Throughout 2020 Wellington Palestine has been campaigning to raise awareness of the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, with an initial focus on child prisoners. There are currently 5,000 political prisoners in Israeli jails, 183 of whom are children.
The NGO Addameer and the UN use the same definition of “political prisoner”: prisoners detained in relation to the occupation, as opposed to detainees suspected or convicted of crimes or offences unrelated to the occupation.
Report after report has found evidence of the inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoners: including the use of prolonged isolation, medical negligence, unsanitary conditions and both psychological and physical torture.
The arrival of COVID-19 into the Occupied territories and Israeli jails has intensified international concern for the safety and wellbeing of the prisoners, especially those in the most vulnerable groups.
Palestinian prisoners day: A call to action!
Friday the 17th of April is Palestinian prisoners day and Wellington Palestine invite you to join with us, and others throughout the world, in a day of digital activism in solidarity with the prisoners. There are many different ways in which you can show your solidarity with the prisoners whilst staying safe in your bubble during the current lockdown.
Make a video: Addameer are calling on supporters to make a short one minute video supporting their four demands for political prisoners and to post this to social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). You can see some examples here.
Post an image: If video isn’t your thing you could simply take a photo of yourself posing as a prisoner: blindfolded, on your knees and with your hands behind your back, or tethered in front of you. Or else, just looking at the camera holding signs with the hashtags #freetheprisoners, #covid19 You could involve your whole bubble whanau if you like.
If you decide to post something to social media be sure to let us know and send the link so we can help to promote your post. Or, if you like, you can send a copy of the video and images and we will post it to our social media on your behalf.
Sign a petition: If you haven’t done so already you should definitely sign and share our local petition calling on the New Zealand government to take action in relation to the Palestinian child prisoners. But there is also an international petition on child prisoners and COVID-19, and another calling for the International Committee of the Red Cross to intervene on behalf of all Palestinian prisoners during. the pandemic.
Other social media actions from Samidoun.
Watch a video: In order to confront the ghosts that haunt him, Palestinian director Raed Andoni assembled an eclectic group of ex-prisoners to build a replicate of Al-Moskobiya, Israel’s main interrogation centre, where he was himself jailed at age 18. From fragmentary memory, day after day, they give shape to the interrogation centre they all experienced, and re-enact its stories. The film was the Oscar entry for Palestine in 2019. You can view this for free until the 22nd of April here, or later rent it on demand from Vimeo
More information about the prisoners
The situation of Palestinian political prisoners can only be understood in the context of the Palestinian struggle for national liberation. This struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestine has been going on for over half a century, so long that many people outside of Palestine have forgotten that it is a military occupation at all.
Palestinian resistance to occupation, a resistance that is legitimate under international law, is reframed as criminal activity and acts of terrorism by the Israeli state. Israel’s narrative reshapes and represents their occupation of Palestinian land and suppression of Palestinian political organisations as the war of a modern “democratic” state against internal dissidents, terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists.
But Palestine is a country under military occupation. It has been since the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. And the Palestinian resistance to occupation including two intifadas has resulted in the deaths and the incarceration of thousands. The internal population of Palestine is currently 4.8 million, around the same as New Zealand. Yet, since 1967 it is reckoned that over 800,000 Palestinians, almost one in five of the population have spent some time in an Israeli prison.
“I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists.”Nelson Mandela
For a deeper insight into the experiences and struggles of the Palestinian prisoners we highly recommend the latest text by Ramzy Baroud: “These Chains will be Broken”.