Strategic Palestinian Prisoners Struggle and Nakba Day
Get the Facts on Palestinian Hunger Strikes
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, 04/28/2017
An estimated 1500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers have declared the beginning of an open hunger strike on 17 April 2017. The call for hunger strike came amidst resentment of Israeli’s cruel policies towards political prisoners and detainees. The hunger striking prisoners’ demands include: family visits, proper medical care, an end to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial in so-called administrative detention and stopping the use of isolation. Here are some facts on Palestinian hunger strikes:
What is the History of Palestinian Hunger Strikes?
Hunger strikes have long been used in different geographical areas as means to protest and demand basic rights, including the right to vote, the right to be free from torture and the right to self-determination. The long history of Palestinian prisoners in mass and individual hunger strikes, reveals the lack of trust in any judicial process and the lack of fair trial guarantees they face under the military and civil court systems of the Israeli occupation. Palestinian prisoners and detainees have resorted to hunger strikes as early as 1968 as a legitimate peaceful protest to Israeli detention policies and cruel detention conditions including the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, inadequate medical treatment and torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
What are the Medical Risks of Hunger Strikes?
Hunger strikes have associated health risks that can cause physical damage to the prisoner or detainee, including severe loss of weight, weakness, tiredness, inability to sleep, hearing loss, blindness, strokes, kidney failure as well as other organ failures, cardiac arrest, and heart attack. However, despite these medical risks, through hunger strikes, Palestinians have been able to obtain basic and fundamental rights and to improve their detention conditions through hunger strikes.
How do Israeli Authorities Deal with Hunger Strikes?
Hunger strikes are often met with violent and coercive repression by Israeli Prison Service and special units, as well as medical personnel to push detainees to end their hunger strikes. Following hunger strikes, Addameer has documented several cases of raids on prison cells, transfers of hunger strikers to isolation cells, threats of indefinite detention, banning family visitation, reduction of money spent in the canteen.
What were other coercive measures taken?
In response to the use of hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners and detainees, Israeli authorities practiced force-feeding during the 1980s. It was subsequently ceased by order from the Israeli High Court following several deaths of Palestinian prisoners resulting from force-feeding. At the time of earlier hunger strikes, Israel practiced force-feeding of hunger-strikers in order to coerce detainees to end to their hunger strikes without any legislation to regulate this measure. Several Palestinian prisoners have died as a result of being subjected to force-feeding. These include Abdul-Qader Abu al-Fahm who had died on 11 May 1970 during a hunger strike in Ashkelon prison, Rasem Halawah and Ali al-Ja'fari, who died following the insertion of the feeding tubes into their lungs instead of their stomachs in July 1980 during a hunger strike in Nafha prison, and Ishaq Maragha, who died in Beersheba prison in 1983. Recently, a proposal for a legislation by the Israeli minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan was initiated in response to the mass hunger strike of 2012 with the purpose of putting an end to future hunger-strikes and depriving Palestinian detainees and prisoners of their fundamental right to peaceful protest. The bill was approved by the Israeli Knesset on the 30th of July 2015.
Since when have Hunger Strikes been used in Protest of Administrative Detention?
At least since the 1990s, Palestinian prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes as means to protest Israeli arbitrary use of administrative detention. Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. There are an estimated 750 Palestinians placed under administrative detention, including women, children, and Palestinian Legislative Council members.
In recent years, Palestinian prisoners and detainees have resorted to hunger strike to protest and increasing and systematic use of administrative detention by the occupation authorities. For example, in 2012, Palestinian prisoners and detainees declared a mass hunger strike, which involved nearly 2000 hunger strikers demanding the end of administrative detention, denial of family visitations to Gaza prisoners, isolation and other punitive measures. The 2012 hunger strike ended with Israel’s temporality limiting the use of administrative detention. However, few years later, the occupation authorities increased the use of administrative detention leading to another hunger strike in 2014 by over 80 administrative detainees asking for an end to the use of the arbitrary policy. The hunger strike ended after 63 days without forcing the Israeli government to limit the use of administrative detention.
