Whenever I conduct an interview with a Palestinian prisoner or their family, I am told, repeatedly, that “no one cares. But is this really the case?
After nearly two months of arbitrary detention, brutal interrogations, a hunger strike, and sexual harassment, 31-year-old Suha Jbara is expected to be released from Palestinian Authority custody in the next two days. Jbara, a Palestinian activist with American and Panamanian citizenship, was arrested by PA security forces on November 3rd over accusations that she collected and distributed money through “illegal methods,” a claim herself and her family vehemently deny. Her father spoke to Mondoweiss about the “nightmare” that his daughter and family have experienced over the past two months.
Palestinian leaders announced the end of the prisoner hunger strike as a major success last week, but Israel has denied it ever negotiated and stated no demands were met. Reports have since emerged alleging a secret meeting took place between Israeli and Palestinian officials where the two sides set terms to end the strike but neither has disclosed the deal. Sheren Khalel talks with one hunger striker who says if the reports are true the strike can easily start again. “In two or three months if we see the demands haven’t been met, we will go back on strike, and the next time won’t be the same as the last, a second hunger strike would be much stronger,” Ali Brijieh says. “If the Israelis think that we are not able to do another hunger strike, I can promise you they’re wrong.”
Palestinian hunger strike leader Marwan Barghouti released his first statement today since an announcement that the 42-day strike ended on Sunday, bringing to a close to the longest collective protest organized by Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s history. The statement lauds gains from the strike and describes how Israeli guards punished protesting prisoners during the six-week strike. Barghouti said he could resume the strike in the coming months after the close of the Ramadan holiday if planned negotiations with Israel’s prison service fail.
Palestinian-American social worker Aida Qasim writes a poem inspired by the more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike who entered their 25th day of strike on May 11, 2017.
Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Mandela Square in Ramallah on Wednesday to support the more than 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 17 days in Israeli jails. Demonstrators took to the street while Mahmoud Abbas was meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. According to Haaretz, the Trump administration has asked Abbas to end government payments to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails. Palestinians will strongly disapprove if Mahmoud Abbas concedes to Trump’s request. Ahmad Al Akra, a demonstrator in Ramallah, said, “[Abbas] has been compromising more of our freedom and so far nothing has been accomplished. And I think this might be the final straw.”
Aarab Marwan Barghouti, the son of jailed Palestinian official Marwan Barghouti who is leading a hunger strike of more than 1,500 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons, gave a boost to prisoner solidarity campaigns by releasing a video of him drinking a bitter mixture of salt and water. The clip closes by asking others to participate in his “salt water challenge” in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers.
Nearly 100 Israelis sign onto an open letter endorsing Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, “We, a group of conscientious Israeli-Jews, would like to express our deep respect and solidarity with you – the 1,500 or more Palestinians who embarked on a collective open ended hunger strike to demand your basic rights.”