the expiration of Abu Sakha’s detention on June 11, the Israel’s Supreme Court decided to limit the extension of his detention to three months, following a successful petition by his lawyer.
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Abu Sakha is among 500 of the 6,300 Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention, according to Addameer.
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THE DEMANDS …

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The Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs reiterated the list of demands of the strike, which were issued by Marwan Barghouthi, who is serving a life sentence in Israeli prison:
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1. Install a public telephone for Palestinian detainees in all prisons and sections in order to communicate with their families.
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2. Visits:
• Resume the second monthly visits for Palestinian prisoners that were halted by the International Committee of the Red Cross last year.
• Ensure the regularity of visits every two weeks without being prevented by any side.
• First- and second-degree relatives shall not be prevented from visiting the detainee.
• Increase the duration of the visit from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
• Allow the detainees to take pictures with their families every three months.
• Establish facilities to comfort the families of detainees.
• Allow children and grandchildren under the age of 16 to visit detainees.
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3. Health care:
• Shut down the so-called Ramla Prison Hospital, because it does not provide the adequate treatment.
• Terminate Israel’s policy of deliberate medical negligence.
• Carry out periodic medical examinations.
• Perform surgeries to a high medical standard.
• Permit specialized physicians from outside the Israeli Prison Service to treat prisoners.
• Release sick detainees, especially those who have disabilities and incurable diseases.
• Medical treatment should not be at the expense of the detainee.
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4. Respond to the needs and demands of Palestinian women detainees, namely the issue of being transported for long hours between Israeli courts and prisons.
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5. Transportation:
• Treat detainees humanely when transporting them.
• Return detainees to prisons after the visiting clinics or courts and not further detain them at crossings.
• Prepare the crossings for human use and provide meals for detainees.
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6. Add satellites channels that suit the needs of detainees.
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7. Install air conditioners in prisons, especially in the Megiddo and Gilboa prisons.
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8. Restore kitchens in all prisons and place them under the supervision of Palestinian detainees.
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9. Allow detainees to have books, newspapers, clothes and food.
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10. End the policy of solitary confinement.
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11. End the policy of administrative detention.
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12. Allow detainees to study at Hebrew Open University.
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13. Allow detainees to have end of high school (tawjihi) exams in an official and agreed manner.
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STARVING FOR JUSTICE ~~ THE LATEST IN TOONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

Netanyahu can use all methods; torture, solitary confinement,propaganda & fake videos, but will NEVER break the will of a free Palestinian

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Also in Turkey

International support for the strikers growing daily

Xristoforos Triantafillos II holding my toon in a protest in Athens calling for Pizza Hut boycott after mocking Palestinian hunger strikers

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“We are not in search of death. We are looking for real life.”
.Free Palestine from Israeli terrorism.

SUPPORT THE HUNGER STRIKE BY BOYCOTTING PIZZA HUT

An image shared by Palestinians on Facebook to promote the boycott of Pizza Hut for its alleged Facebook post, with imagery of a prisoner and an Israeli watchtower emblazoned on the chain’s famous logo.

Pizza Hut runs ad mocking hunger strike leader Barghouti

Pizza Hut’s franchise in Israel on Monday released an ad poking fun at Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti following the recent release of video footage showing him secretly eating a candy bar and cookies in his prison cell.

The ad drew widespread criticism from Palestinians and a call to boycott the chain, which issued a quick apology.

In the ad, which it posted on its Facebook page and later deleted, the pizza chain put a banner in Hebrew over a screenshot from a clip released by the Israel Prisons Service on Sunday of Barghouti eating. It read, “Barghouti, if you are already going to break the hunger strike, isn’t pizza better?”

The ad also included a photoshopped Pizza Hut box on the floor of the prison cell, as well as a piece of pizza in the sink.

In response to the ad, a large number of Palestinians called for a boycott of the pizza chain on social media.

From

Click HERE to see related video

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I hope you’re now aware that the Boycott Pizza Hut campaign isn’t as “funny” as your advertisement!

 

ISRAEL’S NATION-STATE BILL IS A CORNERSTONE FOR APARTHEID

The nation-state law is the constitutional cornerstone for apartheid in the entire Land of Israel.

The nation-state bill must not be allowed to pass.


Israeli ministers back nation-state bill delisting Arabic as official language

A Cornerstone of Apartheid

Israel’s ‘nation-state’ law must be stopped – the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among all its citizens in law

The nation-state bill, which the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved unanimously on Sunday, is a bad bill. Nobody denies that Israel, as the bill says, “is the national home of the Jewish people,” or that “the right to the realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

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The Jewish people’s right to national revival in the Land of Israel was recognized back in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and approved by the League of Nations Mandate in 1922. On November 29, 1947, this right was reaffirmed and recognized by the UN General Assembly as well.

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“We … hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,” reads the Declaration of Independence. Similarly, the state’s Basic Laws define Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. And aside from all this, just last week, Israel celebrated the 69th anniversary of its independence.