Additionally, several Palestinian administrative detainees embarked on individual hunger strikes in protest of replacing them under administrative detention without charge or trial of several times. These individual hunger strikes included Mohammad Al Qeeq, Khader Adnan, Hana Shalabi, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Kayed.
Why do Palestinians Resort to Hunger Strikes?
Palestinian prisoners and detainees resort to hunger strike in order to protest and have their voices heard outside an unfair legal system which administers their arbitrary detention and the repression of their voices. However, Israeli occupation authorities have not managed to break the will of Palestinian hunger strikers who continue to use their bodies, in the absence of any adequate judicial remedies, to practice legitimate disobedience. Hunger strikers defy disciplinary power of control and domination; the body of the hunger striker thereby constitutes a medium through which power is shifted and recreated. The prisoners and detainees refuse to comply with the prison’s structured system of constrain and privation where they do not have full autonomy over their bodies. Thus, through hunger strikes, these prisoners and detainees re-gain sovereignty over their bodies through becoming decision makers over the prison authorities.
What Are Our Demands?
Addameer Prisoner Support urges supporters of justice around the world to take action to support the Palestinian prisoners whose bodies and lives are on the line for freedom and dignity. Addameer urges all people to organize events in solidarity with the struggle of hunger-striking prisoners and detainees. 2017 marks 100 years of the Balfour declaration; 70 years of Palestinian Catastrophe (al-Nakba); 50 years of brutal military occupation. This is also the year to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for its actions and to demand the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners!
Addameer further calls upon the international community to demand that the Israeli government to respect the will of hunger strikers who use their bodies as a legitimate means of protest, which has been recognized by the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikes as “often a form of protest by people who lack other ways of making their demands known.”
Addameer Visits Ashkelon, Hadarim and Nafha Prisons
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, 05/02/2017
Today, 25 April 2107, Addameer’s attorneys visited Nafha, Hadarim and Asqlan prisons, where they were not able to visit hunger-striking prisoners and detainees due to Israeli Prison Service (IPS) refusal. However, they managed to visit prisoners who were not on hunger strike that informed the attorneys of the hunger strike's recent developments.
During a visit to the Hadarim prison, prisoner Thabet al-Mardawi explained to Addameer’s attorney Mona Naddaf, that the IPS started transferring prisoners from one section to another on the second day of the strike, 18 April 2017. He added, that Marwan Barghouthi and Karim Younis were placed in isolation in Al-Jalama prison, and Anas Jaradat and Mahmoud Abu Sorour were placed in isolation in Ela prison. He added that about 36 prisoners were transferred to Ramle prison, and the rest of the prisoners were placed in different prisons across occupied Palestine.
Additionally, sick prisoners were transferred to the cells of Section 5 in Hadarim, which is a civilian detention room located in the civil section of the prison. The prisoners live in a completely isolated situation, where there is no television, no electrical devices and were only given sleeping mats.
Prisoner Thabet explained that the IPS isolated 102 hunger-striking prisoners before placing them in different prisons. Special unit forces stormed and raided the hunger-striking sections confiscating personal belongings. All of the prisoners have been stripped of their possessions; only one blanket has been kept for each prisoner and one set of clothing in addition to the “Shabas clothing” or prison uniform. Prison administration also seized salt in the first days of the strike, and strikers have had to drink water from the tap as the administration does not provide them with drinking water.
The prison administration has also imposed several punitive sanctions on the hunger-striking prisoners. The most important of these is the denial of family visits, as well as the denial of recreation, denial of access to the “canteen” (prison store).
In Nafha prison, Addameer’s attorney Samer Samaan visited prisoners Ayman Odeh and Raed al-Saadi, who told him during the visit that the number of hunger striking prisoners in Nafha is 250 from all political factions. The IPS also started isolating hunger strikers from their fellow prisoners, raided their sections and banned them from having attorney visits.
In Ashkelon prison, Farah Beyadsi visited prisoner Sharif Hamid, who is not on hunger strike. He informed her that the IPS transferred all the prisoners who are not on hunger strike to Section 12 of the prison. And transferred hunger striking prisoners to Section 3 and placed them in isolation. 42 prisoners in Ashkelon prison are on hunger strike.
