Internationals hold press conference in Gaza, express solidarity with Palestinian prisoners

by Julie Webb-Pullman

From left to right - Jenny Graham (Ireland), Mohammed Abedallah (translator), Tawfeek Abu Naim, President of the National Committee for Prisoners, Huda Julie Webb-Pullman (New Zealand and Australia), Joe Catron (USA), Rina Andolini (UK)

From left to right – Jenny Graham (Ireland), Mohammed Abedallah (translator), Tawfeek Abu Naim, President of the National Committee for Prisoners, Huda Julie Webb-Pullman (New Zealand and Australia), Joe Catron (USA), Rina Andolini (UK)

Internationals currently resident in Gaza held a press conference on Saturday evening outside the International Committee for the Red Cross to express support from groups in over ten countries for the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

Organisers said it was important on the 52nd day of the mass hunger strike to show international solidarity with the prisoners, and to support their demands for an end to administrative detention, as well as to the abhorrent practices of torture, child abuse and military trials perpetrated against Palestinians by the Israeli authorities, all of which breach international law.

The countries represented were: New Zealand, Australia, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Venezuela, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, and the United States of America.

Also speaking was Tawfeeq Abu Naim, head of the National Committee for the Prisoners.

Each international representative read a short statement, most of which are reproduced below.

Jenny Graham, Ireland

Jenny Graham, Ireland

IRELAND

    1. The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign sends solidarity greetings to the Palestinian political prisoners, and in particular salute those prisoners on the mass hunger strike for over 50 days in protest against prison conditions and Israeli internment without charge or trial.

    2. In Ireland we know only too well the pain and the tragedy of the hunger strike; dating back to Thomas Ashe, who died after being force fed by British occupation forces in 1917, Irish men and women have embarked on prison hunger strikes to secure their rights and freedom.

    3. Sadly, many of these fasts ended in death and martyrdom.

    4. We hope this will not be the case in Palestine today, we hope the mass hunger strike will be victorious and the internees will secure both their own freedom and an end to the occupation’s use of Administrative Detention, a practice illegal under international law.

    5. We call on the international community, the politicians and the peoples of the world to mobilise in support of the hunger strikers and to pressure the occupier to accede to the demands of the strike, to bring about its end before anyone is martyred.

    6. We call also for an end to the occupation’s use of the ‘conveyor-belt’ military court system, under which tens of thousands of Palestinians have been imprisoned since 1967. These are no more than kangaroo court trials, lasting on average less than three minutes and with a 99.97% conviction rate.

    7. Finally, we note that the occupation renders Palestine into one big prison camp, with millions of people imprisoned with no control over their lives, dreams or destinies. It is a situation that conscience demands cannot continue to be allowed to exist.

    8. The occupation must end. Apartheid must end. There must be freedom. There must be justice. There must be equality. Only then can there be a just peace.

    9. Victory to the hunger strikers. Victory to the Palestinian people. Free Palestine.

    Rina Andolini, UK

    Rina Andolini, UK

    UNITED KINGDOM

We, the students and young people in the United Kingdom will not wait until the death of another Palestinian prisoner to move in solidarity with all the detainees, who have been denied their freedom with sickening injustice and silence in Israeli jails.

The youth and young people are strongly involved in resistance against the illegal occupation, and are therefore arrested often, to stop the fight for the liberation of Palestine.

They are aware that students can expose them and their crimes to the world, especially now that so many are communicating directly to Western audiences .

We do not accept any method of torture that is used by Israel; the force feeding, the handcuffing, the placing of food in front of hunger strikers, the physical abuse – all illegal practices against humanity, many of which have resulted in the death of prisoners.

We are here to show our support for all the hunger strikers and all the political prisoners and will honour the courage of the prisoners and grow the movement in solidarity with them.

From the UK students and youth.

AUSTRALIA

    At a time when Australia is wrongfully designating East Jerusalem as “disputed” instead of “occupied”, a term long recognised under international law, activists and advocates for Palestine in Australia are appalled at our government’s immoral stance, especially in the face of Israel’s incontrovertible human rights abuses.

