<Palestine> Today is Palestinian Prisoners' Day. Across Israel's gulag, Palestinian prisoners have begun a hunger strike. Every political party - from the Palestinian People's Party (the former Communist Party) to Hamas - are behind the strike. The strike is known as Freedom and Dignity, touchstones of the human imagination.
The Prisoners' demands are:
1. Install a public telephone for Palestinian detainees in all prisons and sections in order to communicate with their families.
- Resume the second monthly visits for Palestinian prisoners that were halted by the International Committee of the Red Cross last year.
- Ensure the regularity of visits every two weeks without being prevented by any side.
- First- and second-degree relatives shall not be prevented from visiting the detainee.
- Increase the duration of the visit from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
- Allow the detainees to take pictures with their families every three months.
- Establish facilities to comfort the families of detainees.
- Allow children and grandchildren under the age of 16 to visit detainees.
3. Health care:
- Shut down the so-called Ramla Prison Hospital, because it does not provide the adequate treatment.
- Terminate Israel’s policy of deliberate medical negligence.
- Carry out periodic medical examinations.
- Perform surgeries to a high medical standard.
- Permit specialized physicians from outside the Israeli Prison Service to treat prisoners.
- Release sick detainees, especially those who have disabilities and incurable diseases.
- Medical treatment should not be at the expense of the detainee.
4. Respond to the needs and demands of Palestinian women detainees, namely the issue of being transported for long hours between Israeli courts and prisons.
- Treat detainees humanely when transporting them.
- Return detainees to prisons after the visiting clinics or courts and not further detain them at crossings.
- Prepare the crossings for human use and provide meals for detainees.
6. Add satellites channels that suit the needs of detainees.
7. Install air conditioners in prisons, especially in the Megiddo and Gilboa prisons.
8. Restore kitchens in all prisons and place them under the supervision of Palestinian detainees.
9. Allow detainees to have books, newspapers, clothes and food.
10. End the policy of solitary confinement.
11. End the policy of administrative detention.
12. Allow detainees to study at Hebrew Open University.
13. Allow detainees to have end of high school (tawjihi) exams in an official and agreed manner.
These are moderate demands, reasonable demands. Israel has already thrown one of the organisers into solitary confinement.
Marwan Barghouti, one of the most visible Palestinian political prisoners, has a beautiful essay in today's New York Times that lays out the politics of the strike, https://www.nytimes.com/…/palestinian-hunger-strik-prisoner….
We, at LeftWord Books, give you - on this Prisoners' Day - a new book that celebrates the culture of Palestine, a documentary account of the Freedom Theatre of Jenin. It is edited by Johanna Wallin, with design by Sherna Dastur and Sudhanva Deshpande. You can get the book here: http://mayday.leftword.com/…/rehearsing-free…/9789380118567/.
In a recent issue of Itijah, thanks to Orijit Sen's essay on solidarity from India to Palestine and back translated into Arabic - http://www.itijah.ps/…/%D9%81%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%B7%D9%8A%D9%86….
It was also fitting that today, on Hard Talk (BBC), the brave and brilliant United Nations official Rima Khalaf offered her views on the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia - ESCWA report and her resignation. When the segment is available on-line, I'll put in the link.
As we stand with the Prisoners today and onward through their struggle, remember the Prisoners' Document from June 2006, http://english.al-akhbar.com/…/The%20Prisoner's%20Document%…, which called for the revival of the Palestinian national project, for the creation of a new horizon. The strike that opens today directly emerges out of that document.