Thursday, 20 January 2011

Israel's political prisoners 2011

From Henry Lowi:

The Zionists are patiently waiting for the opportunity to take military action to free the one and only IDF prisoner held by the Palestinian resistance, tank crewman Gilad Shalit.


Meanwhile, thousands of activists of the Palestinian resistance are in Israeli jails, prisons, and concentration camps. Some are guerrilla fighters. Some are elected parliamentarians. Some are women. Some are children. Many have been held without charges and without trial in “administrative detention.” All are political prisoners.

See the current newsletter of Women's Organization for Political Prisoners at

Read the story of Ali Jidaar:

The cream of Palestinian political activists are in Israeli prisons and concentration camps. They need to be released.

One of the lessons of the South African freedom struggle is the need to fight to free the political prisoners. All the strikes, boycotts, and mass demonstrations against the apartheid regime included the demand: “Free the prisoners! Free our leaders!” The only way the world heard the name Nelson Mandela was from the people’s demands to free him. From the demonstrators, F.W. de Klerk and the leaders of the apartheid regime learned whom the people trusted, and whom the regime had to speak with as representatives of the people.

The people identified their leaders and fought for their release.

In the case of Palestine, a broad campaign is needed to name and describe the political prisoners and demand their release.

Below are links with information about three leaders: Marwan Barghouti, Ahmad Saadat and Ameer Makhoul.

Marwan Barghouti is the leader of Fateh-Tanzim in the West Bank, elected in January 2006 to the “Palestinian Legislative Assembly” under Israeli occupation, and the most popular Palestinian political leader.

Ahmad Saadat is the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, also elected in the 2006 elections under Israeli occupation, and the main leader of the Palestinian left in the occupied territories and in the refugee camps.

When the Israeli prosecution found NO EVIDENCE of Saadat’s involvement in the assassination of Rehavam Zeevi, they transferred him to a military court. In the military court they charged him with "membership" in the political organization that he leads, and whose public face he is, and then convicted him. He is a political prisoner.

Ameer Makhoul is a central leader of grassroots political activism inside Israel, director of Ittijah network of NGOs, and chair of the Popular Committee for the Defense of Political Freedoms, imprisoned on trumped-up charges so as to neutralize him as a political activist and leader.

In this context, I must mention the ongoing saga of anti-democratic Israeli targeting of unrepentant dissident, Mordechai Vanunu. After serving a very long, very difficult, and very vindictive prison term (for a crime without a victim), Vanunu was released and subjected to onerous restrictions, totally undemocratic, imposed by a “Military Commander”: Don't speak to journalists Don't speak to anyone abroad. Don't try to leave the country, and the like.

Mordechai Vanunu is still a political prisoner.

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak is in Israeli prison as punishment for his political activity.

And, last but not least, Abdallah Abu Rahma of Bil’in in the occupied West Bank has been recognized by Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience”
Political prisoners have names and faces. We need to focus on the names and the faces, and demand the release of all political prisoners.

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