The following letter was presented Monday night to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by a mother of a Palestinian prisoner currently on hunger strike. The mothers who wrote and signed the letter requested that Abbas pass the letter to U.S. President Donald Trump during the meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
23 May 2017
Mr. Donald Trump, President of the USA
Pennsylvania Avenue, 1600 Washington DC
On this holy land, 37 days ago, 1500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike. They chose to starve themselves in defense of their dignity and to protest their deprivation of basic rights. We the families suffer with every second that passes as the risk over their lives is multiplying. Do our prisoners have to experience martyrdom to achieve the most basic of rights and do we have to be reunited with them once they are corpses instead of welcoming them home alive?!
This hunger strike entering now its sixth week comes against the backdrop of the continued arbitrary imprisonment of thousands of Palestinian prisoners who were forcibly transferred out of the occupied territory who endure alongside their families inhumane restrictions and violations of their rights on a daily basis. The prisoners are demanding the right to see their children, and contact their families, proper medical care and the end of torture, ill-treatment, isolation and other arbitrary and collective measures against them. International law avails these rights and more.
We, families of prisoners, are demanding that our children are not abandoned to die in the occupation jails. Hundreds of our sons, fathers and husbands are now struggling against imminent death in what Israeli is calling field hospitals and which are in fact the same prisons where they are detained, showing disregard to their health, human dignity and lives.
Those prisoners were arrested by Israel as it is trying to impose its control over the land and the people, and they are part of the 800,000 Palestinians who were arrested since 1967. This mass arrest transformed us into a nation held captive, a nation of prisoners, and made of every Palestinian home a prisoner’s home. We urge the world to support the Palestinian prisoners in their struggle to ensure respect for their rights, guaranteed by international law as an indispensable step towards securing freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. We Palestinians have a lot to offer to the world. We have offered role models in all fields, from within jails and outside of them, and we pursue life and our people who have endured sacrifice to achieve freedom dream of a day where our children will grow in a free country, in safety and in peace.
We believe you have the ability and the necessary influence over the occupying Power’s government to end the suffering of our children in Israeli prisons. You have stated you wanted to achieve peace and peace starts with ending the Israeli war against our children, our homes, our land, our existence and our rights. The Israeli refusal to respect the most basic rights of our prisoners and its inhumane measures against them and against us, and its threats against their lives are the best indicators of its intentions. We call upon you to urgently intervene to save the lives of our prisoners from the risk of imminent death and to help achieve their just demands.
As the leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is heading this hunger strike, has said: the last day of the occupation will be the first day of peace.
Families of prisoners in Israeli occupation jails