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May 14, 2012

Witness – The Great Book Robbery

[youtube http://youtu.be/myvobIkwkNM?]
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Their Fate is in Our Hands May 17th : 24 hours of hunger in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

lundi 14 mai 2012, par La Rédaction

Coming Thursday, May 17, will mark a month to the hunger strike, with over 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails participating in it. As Israel refuses to accept the prisoners’ demands for their basic rights, including humane treatment, many of them face immediate risk of death as the world watches over in silence.

The prisoners have decided to live in dignity or starve to death in their isolation cells, and a global mobilization is urgently needed to break the deafening silence ! A month into the hunger strike, join a

Global 24-hour hunger strike
In front of Israeli embassies, consulates and UN offices
May 17, 2012

Endorse the Palestinian civil society call for a boycott of G4S due to its complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian prisoners’ rights

Background
More than two weeks ago, some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners have launched an open-ended hunger strike and their life is in danger. Their demands are simple and the strike’s slogan, echoing through the prison walls, is just as plain- freedom or death. The lives of all prisoners on strike are currently under danger, but among them is a smaller group, which has been striking for a longer period and whose lives are under immediate threat.

Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diab have not eaten for more than 70 days – since the 29th of February. Israeli courts have rejected their appeals and refused to free them from administrative detention where they remain without charge or trial, subject to secret evidence and secret allegations. They are in critical condition.

Hassan Safadi has been refusing food since the 2nd of March, Omar Abu Shalal, 54, since the 4th of March, Mahmoud Sarsak, the only Gazan to have been incarcerated under Israel’s Illegal Combatants Law, since the 24th of March, Mohammed al-Taj, 40, also since the 24th of March and Ja’afar Ezzadeen, 41, since the 27th of march.

The Prisoners’ key demands include :

- Ending the policy of solitary confinement and isolation ;

- End to the use of administrative detentions ;

- The restoration of visitation rights to families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip, a right that has been denied to all families for more than 6 years ;

- Canceling ‘Shalit’ law, which restricts prisoners’ access to educational materials as punitive measure. The law remains intact despite a prisoner swap deal last October ;

- Ending systematic humiliation, including arbitrary strip searches, nightly raids and collective punishment.

Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have been hit hard with retaliation from Israel Prison Services, including beatings, transferring from one prison to another, confiscation of salt (an act that could have severe health consequences for hunger strikers), denial of family and lawyer visits, and isolation and solitary confinement of hunger strikers.

In response, Human Rights Watch issued a statement chiding Israel’s over its administrative detention policy ; it said, “It shouldn’t take the self-starvation of Palestinian prisoners for Israel to realize it is violating their due process rights.” Amnesty International also issued a call for urgent action from individuals around the world to contact Israeli authorities about Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh.

Emphasizing imprisonment as a critical component of Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid practiced against the Palestinian people, Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations have called for intensifying the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to target corporations profiting directly from the Israeli prison system. In particular, we call for action to be taken to hold to account G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, which helps to maintain and profit from Israel’s prison system, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.

Signed :
Popular Struggle Coordinating Committee
Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

Reference

Source

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Why so little condemnation of Israel’s extremism?

Thaer Halahleh wrote a letter to his wife Shireen from an Israeli jail in February: “My detention has been renewed seven times and they still haven’t charged me. I can’t take it any more.” Then the 34-year-old began a hunger strike, as did Bilal Diab. That was 77 days ago. Both are Palestinians, fathers, whose young daughters are strip searched and terrified when they visit. David Rose, an exceptional investigative journalist and Jewish himself, recently publicised their stories. Eight others have been on the same, silent, self-wasting, wasted protest. Halahleh’s eyes were bleeding, blood instead of tears. He, Diab and others may well be dead by the time you read this. Last Friday, Supreme Court judges in this hubristic democracy turned down an application from civil rights groups to have the men moved to civilian hospitals. They didn’t want, perhaps, their own citizens to witness such stuff. What would that do to the image of the plucky little nation, surrounded by real and imagined threats?

