TODAY’S TOON ~~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. PRESIDENT

Image by Latuff

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE RAMADAN IN GAZA

Video: Ramadan in Gaza

Ramadan, a time of worship and joy for Muslims around the globe, is mixed with sadness in Gaza.

During Ramadan three years ago, Israel launched a massive military offensive that would last 51 days and claim more than 2,200 Palestinian lives.

The many families in Gaza who lost loved ones during that offensive, and the ones that came before it, feel little joy in their absence.

Successive Israeli military offensives, and a decade of blockade, have destroyed Gaza’s economy, further clouding Ramadan.

But Palestinians in Gaza try to carry on with Ramadan traditions – sharing meals with family and visiting neighbors after a long day of fasting, enjoying qatayif sweets and and carob and tamarind drinks.

Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.

IN PHOTOS ~~ UNITED STRUGGLE ~~ US OUT OF PUERTO RICO // ISRAEL OUT OF PALESTINE

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Newsletter of Veterans for Peace

 

AFTER 50 YEARS ISRAELIS MUST DISRUPT THE ‘NORMALCY’ OF THE OCCUPATION

One of the most disturbing aspects about the reality in Palestine is its normalcy.

It has become normal to see Palestinians shot and killed, even children. The faces of young Palestinians showing up daily on social media, boys and girls shot by soldiers, accused falsely of attempting to stab a soldier.

It has become normal to see Israeli soldiers shooting skunk water and tear gas, and snipers using live ammunition at unarmed protesters who want the land that was once theirs and the freedom they never had.

Image by Latuff

Why Israelis must disrupt the occupation

And it has become normal for us to engage in the endless, fruitless debate on whether Palestinians throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers who invade their homes constitutes violence, or whether or not Zionism – which produced this violence – is a racist ideology. And all the while the suffering and the oppression of millions of Palestinians go on almost uninterrupted.

It is no secret that Israelis and Palestinians live two separate realities.

Even when we privileged Israelis go to the village of Nabi Saleh on a Friday to participate in the weekly protest, at the end of the day we are free to leave the village, leave the occupation and return to our safe, clean, well-paved spheres. Unlike the Palestinians we leave behind, our homes will not be raided, our roads will not be blocked and our children will not have to hide for days or weeks from the threat of being shot, arrested and tortured.

We return home sweaty and tired, covered in tear gas and skunk water and we feel we did our bit. But what bit did we do? What is the role of the privileged Israeli activists within the resistance and why are we accomplishing so little?

To begin with we need to admit that this is resistance and ask whether we are willing to take part.

On any given Friday there may be about 10 Israeli activists, be it in Nabi Saleh or Bilin, currently the two main locations for Friday protests in the occupied West Bank. Some Israelis walk in the back, some in the front.

Shadows?

Some like to say they are merely documenting. Most, like shadows, don’t seem like they know their place and don’t want to interfere. Few confront the Israeli forces. So the question that begs to be asked is, what are we accomplishing?

If we don’t use our privilege to push the envelope and to confront the Israeli authorities, then we are indeed mere shadows.

My latest visit to Nabi Saleh was on 26 May, exactly two weeks after Saba Abu Ubaid, 23, was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a protest there.

The march began, as always, with people walking down the hill from the mosque after noon prayer, carrying flags and chanting. There were about 30 or 40 people (though in the charges that would be brought against me, the Israeli police claimed there were 200 protesters), mostly Palestinians with a few regular Israelis and other foreigners.

After a few minutes we were confronted by the Israeli forces who informed us we were to disperse.

How does one begin to describe the outrage? Fully armed soldiers on occupied land telling the people whose village they invaded that they must disperse. But in Palestine, this is normal so there is little outrage.

“Shoot them in the legs”

The usual pushing and shoving began and was then followed by the firing of tear gas, skunk water and, before too long, live ammunition. Considering what had taken place there just two weeks earlier, seeing snipers take their positions and take aim at the kids on the hills was cause for serious concern. I heard someone whose name badge identified him as Raja Keyes order the snipers to “shoot them in the legs.”

