Palestine is Starving: Palestinian revolutionary dissident Bilal Kayed’s hunger strike enters 25th day. Activists join in hunger strike to show solidarity for Kayed’s abuse at the hands of Israeli oppressors in the Israeli Gulag concentration camp system
By Dezeray Lyn
Today marks the 25th day of rejected meals for Palestinian political prisoner, Bilal Kayed. Caged in a small isolation cell in Israel’s Ashkelon prison, he is the most recent, global symbol of the enduring Palestinian struggle for justice. He is hungry but dignified, sweltering away in a hot cell, denied even a small fan for ventilation by his occupiers and jailers.
Bilal’s imprisonment for fourteen and a half years for political affiliation within the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ended with the arbitrary passing of an administrative detention order for his continued, indefinitely renewable imprisonment by a state that loathes- as much as it fears- Palestinian revolutionaries for their visibility on the plains of global awareness.
His imprisonment spells out the Israeli state’s attempting to silence revolutionary dissent and maintain the highly illegal status quo that they operate under with impunity granted by global superpowers who have everything to gain in the region.
With a stomach empty of food, but full of fire, Bilal has put forth a total refusal to participate in Israeli court proceedings on his own behalf on the righteous grounds that his participation would legitimize the Israeli courts and state.
And though most international bodies have vocalized that Israel’s occupation, actions, offensives and collective punishment siege are breeching international law, they continue to legitimize Israel through the allowable, charging river of funding that complicit countries like the United States continues to provide them.
His administrative detention was confirmed, in his absence, by the Ofer military court on July 5th. By that time, his hunger strike was climbing into its 20th day. Like Khader Adnan, Muhammad al-Qiq and other revolutionary Palestinian prisoner hunger strikers before him, Bilal’s hunger strike is the set of hands embracing the face of public consciousness. We are still here. We are still occupied. We are still imprisoned.
Palestinians are subjected to Israeli military courts and directly and ultimately, their lives are governed by a hostile Israeli military. The occupation army has directive to shoot Palestinians, even young children, who protest their daily dehumanization and oppression by throwing stones at their oppressors. When you look at the brutality of the Israeli military, you see the same echoing overtones throughout the hyper militarized US police force.
Post 9-11, over 300 high ranking US law enforcement, border control and intelligence personnel have ventured to Israel to receive training on paramilitary and counterterrorism strategies. This training casts the entire US civilian population as terrorists and hostile insurgents. Given the intense, systemic racism in the US police force, this begins with the brutalization and murder of Black and Brown bodies and ends with the acquittals of the white police officers who brutalize and kill them.
In the interim, thousands of US police have been trained by Israeli military to such an extent that the NYPD have opened a branch office inside of the colonial, settler state. Thus, the marginalized body count continues to rise.
Israel’s specialization in violence, domination and oppression, is outlined in the document Israel’s worldwide role in repression, and to quote from the doorway of this chilling piece, “Israel exports weapons, technologies, training, and techniques of violence for use by governments and corporations against populations around the world. The expertise on which it relies has been developed through its occupation of Palestine and parts of Lebanon, Syria and Egypt as well as its repression of and military aggression against the people living there.”
Defeating domination and oppression morphs into new strategies daily. Bilal Kayed’s hunger strike has been amplified by the solidarity hunger strikes of other PFLP prisoners and fiercely supported by occupied Palestinians across the West Bank and the besieged Gaza strip. His hunger strike has been joined by two refugee solidarity activists from the Tampa based Love Has No Borders collective and supported by hundreds of thousands of global activists for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Solidarity is an important struggle because, in the words of Howard Zinn, you cannot be neutral on a moving train. The occupation surges forth and with it, the captives rattle the bars of their cages, refusing to be broken on a wheel.
For his liberation, Bilal Kayed is hungry. And in a sense, all of Palestine is starving.