All together for the release of detainees in the Israeli occupation prisons
On ocassion of Palestinian Prisoner's Day and the year of international solidarity with the Palestinian people, the First European Conference in Defense of Palestinian Detainees was convened in the German capital Berlin on the 26th and 27th April 2014 under the auspices of the Palestinian Expatriate Department of the PLO and the Palestinian Embassy in Germany. Various European countries were represented (Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, and the Basque Country). In attendance were also the celebrated attorneys Felicia Langer and Jamil Al-Khatib, and a number of ambassadors and representatives of the Arab countries in Germany, together with representatives of Palestinian organizations, human rights advocacy associations and Palestinian detainees advocacy associations (Supreme council of Palestinian detainees' affairs , Addameer Association, the Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights "Hurryyat", Abu Jihad Center for Political Prisoners's Affaris, Defense for Children Internacional, the Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture, and the Arab Association for Human Rights from Nazareth). Also have participated of the Conference many Palestinians residing in European countries and South American countries.
In an atmosphere replete with the spirit of perseverance and resistance that comes from the steadfastness and heroism of the Palestinian detainees' movement, and which are subjected to the ugliest campaigns of daily repression and punishment by prison administrations in the course of it open war against the male and female detainees, and the repressive and humiliating practices repulsive to human decency, and the grievous abuses against international law, deliberate medical negligence, and the policy of solitary confinement and collective punishment, the daily recurrence of forced entry into cells and wings of the prisons, the use of gas, violent assaults on prisoners, strip searches, and administrative detention.
This conference was convened as part of the activities of the Year of International Solidarity with the Palestinian People which was announced by the UN to this year 2014, and is an expression of the growth in international support and solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle to end the Israeli occupation, to realize the legitimate national rights of the Palestinians, including the right of return, of self-determination, and of establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The entry of the state of Palestine into a number of international agreements, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions, marks an important development for the detainees in Israeli occupation prisons and places Israel as an occupying power with the associate responsabilities enshrined in International Law, because, as required under the third and fourth Geneva Conventions the detainees in occupation prisons have become prisoners of war and are subjet to all rights of prisoners guaranteed under international humanitarian law, and Israel's abuses against their rights are war crimes that carry criminal responsability on the part of occupying state. This should allow the state of Palestine to appeal to international justice, particularly when it entered into the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, to prosecute the occupying country for the crimes it commits against the rights of detainees.
Over the course of two days, the conference portrayed the situation of the detainees and the abuses which are commited against them by the authorities of the occupation, just as it openly condemned the policy of the occupation against the detainees and expressed its solidarity with the struggles of the prisoners' movement, and saluted their steadfastness, their heroic struggle, and their ongoing efforts to push for their rights, notably the legendary steadfastness of ex-detainee Samer Al-Issawi who held the longest hunger strike in human history.
After intensive and broad discussion, the conference confirms the following recommendations:
A. At the political level
1 Insistence upon the national rights of the Palestinian people and mainly the right of return and self-determination and the foundation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, an end to the negotiations overseen by the Americans, which have through blatant partisanship, strengthened the occupying power, and working towards a new strategic concensus of resistance based upon the resolutions and decision of the United Nations, ending settlements growth, and the unconditional release of all detainees from the Israeli occupation prisons.
2 The conference called for enrolment in international bodies and especially in the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court which would allow the Palestinian state to present to international justice the crimes which the occupying state has commited against the Palestinian people.
3 To use all possible means to broaden a state of unity and to increase cooperation between functionaries and the official and popular organisations, and to intensify our people's efforts to secure the release of the detainees in occupation prisons and to secure the support of popular international opinion in favour of their release.
4 Petitioning the European Union to reassess their trade agreements with the occupying state, in the shadow of the continuation of their violations of international law against Palestinian people.
5 To strengthen and support the BDS movement. The conference also welcomes all European cultural, economic and media foundations who have officially announced their boycott of Israel and the cessation of their cooperation with the occupying state.
B. At the international level
1 To strive towards internationalising the case of the detainees in order to show the ill-treatment that they live in the occupation prisons, through the creation of a state of international solidarity in nations of the world in support of the detainees case and to expose the continuous serious abuses of international law.
2 To form a legal European-Palestinian committee of experts and legal specialists to present the detainees cases to international jurisdiction through initiating law suits before the national and international courts prosecuting all Israeli politicians and soldiers who have committed crimes against the detainees rights.
3 The conference called for the formation of a broad international parliamentary alliance to push for the release of imprisoned representatives from occupation prisons and organising visits to Israeli prisons for European delegations inspect the detainees conditions.
4 To form a medical committee of doctors and specialists to save ill detainees from dying in occupation prisons, and to providing them medical treatment.
5 To form a support committee to present all forms of meaningful and substantial support to detainees and their relatives, particularly in the spheres of media, education and politics, as well as in social sphere and solidarity with detainees.
C. At the media level
1 The conference welcomes those broadcasting and journalist foundations that are making a huge effort to expose Israeli practices and confirms the need to expand its role and to use electronic media and social networking sites to further these aims.
2 The conference calls for the organisation of broad-ranging activities of solidarity and publicity to push for the release of ill detainees, female detainees, children detainees, and imprisoned representatives, and the return of the bodies of martyrs from Israeli cementery of numbers.
3 The conference confirms the rights of detainees to education, vows to collect and publish the intellectual and cultural production by detainees, and welcomes the success of the Candles of Freedom exhibition at the Abu Jihad Center for Political Prisoners Affairs in this sphere.
The conference recommended the formation of a program of work that encompasses all recommendations that resulted from it, confirmed the convening of further regular conferences, and welcomed the willingness of a number of representatives from European countries to receive the second conference of the European Alliance in Defense of Palestinian Detainees next year to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners Day.
Glory and eternity to the martyrs of Palestine
We salute our detainees languishing in occupation prisons
We salute resistence of our people' sons, in homeland and in exile