Nabi Saleh residents began sitting in front of the snipers to block their sights. More tear gas, more skunk water and more snipers followed.

Keyes was right next to me when he walked to a group of women and children watching the events from the side of the road and, with a smile on his face, threw a tear gas grenade at them. One of the mothers ran up a terrace to interfere with the snipers and was pushed around by soldiers. I ran up towards her, went around a young officer who tried to stop me and by the time I reached her they came for me.

Four or five officers, including Keyes had me in a tight grip. The officers were from Magav – although often described as “border police,” Magav is a unit within the Israeli military.

By that time, the officers had good reason to resent me and want me out of the way.

The photos and videos of my arrest made their way to social media, so suffice it to say they were not gentle and I was not compliant. (My arrest is at about 12:10 in the video below of the day’s events, made by Palestinian activist Bilal Tamimi.)

At one point after I was arrested, Keyes introduced himself formally to me as “force commander” and asked for my ID, which I did not have.

Later on, when I was taken away in the armored vehicle, he was seated in the front and I proceeded to tell him that he was no “commander” and he was not heading any “force” but rather they were all a gang of armed bullies.

But this is not about me or any other single activist. It is about the role that we Israelis can play which is unique because Israeli law provides us with a shield that Palestinians and international activists do not have.

It is not our role to play unbiased spectators or to document, nor is it our role to just follow along. We can get in the faces of the commanders and the soldiers and disrupt their work. In fact, one of the comments made constantly by the commanders is that we are “disrupting their work, and will be arrested for that.”

My response is that this is precisely the point! Why show up if we let them go about their business? When we are arrested we are always charged with disrupting officers on duty, even when we don’t, but that is exactly what we must do.

Along Highway 443 – sometimes known as the “apartheid highway” – there is a sign in Hebrew that says: “By order of the commanding general, Israelis are prohibited from entering the villages along this road.” When activists do go to the villages to protest, they challenge this command. But still, the shield that our Israeli ID provides us can be used to disrupt the normalcy of the occupation everywhere.

Israelis, even dedicated, well-meaning ones, do far too little and we use far too little of our privilege to challenge and combat the injustice meted out against Palestinians. Most Israeli activists won’t even call for refusal to serve in the Israeli army because they consider that too radical.

No one likes to be arrested, particularly when it involves a night or two in jail, sharing a smoke-filled room with no ventilation and no company save cockroaches and two-bit criminals who hate activists even more than they hate Arabs.

If we are to play a role in the overthrow of injustice, and if we are to one day see an end to the oppression of more than half of the people with whom we live, then we must use our privilege and act to end the normalcy and the oppression.

WHY BUILD WALLS WHEN IT’S EASIER TO JUST KILL THE POPULATION …

Video shows coalition forces using phosphorous munitions against ISIS
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 Amaq News Agency releases videos purporting to show US-led coalition using white phosphorous munitions in Raqqa in heavily populated areas in violation of international law.

Meanwhile ….

Supreme Irony In Gulf — Latuff’s Cartoon This Week

IN PHOTOS ~~ UNITED AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

Image by Latuff

In 30 cities throughout the U.S. fascistic hate groups held hate rallies on Saturday, 6/10.  They claimed that they were opposing Sharia Law which Muslims were intending to establish here.  Many of the participants were confronted by groups opposed to their anti-Muslim tirade with fights breaking out in some cities.  In NYC there was no violence – the anti- fascists outnumbered the hate groups many times over.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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IN VIDEOS ~~ DENIAL AND REALITY OF ISRAELI APARTHEID

First the denial …..

Now the reality …..

Thousands of Palestinian workers queue at this Israeli military checkpoint before dawn each day.

Video by Ahmad Al-Bazz, Haidi Motola and Anne Paq/Activestills.org

WEEKS’ END TOON ~~ WHO’S BEHIND THE ISIS ATTACK ON IRAN

The revelation comes a day after Reuters reported that the US risks being branded a war criminal for its support of the Saudi war in Yemen, which has led to thousands of innocent civilian casualties.

