A month ago, coinciding with the International Day for Palestinian Prisoners on April 17th, between 1,200 and 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails started an open-ended hunger strike. This was led by the Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouti, imprisoned since 2002.
Their demands include an end to Israel’s so-called “administrative detentions”. These are detentions without charges, trial, or access to legal representation, which according to Amnesty International and other human rights NGOs violate international laws on arbitrary detention. Other demands include ending the abusive use of solitary confinement; adequate access to legal representatives and family visits; access to medical treatment, as well as the right to pursue academic studies in prison.
Currently there are some 7,200 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, according to data from the Palestinian Authority. Of them, 750 are under “administrative detention”; 300 are children; 73 are women; 1,700 suffer a range of illnesses (including 23 terminally ill prisoners); 31 are journalists, and 6 of them are elected representatives of the last Palestinian Parliament.
May 15th marked the annual commemoration of the “Nakba”, the Arabic term for “catastrophe”, the day in which almost 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their land in 1948. Today we want to join in the many voices which across the world are demanding protection of Palestinian people’s rights, starting as a matter of urgency with those in prison. To this effect, we have asked the Spanish government to clarify how it intends to:
– follow the prisoners’ situation as the strike progresses
– act as diplomatic mediators
– ensure the government of Israel complies with the IV Geneva Convention
– demand an end to the indiscriminate and routine use of “administrative detention”, which contravenes international laws
– question the use of two different types of legislation when processing Palestinian and Israeli detainees, a practice which the UN qualifies as constitutive of apartheid in their recent report ‘Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid’
In Podemos we will continue to work towards the protection of Human Rights and International Law in Palestine, demanding that our own government and other international bodies comply with resolution 2334 which condemns Israeli colonisation of Palestine. We will also continue our efforts to bring about the free movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza and to guarantee the right to organise peaceful and legal campaigns such as BDS, which fall under the protection of the right to freedom of speech. Furthermore, we will keep working on a stronger international response to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia’s acknowledgement of the existence of apartheid in Palestine. We also demand Spain’s immediate and unilateral recognition of the State of Palestine.