“The so-called ‘Battle of the Empty Stomachs’ was started by 1,600 Palestinian political prisoners in 17 Israeli penitentiaries, and was followed in many others, as a firm response to the arbitrary arrests, physical and psychological torture, and moral humiliation to which they have been subjected to by Zionist authorities.”
Ahmad, the representative of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) in Cuba and a member of its Central Committee, in an interview with the Trabajadores newspaper denounced the barbarous methods used against those prisoners in an attempt to break their will and popular resistance to Israeli occupation.
“This,” he said, “is a violation of their human rights as well as international laws that establish the treatment of prisoners of war. These norms are stipulated in the Geneva Convention and should be applied to their situation. That’s why they are fighting in this battle against the inhuman policy of repression and humiliation.
“These protests and strikes inside prisons have extended to the entire Palestinian population in the occupied territories and to countries where they have taken refuge.”
Walid, who is also member of the Palestinian National Council, warned about the dangers that threaten the hunger strikers and said that their refusal to eat has been maintained for more than two months with serious risks to their lives.
“Some of the arbitrariness of their detention is demonstrated with so-called ‘administrative detention,’ which is a monstrous Zionist measure by which Palestinian citizens can be arrested without apparent cause and kept in prison — without trial — for long periods of time, even years,” he added.
The DFLP leader said these prisoners suffer physical torture and other expressions of cruelty, such as isolation whereby they’re separated from the rest of the prisoners and kept in solitary confinements with no communication with the outside. This deprives them from receiving family visits as well as food supplies to keep them alive.
“Medical care by the Israeli authorities isn’t only rare but non-existent. It can be added that prisoners are prohibited from receiving any medicine. All of these vicissitudes, needs and inhuman conditions have caused the death of hundreds of members of the resistance movement.
“After the 1967 Six Day War and up to now, more than 700,000 Palestinians, almost 20 percent of the population — mostly young people, women and even children — have been arrested and confined in state prisons of Israel Zionist government.” Today, the number of Palestinian political prisoners has reached more than 5,000, of whom 527 are serving life sentences, 449 have been sentenced to more than 20 years, some 447 others to 15 years and others given from 10 to 15 years.
“The Zionist prisons are designed to break the rebellious spirit of our people and to prevent the patriotic rebellion from expelling Israel from the illegally occupied territories. This is a cause we will never give up.
“We’re fighting to take the situation of our prisoners to the International Court, the International Criminal Court and even to the Security Council of the United Nations for these individuals to be considered prisoners of war and covered under the accords of the VI Geneva Convention. In this way we are beginning a political and humanitarian battle on their behalf.
“It’s necessary also to know that Palestinian prisoners are in jails outside the occupied territories of 1967, and this is another flagrant violation of international laws.
“In our demand for their release, we are counting on international solidarity and support of many nations like Cuba that have always supported our just cause,” he said in conclusion.