Image by Latuff

Did ISIS do Israel’s, Saudi Arabia’s, and USA’s bidding in Iran?

Related ….. (Click on link)

Leaked Clinton Emails Confirm Saudi Arabia, Qatar Funding ISIS

IT’S OFFICIAL ~~ ISRAEL IS THE 51st STATE OF THE USA

Diplomats, politicians, and community leaders celebrate Jerusalem’s liberation in unique ceremony connecting Israel and America.

Joint Congress-Knesset event marks Six Day War

In a unique, first-of-its-kind event, the US and Israel are holding simultaneous broadcasts of a trans-Atlantic celebration taking place in both the Knesset and US Congress.

NOT EVERYONE CELEBRATED THE OCCUPATION!

We can’t celebrate 50 years of occupation – but we can celebrate the just future we’re building together

TIMELY TOONS >>>> WHO’S BEHIND ISIS ATTACK IN IRAN

Iran’s foreign minister meets Qatar’s Emir

Saudi Arabia/UAE/Bahrain/Egypt cut ties w/ Qatar

ISIS attacks Iran

Take your own conclusions.

Images by Carlos Latuff

‘The answer my friends is blowin in the wind …..’

Wanna know who’s behind ISIS attack in Iran? Follow the money!


Saudi-US relations

ISRAEL BACKS SAUDI’S LATEST CONFRONTATION WITH QUATAR

Israeli officials have gleefully endorsed the position of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a growing confrontation with Qatar, the most public acknowledgment yet of the deepening alliance between certain Gulf states and Tel Aviv over their common enmity towards Iran.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Please bring another chair for Netanyahu to make the club complete…

Israel backs Saudi Arabia in confrontation with Qatar

Meanwhile, evidence has emerged of close cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and a key Israel lobby group to pressure Qatar over its support for the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia and several of its satellite states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed a blockade, cutting land, sea and air links to the country.

Regional media reported that shelves in stores in Qatar, whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia, were quickly emptied as residents feared a prolonged closure could lead to food shortages.

Justifying its decision, Saudi Arabia has accused Doha of “grave violations” such as “adopting various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region,” including the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and al-Qaida.

Israel’s “opportunity”

Israeli officials were quick to offer their support to Saudi Arabia.

“New line drawn in the Middle Eastern sand,” Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy, proclaimed on Twitter. “No longer Israel against Arabs but Israel and Arabs against Qatar-financed terror.”

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that the crisis was an “opportunity for cooperation” between Israel and certain Gulf states.

“It is clear to everyone, even in the Arab countries, that the real danger to the entire region is terrorism,” Lieberman claimed. He added that the Saudi-led bloc had cut ties with Qatar “not because of Israel, not because of the Jews, not because of Zionism,” but “rather from fears of terrorism.”

Chagai Tzuriel, a top official in Israel’s intelligence ministry, told The Times of Israel that Qatar was a “pain in the ass” to other “Sunni” Arab states allied with Israel.

Israel’s former defense minister Moshe Yaalon also expressed backing for the Saudi-led sectarian coalition. “The Sunni Arab countries, apart from Qatar, are largely in the same boat with us since we all see a nuclear Iran as the number one threat against all of us,” he said at a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Syria’s Golan Heights.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia continued to escalate the situation, suspending the license of Qatar Airways and ordering its banks to sell the Qatari currency.

Who supports “terror”?

While Saudi Arabia offered no evidence for its charges against Qatar, the accusations are rich coming from a regime that has been one of the biggest sources of funding to so-called jihadi groups going back decades.

But like Saudi Arabia, Qatar too has been accused of financing or allowing money to flow to ISIS and al-Qaida-affiliated groups in Syria.

Israel has also had no problem with al-Qaida linked groups, and even ISIS, in Syria, offering them various kinds of cooperation and material support.

So the source of Saudi ire must lie elsewhere. Qatar has for years, along with Saudi Arabia, been part of the counterrevolution to thwart or reverse the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.

Qatar was taking part in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, before being kicked out of the coalition this week.

