Six young Palestinians are in the jails of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in a hunger strike since August 28th. They demand freedom, protesting against the renovation of their arbitrary prison for more than six months without any formal charges, and against the tortures to which they are submitted. The allegation, done only verbally, is of “political activity”.

By Soraya Misleh.

 

Among the tortures, sleep deprivation, beatings, being forced to remain in the same uncomfortable position without moving. A common practice by Authority, as shown in the case of the Palestinian-Brazilian Islam Hamed, whose international campaign – driven initially from Brazil – led to his liberation after 101 days of hunger striking. This form of resistance – adopted in the Israeli jails and symbolized by Bilal Kayed, who has not ingested food for more than 70 days – has become widespread in the prisons of the PNA as well.

The youngsters are also in a so-called administrative detention, established not only by Israel – which has more than 700 of the 7.000 Palestinian political prisoners under this condition – but by the PNA as well. Hundreds have already faced prison by the Authority, among activities and journalists. Posting criticism to the Authority and denouncing its collaboration with Israel in the social networks is enough to get caught.

Cooperation with Israel

The prisons are part of the ill-fated security cooperation deals with Israel, one of the results of the nefarious Oslo Agreements, signed in September 1993 between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel. The security coordination, which sealed the fate of the PNA as the “occupation manager”, was consolidated with the Paris Protocol, in April 1994, in which the questions related to the economy of the so-called Authority are defined – in other words, its total dependence of Israel. After the beginning of the more recent popular uprising, in October 2015, the occupying power has suspended the delivery of taxes and funds to the PNA to pressure it into repressing and controlling what seems to be the sign of a new Intifada – this time also against the Palestinian collaborationist leaders. Due to this, President Mahmoud Abbas stated, in an interview to Der Spiegel: “our security forces are working very efficiently in preventing terror”. He quoted the imprisonment of three young men who would be planning attacks on Zionist colonists as proof of his loyalty. Palestinian journalist Rita Abu Ghosh has commented, in an article about this matter, published on the site Middle East Eye, “the PNA is panicking and doing everything it can to demonstrate to Israel and the world its legitimacy”.

The six youngsters on hunger strike are part of a group that is very active in this struggle: the Al-Harak al-Shabab (Movement of the Youth), founded in 2011, in the wake of the Arab Spring. Not only does it stand beside the revolutionaries of the Arab world: the group has been heroic in its activities not only against Israel, but against the Palestinian leadership as well. One of the initiatives of these young men, besides organizing demonstrations and denouncing to the world the security cooperation and the role of the PNA, is to gather donations to ensure medical care for injured during the demonstrations. The hospitals of the occupied Palestine are all private, and the PNA has used the assistance in these cases as bargaining chips in exchange for collaboration.

As far as can be seen, these youngsters were not arrested for their own safety, because – if released – they would be jailed by Israel, as the PNA usually claims. “This is a systematic tactic which is very functional to its role: the security cooperation”, exposes Abu Ghosh. Once more, the case of Islam Hamed is exemplary. True, he was arrested by Israel a few months after his release by the PNA. Faced with this speech, one might think that is a positive thing for the Authority. Among the complaints made regarding the security cooperation, there is also that the Authority would hand over all Palestinians who make acts of resistance to Israel – acts which are legitimate in a setting of occupation and apartheid.

The six young man are Basil Al-Araj, 33; Mohammed Harb, 23; Haitham Siyaj, 19; Mohammed al-Salamen, 19; Seif al-Idrissi, 26; and Ali Dar al-Sheikh, 22. Palestinian organizations and activists are asking for urgent international solidarity. Among their requests, there are the organization of demonstrations, the sending of manifestos to the representation of the PNA in every country, and the subscribing to the petition for their immediate release, available at http://goo.gl/IvuySF. For the liberation of all Palestinian political prisoners from the hands of the Authority and/or Israel!

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Translation: Gabriel Tolstoy