    We abhor Israel’s cruel and abusive policy of administrative detention often without charge, a proper trial and regardless of age.

    We support the Palestinian prisoners’ right to engage in hunger strikes to highlight the inhuman conditions under which they are detained and which are contrary to international law.

    We further abhor Israel’s resort to force-feeding, a form of torture and universally prohibited.

    We condemn these unlawful practices and policies associated with Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine and support the hunger strikes as nonviolent resistance tactics in the overall Palestinian struggle for rights and justice.

    Signatories:
    Australians for Palestine
    Women for Palestine

    Paola Manduca, Italy

    Paola Manduca, Italy

    ITALY

Sit in Rome Friday 13th, June 2014

Addameer and the Prisoners Committee in Palestine demanded:
• the official intervention of the International Red Cross to form a special medical team to follow the situation of the prisoners on hunger strike.
• A clear and explicit international denunciation of the occupation policy practiced by Israel
• the condemnation by the United Nations of the practice of administrative detention against Palestinian civilians, which violates the provisions of the Geneva Convention and other international conventions and agreements

We, the undersigned, support these requests fully and add a strong appeal to the Italian government, as President of the European Parliament for this Semester, to take a Parliamentary stand against violations of international law by Israel and towards the respect of human rights.

We also ask them to put pressure on the Israeli government to respect international human rights.

Before it is too late, we need to express a strong solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian prisoners

Issued by
Association “Friends of Palestinian prisoners”
Palestinian community in Rome and Lazio
- General Union of Palestinian engineers and architects
- Un ponte per….
– Roma network for solidarity with the Palestinian People
- Forum Palestina
- Committee “Palestine in our hearths”
- Boycot, Disinvest, Sanction (BDS) Roma
- Committee No Mekorot
– PdCI
- Commitee “Do not forget Sabra e Chatila”
- Assopace Palestine, national
- Radio Città Aperta
- Network of communists
- Association Friends of Palestinian Red Crescent
- Network No War Roma
- Confederation Cobas Roma

Campaign Against Torture

As a doctor, I am also a member of the Campaign Against Torture, formed five years ago in UK. It is directed to the medical profession and its associations, national and international, to denounce the systematic collusion of doctors in torture, which also occurs in Israeli, and the lack of response to the denunciations of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA).

We have 725 signatories, and are widely reported in medical journals like the Lancet and the British Medical Journal, as well as the press. In Israel, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is a member of our organisation.

We are also campaigning against the force feeding of prisoners, and demand that Israeli medical professionals refrain from participating in this illegal, immoral and unprofessional practice.

Huda Julie Webb-Pullman, New Zealand & Australia

Huda Julie Webb-Pullman, New Zealand & Australia

    NEW ZEALAND

NZ MANA MOVEMENT STATEMENT

Solidarity with the Palestinian struggle from Mana Movement

Kia ora koutou,

Mana stands squarely behind the Palestinian struggle for indigenous rights against Israel’s racist apartheid policies.

As a Maori-inspired movement fighting for tino rangatiratanga (self-determination) for Maori here in Aotearoa/New Zealand we support the Palestinian struggle against the brutal military occupation of their land and Israel’s medieval siege of Gaza.

We support the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners. Using one’s own body as a vehicle of struggle sends a potent message of condemnation for Israeli policies of land theft, mass murder and unspeakable inhumanity.

And to the Palestinian prisoners – kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui (Be strong, be brave, be steadfast)

In solidarity,
John Minto
Co-vice President
Mana Movement
On behalf of the Mana Movement

NZ UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

We represent a variety of students in New Zealand that want to voice our support alongside the prisoners.

We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners petitioning against their inhumane treatment in Israeli prisons.

Being kept prisoner without due trial is a violation against international humanitarian law and cannot go unchallenged, the international community has not done enough to prevent such violations.

#Water_and_Salt

STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND

Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Auckland are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian detainees and their families.

We demand the state of Israel to put an end to the practice of administrative detention and stop the injustice and suffering caused by the imprisonment of innocent people.