“In Ashkelon there are 5 rooms, each room has about ten prisoners, the prisoners are forbidden from communicating with anyone, and they are denied family visits and access to the prison canteen. They are not allowed to see their attorneys as well,” Hamid added. The prison administration in Ashkelon also stripped hunger striking prisoners of their possessions, and strikers have had to drink water from the tap as the administration does not provide them with drinking water. They also prohibited them from participating in group prayers on Friday.
Addameer Prisoner Support urges supporters of justice around the world to take action to support the Palestinian prisoners whose bodies and lives are on the line for freedom and dignity. Addameer urges all people to organize events in solidarity with the struggle of hunger-striking prisoners and detainees. Addameer further calls upon the international community to demand that the Israeli government to respect the will of hunger strikers who use their bodies as a legitimate means of protest, which has been recognized by the World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikes as “often a form of protest by people who lack other ways of making their demands known.”
Show Solidarity with Hunger-striking Prisoners by Raising Awareness
American Muslims for Palestine, 05/08/2017
Today marks the 22nd day of a hunger strike waged by 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners, who are protesting Israel’s use of administrative detention, lack of access to medical care, lack of family visits and the use of isolation. The National Committee for the Support of the Prisoners Strike, a coalition of Palestinian NGOs, has called for global support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, a general strike and fasting campaigns to raise awareness.
Now in its fourth week, the situation is growing dire for those who are abstaining from food and drink. At this time, those hunger striking may be finding it difficult to stand as they become increasingly weak. In addition, they are facing threats of force feeding and other harsh tactics at the hands of the Israeli Prison Service and special units designed to get prisoners to end the strike, prisoner rights group, Addameer, states.
Furthmore, Israeli authorities have banned most attorney visits so NGOs are unable to track the prisoners’ health, according to Addameer.
In a new order delivered on May 5 by the Israeli Health Ministry, physicians who refuse to force feed starving prisoners must find a replacement doctor who will carry out the inhumane treatment. Force feeding is considered tantamount to torture and is against international law, according to the World Medical Association.
The American Muslims for Palestine, a national education organization, fully stands with Palestinian prisoners and calls upon the international community and all people of conscience to demand an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands; and an end to arbitrary arrests and detentions, administrative detentions, isolation, torture and other treatment that violates numerous international laws.
Addameer estimates Israel has imprisoned fully 40 percent of the Palestinian male population and since 1967 has incarcerated about 800,000 Palestinians. Children are not immune. Defense for Children International – Palestine reports that Israeli military authorities arrest and detain up to 700 children per year in the military court system and 8,000 children have been imprisoned since 2000.
Addameer reports in April 6,300 Palestinians are held as political prisoners. Of that number, 500 are being held without charge or trial in administrative detention; 300 are children; 61 are women; and 13 – including Marwan Barghouti – are Palestinian Legislative Council members.
The last massive Palestinian prisoner hunger strike took place in spring of 2012, when about 2,000 prisoners staged a long-standing hunger strike. In 2014, about 220 administrative detainees launched a hunger strike lasting 63 days to protest the illegal use of detention without charge or trial. The strike ended with Israeli prison authorities agreeing to ease restrictions on the prisoners and to continue dialogue about the use of administrative detention. The prisoners’ current demands include: family visits, proper medical care, end to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial in so-called administrative detention and stopping the use of isolation. We must support the Palestinians who are putting their bodies and lives on the line to protest the occupation and inhumane treatment in Israeli prisons.
Do what you can to raise awareness of the hunger strike:
Social Media: Hold a sign saying #PalHunger, #FreePalestinianPoliticalPrisoners, and #StopAD (Stop administrative detention), and share either a picture of you holding a sign or with the hashtag. Use Twitter handles @Addameer and @AMPalestine so we can follow your activism!
Organize an event: Plan a protest, demonstration, speaking event or banner drop in your city, community or campus calling for the immediate release of all Palestinian political prisoners and to show solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners and detainees. Contact AMP for materials and information.
Join a BDS Campaign: Participate in AMP’s Ramadan Israeli Date Boycott, organize an action at Hewlett-Packard office in your city to highlight the role of corporations involved in – and profiting from – the political imprisonment of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation.
