The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat – 12 Oct 2011
Palestinian prisoners have entered their third week of hunger strike. After two weeks of hunger strike, physical symptoms become increasingly severe and prisoners’ lives and health are ever more at risk. As prisoners have put their lives and bodies on the line to defend the rights of themselves and their people, international support and solidarity are continually escalating and much-needed.
The health of Ahmad Sa’adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Palestinian national leader who has been in isolation for two and one-half years and whose struggle is at the center of the demand for an end to isolation, is in crisis. Two lawyers visited Sa’adat on October 7 and October 9, and reported that he was fainting and vomiting – a direct consequence of the Israeli Prison Service’s confiscation of salt from prisoners. He has already lost over 7 kilos on the hunger strike. Nevertheless, no independent doctors or medical professionals have been permitted to examine Sa’adat. It is urgent that independent medical care reach Sa’adat – call and protest at your Israeli consulate or embassy or demand that the International Committee of the Red Cross take action to protect Sa’adat’s life!
Despite his own health crisis, when asked about the duration of the strike, Sa’adat responded: “We are going to continue. We will not accept these degrading conditions. Either we live in dignity or we die with our heads high.”
It is clear that if there are any consequences to Sa’adat’s health or life, Israel and its isolation policy bear full responsibility and have yet more blood on their hands – but silence is complicity, and the world governments, officials and authorities who allow this to continue without raising a word of protest are also responsible for the ongoing crimes against Palestinian political prisoners and the Palestinian people as a whole.
As of October 9, 300 prisoners were participating in a complete open ended hunger strike and 3000 in a partial hunger strike. Additional prisoners have been joining the strike on a daily basis – on October 10 and 11, over 1500 prisoners at Nafha, Ramon, Eshel, Asqelan, and Gilboa prisons have joined in the open-ended strikes
Hunger strike tents continue to grow in cities throughout Palestine – in Ramallah, Qalqilya, Nablus, Gaza, Salfit, Tulkarem, Nazareth, Haifa. Palestinian activists have gone on solidarity hunger strike and engaged in ongoing mobilizations throughout Palestinian cities. In Gaza, three international activists have joined in the solidarity hunger strikes. Demonstrations in front of Ofer and Asqelan prisons were organized by Palestinians in ’48 Occupied Palestine. On October 12, 2011, a general strike is expected to close businesses, schools and offices throughout Palestinian cities for hours, to express mass popular support for the prisoners’ struggle.
Negotiations to end the strike failed on Monday as Israeli prison authorities continue to disregard Palestinian prisoners’ rights. Prisoners have been repeatedly denied lawyers’ visits in several prisons. Prisoners have been increasingly denied salt or their salt confiscated – a potentially deadly action for Sa’adat and other hunger strikers.
Abdel Latif Gheith, Chair of the Board of Directors of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, was today slammed with a six-month ban on entry into the West Bank (as defined by Israel.) Gheith is a resident of East Jerusalem and was called to al-Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem to order him arbitrarily forbidden from entering the West Bank, a severe violation of his right to freedom of movement and obvious retaliation for his work in support of the prisoners’ hunger strike.
In Gaza, international solidarity activists have joined solidarity hunger strike tents. “Palestinian prisoners are bravely resisting a system that seeks to crush them, their families, their communities, and their national life. Their struggle deserves our full support,” said Joe Catron, an activist from the U.S. engaged in an open-ended hunger strike.
éirígí, an Irish republican socialist political party, held a demonstration in Dublin demanding freedom for Ahmad Sa’adat and supporting the hunger strike.
Protests took place throughout the U.S., including in San Francisco and at Occupy Wall Street in New York, in support of the hunger strike – and in solidarity with prisoners in California on hunger strike. Protesters called for the freedom of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners. See a video of a protest organized by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.
Greek organizations and social movements have stood in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, including Greek trade unionists, city councillors, and the Communist Organization of Greece.
Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, an Arab prisoner in French jails, joined the hunger strike as protests took place in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Paris. Activists in Denmark, Sweden and Italyjoined in the solidarity actions across Europe.
A play, Ana Hurra, supporting Palestinian prisoners and telling their stories, began a two-week tour of the United States, and activists on Twitter plan global solidarity hunger strikes.
TAKE ACTION TO SUPPORT AHMAD SA’ADAT AND ALL PALESTINIAN PRISONERS!
1. Picket, protest or call the Israeli embassy or consulate in your location and demand the immediate freedom of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners. Make it clear that you support the demands of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike! Demand that independent doctors and medical experts be allowed to examine and treat Ahmad Sa’adat. Send us reports of your protests at Israeli embassies and consulates.
2. Distribute the free downloadable Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat flyer in your community at local events.
3. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations to exercise their responsibilities and act swiftly to demand that the Israelis ensure that Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners are freed from punitive isolation. Email the ICRC, whose humanitarian mission includes monitoring the conditions of prisoners, at JER_jerusalem@icrc.org, and inform them about the urgent situation of Ahmad Sa’adat. Make it clear that Ahmad Sa’adat’s life and health are gravely at risk and that he must be permitted independent medical care, and that the ICRC is aware and responsible for any risk to Sa’adat’s life or health..
4. Join in the Twitter solidarity strike for Palestine – Tweet: My name is ( ) and I will go on a hunger strike on Wednesday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. #TweepStrike #HS4Palestine
5. Email the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat at firstname.lastname@example.org wi
The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’