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What We Should Offer for Prisoners
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
May 14, 2017

Tel Aviv did not hide its fear that the activities of solidarity with the prisoners in their hunger strike, would turn into an uprising in the occupied Palestinian territories. The brutal suppression for the solidarity rallies that took place throughout the West Bank, also deepened the occupation's concerns about the growing influence of the "prisons' revolution" on the Palestinian political and field scene, as the strike is entering its third week and hundreds of prisoners are joining their fellow strikers.

Therefore, prison administrations are breaking into prisoners' cells and confiscating salt in an attempt to break the strike. But the steadfastness of the hunger strikers and their determination to continue until their demands are met, have confused the occupation, and put it in front of difficult scenarios in case that some of them are martyred by these confiscations and writing off the "salt and water" formula that regulates the hunger strike.

It is an open battle ,fought by the prisoners and depends their victory not only on their steadfastness , but also on the level of political and field support that enables them to achieve their demands and to reach their freedom.

The campaign of supporting the prisoners to make their way to freedom begins with the correct definition for their cause with its integrated political, legal and human aspects. Any attempt (in understanding and behavior) to dismantle this equation will bring down the issue of prisoners, and dismantle its fundamental attachment with the national liberation program for the Palestinian people, as they basically have reached where they are located because of their struggles under the banner of this program.

Therefore, The captives' movement has formed one of the foundations of the Palestinian national action and played an active role in its course, and perhaps It is the unique aspect that characterizes the Palestinian national liberation movement from the other national liberation movements in the region and the world. In light of the circumstances in which the prisoners are living, with their different factional and intellectual belongings, the unity of suffering has contributed in the reinforcement of the unity of the confrontation which was expressed by the various strikes that were carried out by the captives' movement and enabled it to achieve many of its demands.

Thus, it has formed a model in front of the general Palestinian political situation, also the captives' movement could participate strongly on the attempts to save and strengthen the national unity. Including its role includes the unifying document that the movement formulated and presented before the Palestinian situation through the "Prisoners' Document" and was approved by the representatives of Fatah, the Democratic and Popular Fronts (DFLP and PFLP), Hamas and Jihad Al-Islami, in Israeli prisons.

In addition to the fundamental political factor, that governs the issue of prisoners, the humanitarian social aspect plays an important role in determining the position of this issue, at the top of the Palestinian agenda, in connection with the large number of Palestinians who have been subjected to arrest campaigns. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is the cause of every Palestinian family in the occupied territories.

Therefore, it is normal that any development within the Israeli prisons, especially the hunger strike and the life of prisoners at risk, will immediately be reflected in the Palestinian society through a wide and active movement and support for the steadfastness of prisoners, in the face of the oppressor. This matter highlights the need to direct this movement according to a unified national program that gives the popular and political momentum in support for the prisoners' struggles.

We believe that this is not possible without the integration of political and popular roles on the ground. Here, it highlights the role which is assumed by the Palestinian official leadership, which has the keys of political and diplomatic action and is primarily concerned with taking serious steps to support the captives' movement in its battle with the jailer, should be highlighted.

It is unreasonable to talk about supporting for the prisoners and standing by their side without activating Palestine's membership in the International Criminal Court and its joining to the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the prisoners of war; and without going directly to this court and submitting immediate complaints about the extensive violations against the Palestinian prisoners, by torture, isolation, medical negligence and cutting their ties with their families, in addition to the occupation administrative detention continuation and extending it for several times.

It is also unreasonable to talk about supporting the prisoners without launching the popular movement in its solidarity support with their cause, in direct confrontations with the occupation, and without quitting of the restriction which is practiced by the PA security services toward this events. But the most important in the required position of the Palestinian official leadership is to stop the security coordination with the occupation, which has formed one of the pillars of the Israeli security establishment in confronting the Palestinian youth uprising and seeking to abort it and limit its expansion.

It is regrettable that some people are "boasting" of their ability to "thwart" many Palestinian operations in resisting the occupation and its settlers. However, Tel Aviv and Washington are not satisfied with this role, and they demand the PA to rehabilitate its security services, so that it can carry out the task of suppressing the anti-occupation popular movement immediately.

That happens by the negligence of national consensus resolutions, especially the «central council», which called for halting the coordination with the occupation, and perhaps, it is important to emphasize that supporting the prisoners in their strike is directly related to expanding the clash with the occupation politically, diplomatically and on the field, and supporting the popular and political campaigns in boycotting it economically until the completion of the boycotting nationally, regionally and internationally, and ending the attempts of marginalizing this boycott under various claims.

While the prisoners are the initiators in their trying to heal the Palestinian internal rift, both sides of division are continuing to adhere to their own accounts and policies, and ignoring the decisions of the comprehensive national dialogues, including the National Accord Document, which its implementation ensures the end of division and the restoration of unity.

What we are witnessing between the Fatah and Hamas movements debates, not only affect the future of internal national relations, but also which the supposed role for all to support the prisoners in their open battle against oppression of the jailer.

Supporting the prisoners is not only by a sit-in here or a civil meeting there, it is a commitment to the national liberation program, in all its axes, which are integrated; which revives the Palestinian situation and enhances its ability to act and influence in the field and politics, and to provide the serious political support for the issue of prisoners to get their freedom.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is an Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rawda Abu Zarqa
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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