April 17, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, is a global day of action for Palestinian prisoners.
Events will take place around the world in support of Palestinian prisoners (see below for details.) As Prisoners’ Day dawns, 10 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike, including Bilal Diab and Tha’ir Halahleh, two administrative detainees held without charge or trial who are both nearing 50 days of hunger strike. Thousands more Palestinian prisoners plan to join in a massive hunger strike to launch April 17. International solidarity is needed!
There are approximately 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners inside Israeli jails. Palestinians, living under occupation and oppression for nearly 64 years, have been targeted for mass imprisonment and detention by the Israeli occupation. Nearly every Palestinian family has been touched by political imprisonment – a father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, cousin, uncle, aunt – from the elderly to children.
Palestinian political prisoners are also political leaders. 27 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi, and the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Abdel-Aziz Dweik, who represents Hamas, are held in Israeli prisons. Ameer Makhoul, one of the Palestinian prisoners who is also a citizen of Israel, was general director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community-Based Associations and the Chairman of the Public Committee for the Defense of Political Freedom.
Writers, scholars, students and artists are also Palestinian political prisoners, including Palestinian scholar Dr. Ahmed Qatamesh, who has now been held without trial or charge for nearly a year, Dr. Yousef Abdul Haq, a professor at An-Najah University whose administrative detention was just extended for an additional six months, and Ola Haniyeh, a student leader at Bir Zeit University and a leading political prisoner solidarity activist abducted just before student elections and currently held under interrogation.
We demand the immediate release of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. They have been targeted by an unfair and unequal legal system. Their imprisonment reflects Israel’s inherent system of injustice and racism. In addition, Israel must immediately halt its practices of:
1. Organize or attend an Event or Action marking Palestinian Prisoners’ Day! See below for events taking place around the world. No listed event in your city? Tell us about your local event here!
2. Write to the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand it fulfil its responsibilities to protect the rights of Palestinian political prisoners. Click here to email!
3. Learn more about the Karameh Hunger Strike launching April 17 and inform others that over 1600 Palestinian prisoners will launch a hunger strike on Tuesday.
4. Download, use and distribute the handouts and factsheets for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day! These factsheets are made for use in your community:
5. Watch and display the video testimony of former Palestinian prisoner, Dr. Abdul-Aziz Omar. This video is available in three lengths – 6 minutes, 15 minutes, and 40 minutes. Stream the videos here!