Send an email to email@example.com to let us know what you’re doing to support Palestinian political prisoners. For further actions, go to www.addameer.org . We must support the Palestinians who are putting their bodies and lives on the line to protest the occupation and inhumane treatment in Israeli prisons.
2017: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the partition of Palestine; 50 years of occupation of the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine and 10 years of the siege on Gaza.
Treatment of Hunger Strikers Raises Concern Amongst Rights Organizations
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, 05/10/2017
On April 17, 2017, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike in protest against their severe conditions of incarceration and other violations of their human rights. Their demands comply with international human rights and humanitarian law, and echo those calls made in previous hunger strikes, including the mass hunger strike launched in 2012. Nevertheless, since the declaration of the strike, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has taken various punitive actions against the hunger-strikers, including placing prisoners in solitary confinement and preventing them from meeting with lawyers. On 4 May 2017, the IPS was compelled by the Israeli Supreme Court, following a petition, to grant permission to lawyers to meet the hunger-strikers; this decision is currently being monitored by human rights organizations. These measures stand in direct contradiction of the 2016 Concluding Observations of the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), which has called on Israel to “guarantee that persons deprived of liberty who engage in hunger strikes are never subjected to ill-treatment or punished for engaging in a hunger strike” (para. 27).
The hunger strikers’ demands cover a wide range of issues, including:
● Family visits, including the denial by Israel of entry permits to family members from Gaza and the West Bank. The hunger-strikers demand to increase the frequency and duration of visits, and remove various restrictions, e.g. the regular taking of photographs
Although visits are currently permitted, the IPS limits them to only two 45-minute visits per month. Family members from Gaza, as well as some from the West Bank, have been denied entry permits and therefore have been prevented from visiting their relatives in prison. In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has recently reduced the support it provides for family visits. As a result, large numbers of prisoners and their families are not able to complete these two short visits per month. The right for prisoners to maintain a family life is enshrined both in international and domestic Israeli law, while the Geneva Conventions emphasize the importance of frequent visitation.
● Access to medical care
The quality and range of healthcare services available to prisoners held in Israeli prisons and detention facilities are considerably lower than those provided to the general population in Israel. Further, the IPS and the Ministry of Internal Security administers the health care system in prisons, rather than the Ministry of Health. Extremely long waiting times to see specialist physicians are standard and few periodic medical examinations are available. Certain treatments such as physiotherapy or treatments for hepatitis that are supposed to be available, according to the IPS’s own regulations, cannot be accessed in practice because of budget limitations. Prisoners classified as “security” prisoners by the IPS are additionally hampered by their inability to complain about medical neglect: they are not allowed to use a telephone or send letters, and many do not receive regular visits by family members or lawyers. Their isolation prevents them from informing external actors about complaints relating to their medical condition and other violations of their human rights.
● Solitary confinement
Israeli law allows for prisoners to be held in solitary confinement, including in circumstances that are not technically termed solitary confinement, but replicate its conditions. Although the Mandela Rules - the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners - issued in 2015, affirmed that the use of solitary confinement for more than 15 consecutive days violates international law, the partial data that Israel has published on the matter (and which relates only to one mechanism of solitary confinement) indicates that it routinely uses solitary confinement for much longer periods of time. According to data released by the IPS in July 2015, 63 prisoners – accounting for 54% of all prisoners being held in solitary confinement at that time – had been held in solitary confinement for six months or more. Of these, nine were being held under an IPS “separation order” that is used for the claimed purpose of “protecting state security”, often based on secret evidence.
The CAT concluded that Israel should ensure “that solitary confinement and [isolation] are used only in exceptional cases as a measure of last resort, for as short a time as possible and subject to independent review, in line with international standards” (CAT, 2016 Concluding Observations, para. 25).
