On Monday, April 17th, 1500 of the 6500 Palestinian Political Prisoners (which includes 300 children, 60 women) launched a collective hunger strike to end abusive inhumane conditions inside Israeli prisons. The prisoners’ demands are not for their release, but for basic rights Israel routinely denies them (including family visits and phone calls, proper medical care) and for an end to solitary confinement and “administrative detention” (indefinite detainment without charge or trial). Black4Palestine issues the following message:
Black4Palestine extends our solidarity and support to the 1,500 Palestinians who are now in the 10th day of their Freedom and Dignity Hunger Strike in Israeli prisons.
Hunger strikes, as they have been used in struggles for liberation across the world require commitment from an individual's mind, body and spirit. They are an outward sign of commitment to the community, to the struggle, and to each other that their physical detention will not thwart their ability to move forward in the liberation of their people and land. We support the prisoners in their steadfast determination.
We recognize the violence of Israel’s ongoing use of administrative detention to create political prisoners and stifle Palestinian resistance. As fighters for Black Liberation we understand the support and release of Political Prisoners as a core organizing principle and commitment. We understand that fighting Israel’s occupation and illegitimacy requires that we fight back against the criminalization and imprisonment of Palestinians. Israel thrives off of the incarceration of Palestinians and Africans (mostly from Sudan and Eritrea), targeting both populations due to the “demographic threats” they pose to the state.
Similar to the experience of our Palestinian comrades, the United States government continuously tries to silence and neutralize our liberation movement through incarceration and targeted assassination. The US has readily used force feeding, a practice recognized as torture by the UN, to neutralize prisoners on hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay. We know that Israel is ready to do the same, with its supreme court recently deeming force feeding a constitutional practice.
We urge our people to understand that prisons are institutions of social control against poor and oppressed communities and a way of suppressing movements based in human rights in the US and Palestine. The largest purveyors of violence and crime (the war machines of the US and Israel) remain free, while we are imprisoned for trying to exist or resist in the violent world that they create.
As participants in the Black Liberation Movement and Indigenous Sovereignty Movement approach 40 and 50 years of imprisonment by the United States, we reiterate a call for the freedom of all our political prisoners from Pennsylvania to Palestine.
We also wish to honor Rasmea Odeh, a survivor of Israeli sexual assault, torture, and political imprisonment, as she ends a chapter of being targeted and harassed by the US government. We salute Rasmea, who has been a vocal advocate for Palestine and for the Black struggle in the US wherever she goes. We salute all the unnamed Palestinian women who have experienced sexual assault by Israel, to the women prisoners, and to the women who maintain their homes while their children and husbands are behind bars.
United we fight against prisons, united we fight for Palestine, and united we fight for the people!