Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike get support. Advocates of human rights are showing support for the hundreds of Palestinian dissidents being held in Israeli prisons who have been denied their rights under the International Rule of Law. Supporters are posting videos and photos showing solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners who are being compared to the political dissidents who were brutalized by the Soviets in their prison Gulag system. Activists have launched the Prisoner of the Day campaign where supporters agree to fast and refrain from eating and drinking for 24-hours, and then posting information about their support on the campaign’s Facebook Page.
By Ray Hanania
At least 7,000 Palestinians and possibly even more are being held in Israel’s Gulag prison system accused of crimes that they have been denied the right to fight using the International Rule of Law.
Palestinians are rounded up by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, during military raids into the Gaza Strip and even those living in Israel and are placed in detention often without being formally charged. Israel uses the same law that was used against Jews in World War II Germany, in the Soviet Union’s notorious Gulag political prison system, and by the British government during the 1920’s and 1930’s Palestine Mandate years.
Israel can arrest and detain without any formal charges or trial for up to six months, and they can renew the illegal incarceration of Palestinian political dissidents endlessly. About 750 of the prisoners have been arrested on charges of illegally being in Israel and in the Occupied Territories that racists and foes of peace refer to as “Judea and Samaria,” according to the Israeli Human Rights Organization B’Tselem.
Angered by the International spotlight on the violations of the human rights of non-Jews in Israel and in the Occupied Territories, Israel’s government has suspended providing information on detainees to human rights groups since May 2016.
Support the Palestinian Prisoners in Israel’s
Prison Gulag who are on a hunger strike
President Barack Obama who has asserted that he defends the civil and human rights of all individuals, has done nothing to protest the detentions in acquiescence to political lobbying by extremist pro-Israel groups and activists in the United States and in response to extremist Americans who openly and quietly support anti-Arab and anti-Muslim discrimination. The Israeli practices have been roundly condemned, however, by the United Nations and countries around the world.
To show support for the plight of these Palestinian prisoners, activists are taking a leaf from American Jewish activism of the 1970s when American Jews and pro-Israel supporters protested against the illegal detention without trial of Soviet Jews and conducted public protests.
They also engaged in individual hunger strikes to show solidarity to put pressure on the Soviet dictators.
To put pressure on the Israeli dictators, activists are encouraging supporters of human rights to show solidarity by participating in 24-hour long hunger strikes and publicizing those actions on social media. The protest in solidarity of the prisoners and against Israeli violations of International Laws is being called “Prisoner of the day” campaign.
The activists have launched a page on Facebook (Click here) urging people to post photos and videos of their solidarity.
The international campaign to force Israel to release Palestinian political dissidents and end the torture and brutality that occurs in Israel’s political gulag is being coordinated from Ramallah which is under Israeli military occupation.
This author has also agreed to join this protest to support those prisoners who are on a hunger strike and I will fast for 24 hours through Saturday Sept. 17.
Israel’s legal system has been corrupted by discriminatory politics that treats Jews differently from non-Jews. Harsh critics call this kind of religious racism a form of Apartheid. Other critics assert that the discrimination is societal. But clearly the policies are being used to impose harsh restrictions on non-Jews, many believe in order to force non-Jews to flee the oppression making Israel “Christian-rein” and “Muslim-rein.”
Even when Palestinians serve out the illegally imposed sentences, the Israelis have refused to release dissidents, keeping them under lock and key and denied habeas corpus indefinitely.
The case of Bilal Kayed is just one recent example of thousands that have taken place since Israel was created my military force in 1948.
On 13 June 2016, Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed completed serving a prison sentence of 14½ years imposed after he was convicted of a series of offenses, including being a member in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two counts of attempted manslaughter. Like any prisoner who serves out his sentence, he was to be released and go home. His entire family was awaiting his return home. But on the day of his release, and before his family even had a chance to meet him, OC Central Command Maj. Gen. Roni Numa signed an order placing Kayed in administrative detention for six months, on the basis of “definite security grounds” and on the grounds of “security of the region and public safety”.
Jews, like those who are members of B’Tselem, have openly protested the Israeli government policies and B’Tselem has come under attack by extremist Israelis.
You can join in supporting the movement to bring civil rights and human rights to non-Jews in Israel and those living under Israeli occupation, and to support those prisoners who are on a hunger strike to demand their rights, by fasting from all food and drink for 24 hours and posting your picture and statement on the Facebook Page.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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