The two-year bombing campaign in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians and brought the impoverished country to the brink of famine.

But Qatar has often found itself backing different horses: Doha supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, while Riyadh has backed the regime of Abdulfattah al-Sisi, the army chief who led the 2013 military coup that overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood president in Cairo.

These differences had soured relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia for years.

But Saudi Arabia may have been emboldened to act now, after US President Donald Trump gave full endorsement to strengthening a Saudi-led anti-Iran alliance during his visit to Riyadh last month.

Targeting Hamas and Iran

Qatar has continued to host the leaders of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas and has been under pressure to expel the group’s officials – Israeli media claims that Qatar did expel two officials are unconfirmed.

But the biggest difference appears to be that Qatar has not been willing to fully sign up to the Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran.

A deal in April in which Qatar allegedly paid about $700 million in ransom to release members of its royal family abducted by an Iran-affiliated group in Iraq reportedly enraged officials in other Gulf states.

Qatar also reportedly paid about $300 million in ransom to several al-Qaida linked groups in Syria, according to The Financial Times.

Also in April, Qatar lifted a self-imposed ban on developing a major maritime natural gas field it shares with Iran, which would necessitate cooperation between the two countries, according to the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz.

Things came to a head around the time of Trump’s visit and his summit with regional leaders.

Qatar’s national news agency published comments attributed to the country’s leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, calling Iran “a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored” and asserting that “it is unwise to face up against it.”

Tamim also purportedly said his country’s relations with Israel were “good.” Qatar has flatly denied the statements are real, claiming that the news agency’s website and social media accounts were hacked.

But the Qatar-based network Al Jazeera has cited the fake comments as a trigger for the crisis, accusing Saudi Arabia and its allies of using them as a pretext to move against Qatar.

UAE embraces Israel

Another factor is the close relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Hacked emails published by The Intercept reveal coordination between the Emirates ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba, and the neoconservative pro-Israel think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The emails reveal “a remarkable level of backchannel cooperation” between the Emirates and the think tank, which is funded by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to The Intercept.

The email exchanges included complaints from the Israel lobby group about Qatar’s support for Hamas “terrorists.”

An agenda for a meeting between leaders of the Israel lobby group and Emirates ambassador al-Otaiba scheduled for this month includes such items as “Qatar support for radical Islamists” including Hamas, Qatar’s “destabilizing role in Egypt, Syria, Libya and the Gulf” and the role of the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera network.

It also includes ways to reduce the influence Qatar gains from hosting a major US air base.

One of the items on the agenda is “Political, economic, security sanctions.”

The agenda is evidence that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies – a key player in Israel’s anti-Palestinian propaganda – was gearing up to deliver in Washington the anti-Qatar message coming from Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates.

US role

The leaked documents reveal that the Saudi-led bloc is troubled by the influence Qatar gains by hosting the massive American al-Udeid air base.

But this is precisely why the US, the overall imperial power, has no interest in a squabble among states that it views as vassals.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson affirmed the importance of US ties with all the states involved and offered to mediate, urging the feuding rulers to “remain unified.”

The US military lauded Qatar for its “enduring commitment to regional security” and affirmed it had “no plans to change our posture in Qatar.”

Qatar has taken these messages as signs of strong US support, but as ever Trump was quick to throw everything into doubt.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, appearing to directly endorse the Saudi-led campaign against Doha.

“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” he added. “They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism and all reference was pointing to Qatar.”

“Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism,” the president asserted. More likely, Trump is pouring gasoline on an already burning region.

A long-term goal of Israel has long been to divide Arab powers against each other, to “let them bleed,” as the official Israeli doctrine on Syria goes.

Whatever happens next, Israel will continue to benefit from the chaos and divisions that only strengthen its hand.

SEARS BOWS TO ZIOPRESSURE AND PULLS FREE PALESTINE LINE FROM ITS WEBSITE

Sears will remove clothing line featuring the slogan “Free Palestine” from its website following complaints.