● Administrative detention
The latest figures, from March 2017, indicate that Israel is holding 688 Palestinians in administrative detention. International law permits the use of administrative detention only in exceptional cases. However, this is clearly not the case in Israel, where the number of administrative detainees has more than tripled since December 2012, when Israel was holding only 178 Palestinians in administrative detention. The CAT recently urged Israel to “end the practice of administrative detention” (CAT, 2016 Concluding Observations, para. 23)
The undersigned human rights organizations emphasize that the prisoners’ demands are just, reasonable, and grounded in international law and agreements governing the treatment of prisoners and detainees. They further stress the dangers associated with the IPS’s punitive measures taken against the hunger strikers. The organizations further stress the grave and concrete risk that, as the hunger strikes proceed, attempts will be made to compel striking prisoners to undergo medical treatment and for IPS doctors to force-feed prisoners against their will, in accordance with Israel’s “Force- Feeding Law”, enacted in July 2015 in violation of international law and medical ethics. Reports of a field hospital set up for hunger strikers in Ketziot prison are worrisome, as treatment within the incarceration system and away from public scrutiny heightens the likelihood of violations of human rights and medical ethics. The recent email sent by the Ministry of Health, requiring Israeli doctors who refuse to force-feed to find replacement physicians who will agree to do so, is likewise contrary to international law and medical ethics.
The undersigned human rights organizations hereby call on the international community to urge Israel to cease its ongoing, systematic human rights violations against the hunger-strikers, and to comply with their just demands regarding family visits, access to medical care, solitary confinement, and to end the use of administrative detention.
Addameer Prisoners Support & Human Rights Association
Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority in Israel
Arab Association for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights - Israel
"Together We Rise: Palestine as a Model of Resistance" Series on Nakba Day
US Campaign for Palestinian Right, 05/15/2017
Today marks 69 years since Israel was created as a Jewish state through the catastrophe, known as the Nakba, of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The current mass hunger strike by more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners jailed by Israel illustrates the sumud, or steadfastness, of the Palestinian people in 100 years of resistance to colonization, and urgency of taking action to support Palestinian liberation.
On this important day, the US Campaign announces our 2017 campaign of political education to provide critical voices, context, and resources to strengthen liberation struggles from the U.S to Palestine. We hope you'll gain important information from our curriculum, and that you'll help us maximize its impact by spreading word far and wide about it (please start by posting this announcement on Facebook and Twitter today).
Click here to sign up for the curriculum and see a sneak preview of its three tracks:
"TOGETHER WE RISE: PALESTINE AS A MODEL OF RESISTANCE"
Track 1: "Not That Complicated" -- 101 information and resources to understand Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people and how it relates to U.S. colonialism and racism.
Track 2: "Freedom Bound: Lessons Learned Resisting Zionism & White Supremacy" -- What can we learn from Palestinian, Black, Latinx, indigenous, and other freedom struggles that continue today, and how can we apply those lessons in this political moment?
Track 3: "Together We Rise" -- Skills-building, trainings, new resources and more to fight for justice from the U.S. to Palestine.
Why now? There has been much talk about this year's 50th anniversary since Israel occupied the Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, but this anniversary can only be understood within a broader context of other anniversaries. 2017 marks:
- 100 years since the Nov. 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish state in historic Palestine in support of the budding Zionist movement.
- 70 years since the UN's Nov. 29, 1947 partition allotting 54% of historic Palestine for a Jewish state, which began the Nakba across 78% of Palestine.
- 50 years since Israel occupied all remaining Palestinian lands June 5-10, 1967 -- a brutal military occupation that continues to this day.
- 10 years since Israel made permanent a crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip on June 15, 2007, creating an open-air prison subject to monstrous bombing to further Israel's containment and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
Through these 100-70-50-10 anniversaries, we can truly understand Israel's settler colonial project -- and, notably, that its 1967 occupation was no aberration and was never meant to be temporary -- and 100 years of Palestinian resistance. The campaign will unfold June 5 to November 29, spanning all four anniversaries.
- Sign up for the 2017 political education series of webinars, toolkits, infographics, action alerts, new resources, and more.
- Help us reach thousands of people with the series by posting this announcement on Facebook and Twitter.
- Sign up to take part in the June 5-10 week of action to protest 50 years of occupation and launch the 100-70-50-10 series.
Let 2017 be a turning point long overdue. Let 2017 help us push our understanding of Israel's settler colonial project and how it relates to liberation struggles worldwide -- including here in the United States -- against colonization, displacement, racism, and genocide.
