Palestinian Prisoners' Hunger Strike Gathering Support - ADC

Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike Gathering Support

Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike Gathering Support

  • August 27, 2004
  • 0 Comments

Send letters to the State Department
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) urges you to contact the State Department and your local media outlets to raise awareness about the ongoing Palestinian prisoners hunger strike. 
The strike, which began on August 15, calls on Israeli officials to address a wide range of issues concerning the inhumane treatment of prisoners by guards, as well as the overall harsh and deplorable conditions of the prisons themselves. Prisoner’s rights groups and families of those serving in the facilities have also arranged and carried out sit down protests. People and organizations all over the world are fasting in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners. Proposed dates are Saturday August 28 and Sunday August 30.
The prisoners are requesting the cessation of humiliating and unnecessary strip searches, more frequent family visits, improving sanitary conditions, installing public telephones, providing better medical care, allowing prisoners to pursue their education by registering at Palestinian and foreign universities, reducing prison crowding, and “ending the policy of beating detainees en route to courts.”
Israeli reaction so far has been to impose further restriction on the detainees, and psychologically torture them. Prison officials have also deprived the protesters of any water and salt, making the hunger strike extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. Security Minster Tzahi Hanegbi commented, “As far as I’m concerned they can strike for a day, a month, until death. We will ward off this strike and it will be as if it never happened.” Israel has a responsibility, under international law, to assure the civil rights and safety of people under its occupation, including Palestinian prisoners.
At a time when the U.S. is gearing up for the Presidential election, it is imperative that concerned Americans take action to aid the prisoners. For you convenience, ADC has drafted a letter that you may send to the State Department and your local media outlets to express your concern. The text of the letter is provided below but you can also click here to email this letter via ADC’s website: http://capwiz.com/adc/issues/alert/?alertid=6295041&type=ML
This campaign is part of a larger effort by many groups including, American Muslims for Jerusalem, American Ramallah Federation, Arab American Institute, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, International Solidarity Movement, Non-Violence International, Palestine Center, and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
PROPOSED TEXT OF LETTTER
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 202-647-4000
Fax: 202-647-2283
E-mail: Secretary@state.gov.
Over the past week, approximately 2,264 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails have joined a hunger strike to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions that they must endure. The demonstration has also gained momentum outside prison walls with family members of those incarnated, as well as civil rights groups, participating in widespread sit down protests through out the occupied territories. In addition, people and organizations all over the world are fasting in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners. Proposed dates are Saturday August 28 and Sunday August 30.
The protests call on Israeli officials to address a wide range of issues concerning the terrible treatment of prisoners by guards, as well as the overall harsh and deplorable conditions of the prisons themselves. The prisoners are requesting the cessation of humiliating and unnecessary strip searches, more frequent family visits, improving sanitary condition, providing better medical care, allowing prisoners to pursue their education by registering at Palestinian and foreign universities, reducing prison crowding and “ending the policy of beating detainees on route to court.”
In response to these demonstrations, Israeli officials have imposed even further restrictions on those participating in the hunger strike, held a barbecue and ate outside Palestinian prisoners’ cells. They also deprived the prisoners of all fluids, including water. Security Minster Tzahi Hanegbi commented, “As far as I’m concerned they can strike for a day, a month, until death. We will ward off this strike and it will be as if it never happened.”
Amnesty International, among other human rights groups, have long reported a history of violent abuse towards Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli jails. Records show incidents of blindfolding, handcuffing tightly, prolonged kneeling and squatting, prohibition from using the toilet, denial of blankest, and severe beatings. In one military police detention in Gush Etzion, prisoners complained about “kicking, slapping, being confined to small, cold coffin-like cells.” These gross violations of human rights have lead Amnesty International to declare that “detentions accompanied by ill-treatment sometimes so severe as to amount to torture,” breached international human rights treaties “which Israel has ratified, including the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” For more information see: www.amnesty.org
Israel has a responsibility, under international law, to assure the civil rights and safety of people under its occupation, including Palestinian prisoners. The ongoing military occupation has led to over 2000 Palestinian deaths since September 2000, the demolition of as many homes, and a massive economic crisis. Contributing to the sub par humanitarian condition are the ever-expanding settlements, which continue to unlawfully infringe on nationally recognized Palestinian territory and to make movement with in the occupied area extremely difficult.
I would like to reemphasize the accountability of Israel towards those people, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or race who live under its jurisdiction. The dreadful prison environment and the dehumanization and torture of Palestinian prisoners by guards and officials should be dealt with in a timely and just manner. The current military occupation must adhere to international humanitarian laws and guard the basic fundamental rights of every person under its control.
Please take immediate action to persuade the Israeli government to change its prison policies, end its brutal treatment of prisoners, and provide humane living conditions in accord with international law.
Sincerely,
Your Name

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