One of the items offered

Sears pulls ‘Free Palestine’ clothing from its website

Sears said on Tuesday it will remove a line of clothing featuring the slogan “Free Palestine” from its website, JTA reported.

The clothing was offered for sale by another company, Spreadshirt Collection, and included tank tops, t-shirts and hoodies featuring a variety of pro-Palestinian messages.

The clothing was offered for sale through Sears Marketplace, which offers a platform for third-party sellers to offer their wares through websites managed by Sears.

The designs included a clenched fist in the colors of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag and statements opposing “Israeli occupation”.

Other shirts feature a map of Israel, labelling the entire country “Palestine” and calling for its liberation. One shirt flashes a V for victory sign, another superimposes the image of a masked man covering his face with a kaffiyeh onto a PLO flag.

A description of one shirt encourages buyers to “Make a statement about the Arab-Israeli conflict with this powerful design,” calling it a “must-have for all wardrobes”.

A Sears spokesman told JTA later on Tuesday the apparel was pulled from the site based on feedback the company received.

“These items were being sold by a third-party seller via the Sears Marketplace,” said the statement. “Given the feedback we’ve received, they are being removed.”

The statement added that Sears felt it had been “unfairly singled out on this issue,” as similar items are available for purchase from other companies, such as Amazon and Walmart.

Amazon sells some of the exact same items from Spreadshirt, as well as a wide range of other pro-Palestinian Arab merchandise, according to JTA. It is unknown whether Amazon or Walmart plan to take action against the merchandise.

The Sears statement noted that the company serves “a broad base of customers around the country and around the world,” and that it has 200 employees in Israel.

 

Source

#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)

RAMADAN MORNING ON MY PEACEFUL HILL

First read this to see what was ….. (Click on link)

“FEAR IS THE PATH TO THE DARKSIDE”…… FEAR BUILDS WALLS

Now read this to see what is ….. ‘How the dark side dims the light’

‘Death to Arabs’ spray-painted on Jerusalem cars

Multiple cars vandalized in French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem

Police are investigating a possible “price-tag” incident in the capital Monday morning, after a number of cars were vandalized.

The vandals targeted cars in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem, spray-painting messages in green paint including “Death to Arabs”.

French Hill, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, is in close proximity to the Arab neighborhoods of Issawiya and Shuafat.

The area is also home to a large number of students and faculty from the nearby Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus.

Authorities are investigating the possibility that the vandalism was targeted at the area’s Arab residents or students. Police units have been deployed to the scene and are searching the area for those responsible.

A NEW OPTION FOR HILLARY

Hillary phoned the president’s office shortly after midnight.
“I need to talk to the president, it’s an emergency!”, exclaimed Hillary.  

After some cajoling, the president’s assistant agreed to wake him up.
“So, what is it that’s so important that it can’t wait until morning?”, grumbled Trump. 

“A Supreme Court Judge just died, and I want to take his place”, begged Hillary.  

“Well, it’s OK with me if it’s OK with the mortuary”, replied President Trump. 

Still the best option for her ……

TOON OF THE DAY ~~WONDER WOMAN IS PALESTINES’ NEWEST ENEMY

Wonder Woman opens in theaters today, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot in the title role. The film is getting great reviews, but many are refusing the see it over Gadot’s support for the Israeli military, especially during the 2014 onslaught on Gaza. Here, Carlos Latuff imagines Gadot’s Wonder Woman being outmatched by her latest opponent, Mother Palestine.

Image by Latuff

‘ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST’ ….. CIA’s HALL OF FAME GETS A NEW MEMBER

Image by Carlos Latuff

Ex-dictator Manuel Noriega has died, a former U.S. ally to be added to the CIA’s Hall of Glory, along Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

What Americans didn’t know …… (Click on link)

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Manuel Noriega, who died earlier this week, had close ties to senior Mossad officials and the agency’s special ops commander Mike Harari. For years, the despot leader aided in countless top secret Israeli intelligence operations, which would not have gone ahead without his help.

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

 

IMAGE OF THE DAY ~~ CNN PROVES TRUMP TIES IN RUSSIA

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

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