On Tuesday, September 18, 2012, as Palestinian hunger strikers Samer al-Barq, Hassan Safadi and Ayman Sharawna struggle for their lives within Israeli prisons, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank launched a campaign of arrests throughout the area, rounding up 60 political activists, including youth organizers, journalists, writers and former political prisoners. The arrest total has now risen to 114 and none of the detainees have been released. Act today to demand immediate freedom for the arrestees!
Among the detainees are at least 35 freed prisoners, including some freed in recent weeks from Israeli jails. Fuad al-Khuffash, director of the Ahrar Centre in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners – and who has now declared an open hunger strike – was one of the arrestees, as was journalist Walid Khaled, released from occupation prisons only 2 weeks prior. Among the detainees, rounded up by the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence and Preventive Security, are participants in the recent hunger strikes in occupation prisons and a number of recently freed prisoners. Adel Shawamra, one of today’s detainees from Bethlehem, was recently released after 13 years in Israeli prisons.
The PA’s role here is nothing new. As part of the Oslo Accords and its subsequent security corollaries, the Palestinian Authority and its Preventive Security/General Intelligence have acted as security subcontractors for the Israeli occupation, trained by US military officials (such as Gen. Keith Dayton) to round up Palestinian resistance fighters and political dissidents.
It is not coincidental that these arrests come shortly after mass protests in response to economic inequality swept the West Bank, soon focusing on the Oslo Accords and their economic corollary, the Paris Agreements. The existence of Palestinian Authority security forces engaging in “security coordination” with the Israeli occupation, effectively undermining the Palestinian resistance, links directly back to the Oslo Accords.
Amid Hassan Safadi’s hunger strike, his brother Saleh was arrested by the PA; Palestinian prisoners including Ahmad Sa’adat, Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Ahmed Qatamesh and many others have spent time in PA prisons as well as Israeli prisons. This practice has been part and parcel of “security cooperation” with the Israeli occupation from the earliest days of the Palestinian Authority.
As we mark the nineteenth anniversary of the Oslo Accords with a series of PA arrests, we also note that there remain 111 prisoners who have been imprisoned since before the Oslo accords – these prisoners remain inside the occupation’s jails to the present day. Prisoners throughout the Israeli prisons engaged in a one-day hunger strike on Thursday, September 13 – the anniversary of Oslo – and again on Tuesday, September 18 – demanding the freedom of these long-time prisoners. Just as Oslo did not bring freedom, justice or liberation to Palestine, nor did it for its prisoners, a group of Palestinians who despite their centrality to the Palestinian national movement – were ignored and excluded from the Oslo “peace process.” Oslo’s latest victims – the political detainees in the West Bank – are demanding freedom. Act today to support their freedom and united Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid, occupation, and settler colonialism.
1. Email the Palestinian Embassy or PLO Mission in your country. Click here for a list of contact information. Act now to send this email message! Make it clear that Palestinians around the world and international activists stand together to confront occupation, end security coordination, and free these detainees – including the former prisoners who have already given so much to the Palestinian struggle for liberation.
2. Call the Palestinian Embassy or PLO Mission. This is a case where phone calls can make a real difference! Palestinians and internationals around the world can raise their voice and demand action. Phone numbers for some missions follow: PLO Delegation in Washington, DC: 202-974-6360. Palestinian Mission to the UN: 212-288-8500. Palestinian General Delegation in Ottawa, Canada: 613-736-0053. Palestinian Mission UK: +44 (0)20 8563 0008. More may be found here!
3. Act to support Palestinian prisoners in occupation prisons. Hassan Safadi, Samer al-Barq and Ayman Sharawna are all still on hunger strike demanding their freedom! Write now to take action to demand their freedom from occupation prisons!