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Nevertheless, this bill is bad, because the only legitimate way to ensure the state’s Jewishness is for Israel to be a democracy that grants full equality to all its citizens, but which also has a Jewish majority. Any situation in which Jews were a minority in Israel, and the state’s Jewishness was maintained solely via discriminatory laws and a regime that enforced them against the majority’s will, would be undemocratic, and in any event would certainly not be viable over the long run.
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The only explanation for why Israel is advancing this bill is the millions of Palestinians whom it keeps under its control in territories that it fantasizes about annexing. Because Israel is interested in applying its sovereignty to the land but isn’t interested in annexing the Palestinians who live there as equal citizens in a single state, it is forced to create the legal infrastructure for segregating Jews from Arabs and preserving the Jews’ legal supremacy. The nation-state law is the constitutional cornerstone for apartheid in the entire Land of Israel.
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The nation-state law is fundamentally antithetical to democracy, as it seeks to enshrine the rule of a Jewish minority over an imagined Arab majority. This is a fearful and aggressive move by a people that sees itself as a minority and is preparing to maintain control over an apartheid state that contains a Palestinian majority living under its rule. Yet even before that point is reached, the law discriminates against members of Israel’s Arab minority and legally labels them as second-class citizens.

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The nation-state bill must not be allowed to pass. The only way to preserve the national home of the Jewish people is to separate peacefully from the occupied territories and liberate the Palestinian people. And the only way to preserve a democratic Israel is to enshrine equality among its citizens in law, in line with the promise of the Declaration of Independence: “complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”
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The above is the lead EDITORIAL in today’s HaAretz.

GOOD MORNING FROM A HUNGRY PALESTINE

Today all of Palestine is on strike in solidarity with the fasting prisoners and tomorrow is a day of indignation, demonstrations, and confrontations with the occupiers. Bethlehem is a ghost town and all shops and public transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters are in the skies. [Volunteers came to museum and we are taking a group on tour of the wall and impact of settlements n the environment because this is not work but resistance]. Tomorrow is a day of demonstrations and confrontations. In this message I just want to reflect on why this is very important.

More than 1800 of our freedom fighters are on their 11th day of Hunger Strike inside Israeli occupation jails.

 Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Every day we encounter greedy people focused on their own needs and unhealthy desires. How many cheated us? How many come around us because they want some material interest? How many corrupt politicians we know? How many people we know turned out to be kinder and gentler and more self sacrificing than we thought? How many turned out more mean, more selfish, more sadistic? Looking at the world in this fashion (some would claim it is seeing reality) can be truly dispiriting. It can remove any remaining humanity in many people. But then comes a prisoner hunger strike! It sounds small but it touches a cord in human beings bigger than any other and I will argue it is the way to reclaim our humanity.

Today, Palestinians and their friends around the world show solidarity with over 1800 Palestinian political prisoners who are on their 11th day of hunger strike. Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met (basic decent treatment in prison based on international law). It sounds simple but this is a profound even in Palestinian and human history. The price one pays for resistance is injury, death or imprisonment. It is the antithesis of selfishness and greed.

800,000 Palestinians tasted life in prison and today almost 7000 are there in the colonial apartheid Israeli prisons. While everyone knows this, the hunger strike brought the prisoners’ message home to all – rich and poor, greedy and self-sacrificing, honest and liar. This message is nothing short of that we humans must reconnect to our humanity and that caring for others is the way to save humanity. In this 21st century with weapons of mass destruction and climate change, we cannot afford as a species to do otherwise. Prisoners show us the way like many decent human beings showed us the way before (think of Jesus and prophets and revolutionaries like Che Guevera). But the alarm bells for us are now alarm bells for a dying species unless we act. It is more urgent than ever in our short history on earth. We really have a choice to make and it is both an individual and a collective choice. That choice is to either accept war and greed as “natural” and follow the other human lemmings over the cliff OR resist and give of ourselves as a way to save humanity.  Mahatma Gandhi used hunger strike to refocus people away from greed and selfishness to caring for each other. Hunger is painful and people will die sooner or later unless we all act. What is at stake is very high: our own self-respect (dignity) as human beings. But as the world changed, the danger is that we can also go extinct as a species unless we manage to collectively transcend a huge baggage of greed, colonialism, and  capitalism that cannot be sustained in the 21st century. Palestinian prisoners by their silent deeds of self-sacrifice have shown us the way. As did martyrs like Basil Al-Araj who simply noted that in his extremely short last words on paper: there is no more eloquant speech than the deed of the Martyr.

Kkalil Gibran wrote in “The Prophet” 1923: “You give but little when you give of your possessions; it is when you give of yourself that you truly give.  For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?  And what is fear of need but need itself.” The prisoners and the martyrs gave silently of themselves. For the rest of us, where we stand today and tomorrow will say a lot about who we are.

Here is a relevant article I wrote seven years ago “The Savior in Each of Us”

ASSORTMENT OF TOONS ~~ FROM A HUNGRY PALESTINE

Collection is FROM

Organizations and individuals which side with Palestine are welcome to reproduce the following cartoons on hunger strikers!

1500 of our freedom fighters are on their 7th day of Hunger Strike inside Israeli occupation jails.

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For the 7th day, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails continue their open hunger strike.

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Good morning from Palestine .. !

From Latuff

Why we strike ….

Statics you SHOULD know about the miserable conditions at the Israeli jails..

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