ANNA BALTZER, Director of Organizing & Advocacy
RAMAH KUDAIMI, Director of Grassroots Organizing
BDS: Upholding our Rights, Resisting the Ongoing Nakba
The BNC Commemorates the 69th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), 05/15/2017
It is possible…
It is possible at least sometimes…
It is possible especially now
To ride a horse
Inside a prison cell
And run away…
It is possible for prison walls
For the cell to become a distant land
May 15, 2017, Occupied Palestine – Today marks the 69th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from our homeland. Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, made 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) calls on people of conscience the world over to further intensify BDS campaigns to end academic, cultural, sports, military and economic links of complicity with Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid. This is the most effective means of standing with the Palestinian people in pursuing our inherent and UN-stipulated rights, and nonviolently resisting the ongoing, intensifying Nakba.
The Israeli regime today is ruthlessly pursuing the one constant strategy of its settler-colonial project —the simultaneous pillage and colonization of as much Palestinian land as possible and the gradual ethnic cleansing of as many Palestinians as practical without evoking international sanctions.
Following in the footsteps of all previous Israeli governments, the current far-right government, the most openly racist in Israel’s history, is heeding the words of the Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky who wrote in 1923:
"Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonised. [...] Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population—behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach."
Sixty-nine years after the systematic, premeditated uprooting and dispossession of most of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs from the land of Palestine at the hands of Zionist gangs and later the state of Israel, the Nakba is not over. Israel is intent on building its “iron wall” in Palestinian minds, not just our lands, through its sprawling illegal settlements and concrete walls in the occupied Palestinian territory, its genocidal siege of over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, its denial of the Palestinian refugee’s right to return, its racist laws and policies against Palestinians inside Israel, and its escalating, violent ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev). It is sparing no brutality in its relentless, desperate attempts to sear into our consciousness the futility of resistance and the vainness of hope.
The present mass hunger strike by over one thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the grassroots support that it has triggered give us hope.
The growing support for BDS among international trade unions, including the most recent adoption by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) – representing over 910,000 workers – of an “international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel” to achieve comprehensive Palestinian rights, gives us hope.
The fact the none of the 26 Oscar nominees offered a free, $55,000-valued trip by the Israeli government accepted the propaganda gift and that six out of eleven National Football League players turned down a similar Israeli junket gives us hope.
The BDS movement has succeeded in sharply raising the price of corporate complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. It has compelled companies of the size of Orange and Veolia to end their complicity and pushed global giant G4S to begin exiting the Israeli market. Churches, city councils and thousands around the world have pledged to boycott Hewlett Packard (HP) for its deep complicity in Israel’s occupation and apartheid. This gives us and many human rights campaigns around the world great hope.
The Barcelona municipality’s decision to end complicity with Israel’s occupation, coming on the heels of tens of local councils in the Spanish state declaring themselves “Israeli apartheid free zones,” give us hope.
The divestment by some of the largest mainline churches in the US, including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ, from Israeli banks or complicit international corporations gives us hope.
The spread of remarkably effective BDS campaigns from South Africa to South Korea, from Egypt to Chile, and from the UK to the US gives us real hope.
The growing intersectional coalitions that are emerging in many countries, organically re-connecting the struggle for Palestinian rights with the diverse international struggles for racial, economic, gender, climate and indigenous justice give us unlimited hope.
In 1968, twenty years after the Nakba but unrelated to it, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “There can be no justice without peace and there can be no peace without justice.” For seven decades, and against all odds, Palestinians have continued to assert our inalienable right to self-determination and to genuine peace, which can only stem from freedom, justice and equality.
But to reach that just peace we realize that we must nourish our hope for a dignified life with our boundless commitment to resist injustice, resist apathy and, crucially, resist their “iron walls” of despair.
In this context, the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement with its impressive growth and unquestionable impact is today an indispensable component of our popular resistance and the most promising form of international solidarity with our struggle for rights.
No iron wall of theirs can suppress or overshadow the rising sun of our emancipation.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Visit www.bdsmovement.net and follow @BDSmovement