The moralistic Chief Rabbi will not be on “Thought for the Day” expressing sorrow for the treatment of these prisoners. Ardent British Zionists will not be pressed to condemn those responsible for the state barbarism. You certainly won’t get a big TV hit like Homeland, (based on Hatufim, an Israeli TV series that fictionalised the capture by Palestinian militants of the IDF soldier Gilad Shalit) being made about these men. Come on, you cool, edgy TV chaps, how about a film about a handsome Palestinian held by the Israelis till he loses his mind? Do I hear a choral “No”?

Western opinion formers have been indifferent, in some cases knowingly so, about what is happening. No condemnations are heard around our Parliament. They say we must have freedom of speech, but that right is never evoked when it comes to Israel. The BNP and EDL can spread their racist poison freely, but Baroness Jenny Tonge is savaged by Zionists and her own party for saying that nation “is not going to be there forever in its present form”. She has just quit the Lib Dems. If she had uttered the same words about, say, Zimbabwe, she would have been acclaimed.

A large number of enlightened British Jews see the double standards and object to Israel’s intransigence. It must be so hard to do what they do, behave with integrity and empathise with those they are instructed to hate.

The detained Palestinians are embarked on peaceful, Gandhian protest action. They want their families to be able to visit without restrictions, decent medical treatment, not to be put into solitary confinement for years on end, to be taken to court and tried. How is that “terrorism”? With the 1981 IRA hunger strikers, of whom 10 died, even the most anti-Republican British newspapers published pictures and told us what was happening. TV too covered their journeys to the very end.

With these slowly dying inmates and the 6,000 others locked up without due process, there is nothing, nada. I never knew until this week that since 1967, 700,000 Palestinians have been detained. Not all were innocent but nor were all of them guilty. To be a Palestinian, to want equality, rights, freedom and land is not a crime. Except that for hardline Israelis, it is.

Their country is protected from censure partly because of fears that any criticism of its actions is potentially “anti-Semitic”. Some anti-Semites do use Israel as a cover, but then Israel uses that fact to tar and warn all legitimate criticism. Its governments do what they damn-well want and claim perpetual exceptionality. Their darkest deeds are thus left unscrutinised. This time though, it is suddenly dawning on some key people, among them the hapless Middle East saviour Tony Blair, that these “martyrs” could trigger another Intifada. He is urging Israeli officials to “take all measures to prevent a tragic outcome that could have serious implications for stability and security”. Why, he even uttered the words “human rights”. The UN and other bodies have intervened. They will all be rebuffed, so monstrous are the egos of the ultra-right wing leadership. In any case Netanyahu et al can point – and with absolute validity – at Guantanamo Bay and our own prisoners held without trial. They are all in it together.

Blair is right to be fearful. Every time a hunger striker dies, even more inchoately angry young Muslim men will be radicalised and turn murderous. Some are raised in the West filled with rhetoric about freedom, democracy, fairness and justice and then witness the betrayal of Palestinians. That dissonance between principles and reality makes them, perhaps, even more enraged than the Palestinians themselves who have low expectations and few illusions. This is not making excuses for terrorists, it is just a reality check.

I truly want Israel to survive and thrive but it is becoming its own worst enemy. British activist Tom Hurndall, 21, was sheltering a Palestinian child from Israeli bullets in Gaza in 2003, when he was killed. His candid journals have just been published. Read them and mourn the idealistic young man and the loss of all idealism in Israel.

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk

source

A Syrian voice

N.Z. at Walls

We Syrian are at a crossroad. Syrians have proved after 14 months that they do not think in sectarian terms. But make no mistake, the bad and the ugly are working slowly but surely. Reuters today: “Syrian troops … overran a rebellious Sunni Muslim village west of the city of Hama” Just read how Reuters chose to word its news. The west is eager to turn the legitimate struggle against dictatorship into a sectarian struggle. For some it was clear. The gulf countries are part and parcel in this dirty game, as evil as Assad and his regime. Syrians who are hymning either the first or the latter are spreading the fire. The likes of Narwine Sharmini are plenty, to stir the Syrian agenda in certain direction, sectarian one. There are many like her. They are not in the resistance camp, nor pro Palestinians, they are the stirrer of hell on earth. Those thousands of noble men did not want to die, they were murdered for wanting dignity and social justice for all Syrians. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain….are autocratic ruling government, they know they are next in line..perhaps that is why it is in the interest of all greedy nations to elongate our struggle for freedom. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/13/us-syria-killings-idUSBRE84C04E20120513

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