We also want to take this chance to call on Israel to stop the violation of human rights and end the Apartheid system.

Our thoughts are with the Palestinian people for who we demand freedom, peace and justice.

NZ PALESTINIAN SOLIDARITY GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS

We abhor Israel’s cruel and abusive policy of administrative detention often without charge, a proper trial and regardless of age.

We support the Palestinian prisoners’ right to engage in hunger strikes to highlight the inhuman conditions under which they are detained and which are contrary to international law.

We further abhor Israel’s resort to force-feeding, a form of torture and universally prohibited.

We condemn these unlawful practices and policies associated with Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine, and support the hunger strikes as nonviolent resistance tactics in the overall Palestinian struggle for rights and justice.

Signatories
Fr Gerard Burns, Catholic priest, St Joseph’s parish, Mount Victoria, Wellington, NZ
Leslie and Marian Bravery, Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa/New Zealand
Billy Hania
Janfrie Wakem, Palestine Human Rights Campaign NZ
Martin and Lois Griffiths, Earthwatch
Alastair Thompson, Editor, SCOOP Media

Joe Catron, USA

Joe Catron, USA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Al-Awda, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition and The Global Campaign for Palestinian Political Prisoners call on all people of conscience to take immediate action to help save the lives of all Palestinian political prisoners currently on hunger strike!

    These Palestinian mass hunger strikers have been detained by Israeli authorities without any charge whatsoever and there are reports that some are already in critical condition with vision impairment, vomiting blood and lapsing in and out of consciousness.

    The Israeli occupation authorities and courts continue to detain Palestinians under the “Emergency Law of 1945″, which was in force during the British Mandate of Palestine. This “law”, which violates international law, allows the Zionist authorities to detain Palestinians without trial or providing reason, and to repeatedly extend the term of detention. The Israeli authorities have also ratified the Unlawful Combatant Law of 2000, which allows the occupation state to detain Palestinians without charge or disclosure of the term of detention. There are currently approximately 200 Palestinian administrative detainees. The current mass hunger strikers are protesting prison conditions and administrative detention.

    TAKE ACTION NOW!

    Please join the voices and support around the world to save the hunger strikers and demand their immediate release from prison!

    Write to President Obama and voice your concern and demand that the US administration intervene to demand the immediate release of all the current hunger strikers, and all the administrative detainees and Palestinian political prisoners including children. You can use the online form.

    Also please Call US Secretary of State John Kerry at 1-202-647-4000 or Office of Near East Affairs at 1-202-647-7209. Demand that the Secretary intervene for the immediate release of all the hunger strikers, all Palestinian administrative detainees and political prisoners including the children.

    Organize rallies at Israeli embassies and consulates, and elsewhere. Help spread awareness through social media, and forward to all your contacts after you take action!

    Tawfeeq Abu Naim

    Tawfeeq Abu Naim

    Tawfeeq Abu Naim told the internationals that the prisoners want the world to know that Israel continues to commit atrocities against Palestinian prisoners with apparent impunity, and the international community must act, and act now, to prevent further abuses.

    He said the 206 Palestinian deaths in Israeli custody, from that of Aarafat Jaradat from toruture to the many more from medical negligence, are compelling evidence of the repressive practices being carried out behind closed doors, and contravene not only international law but also any sense of humanity.

    “The lack of accountability by the international community leaves the Israeli occupation above the law, and encourages increasing abuses and repression,” Abu Naim said.

    He listed the prisoners demands:
    - The free world must stand by Palestinian prisoners and demand the observation of their legal rights;

    - Human rights organisations must make the Palestinian cause, as well as the prisoners, an issue of global justice, and work to meet the hunger-strikers’ demands;

    - The international world and all of its institutions must internationalise the Palestinian prisoner issue, and raise it in international fora;

    Manu Abu Carlos - Spain, Venezuela, Chile, Cuba

    Manu Abu Carlos – Spain, Venezuela, Chile, Cuba

    The transcripts of Manu Abu Carlos’s speech was not available.

    Translation by Mohammed Abedallah
    Photographs by Charlie Andreasson

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