Palestinian Political Prisoners Resist
Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners languish under harsh conditions in Israel’s repressive gulag, one of the world’s most brutal.
Each one has a story to tell about their wrongful imprisonment and mistreatment behind bars – for resisting illegal occupation harshness, wanting freedom from Israel’s repressive boot.
The Netanyahu and previous Israeli regimes are the region’s most lawless and brutal, worse than Saudi and other Arab dictatorships, waging war on Palestinians without declaring it – imprisoning, torturing and murdering them in cold blood for wanting rights Israel only affords Jews.
Khalida Jarrah is a heroic human rights champion, a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member, a civil society leader, former Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association executive director.
Its why Israel lawlessly abducted and detained her administratively – uncharged and untried for 20 months.
On October 25, the Netanyahu regime extended her detention for another 4 months, its expiration on February 28, 2019.
Hundreds of other Palestinians are imprisoned uncharged and untried, at one time exceeding 1,000. From 2005 – 2007, they averaged over 750 annually. They currently number nearly 500.
Israel can continue extending their detentions, holding them forever if it wishes, done to silence them.
Its actions constitute flagrant international law violations. World community indifference lets its ruling regimes do whatever they please unaccountably.
International law is clear and unequivocal. Article 2, section 3(b)(c) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:
Persons “shall have (the) right (to effective remedy through a) competent judicial, administrative or legislative (authority), or by any other competent authority provided for the legal system of the State (to) ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce (judicial) remed(ies).”
Article 14, section 1 states:
“All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals (and) shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”
They shall “be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.” Detentions uncharged and untried are flagrantly illegal.
They’re longstanding Israeli practice, targeting Palestinians subject to illegal military law, unlike Jews under civil law – separate and unequal standards, mocking what rule of law principles are all about.
Jews are entitled to due process and judicial fairness, Palestinians automatically judged guilty by accusation, including young children, treated as viciously as adults.
One attorney explained what he endured in representing a Palestinian detainee, saying:
“As a lawyer, you are a cow. They treat us like they are trying to milk us. They squeeze everything from us: our dignity, our time – everything.”
Language is another problem. Court proceedings are in Hebrew. Arab lawyers must be bilingual to understand it.
Otherwise Palestinians require Arabic translations, the process “uneven” at best. Translators speak quietly, detainees and lawyers unable to follow proceedings properly.
Confessions most often are obtained under duress, including threats to family members, detainees forced to sign what most don’t understand.
Secret evidence is used, unavailable to counsel. One lawyer said it’s “like entering a dark room and not knowing where to go or what to do,” preventing a proper defense.
Most often, plea bargains, not trials, settle charges, not available to administrative detainees Israel wants held indefinitely behind bars.
Jarrar’s illegal detention was extended four times. Unlimited further detentions may follow.
Addameer called her “a fearless human rights defender who has committed herself to utilize all the legal tools available to realize the basic rights of the Palestinian people,” adding:
“On or just before” detentions expire, they’re frequently renewed. “This process can be continued indefinitely.”
Extrajudicial “arbitrary detention is a grave violation of international laws and human rights standards, particularly articles 78 and 72 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which state that an accused individual has the right to defend him/herself.”
Fourth Geneva’s Article 66 requires fair trial standards – denied to all Palestinians in military tribunals used to convict, not exonerate in cases brought before them.
Jarrar and other administrative detainees are denied fundamental rights afforded to everyone in just societies – never in Israel for Palestinians.
She’s held at HaSharon prison. She and other Palestinian women prisoners are engaged in courageous resistance against Israeli intrusive surveillance and brutal treatment, including isolation, denial of family and legal counsel contacts.
Separately, political prisoner Khader Adnan has been hunger-striking against his wrongful imprisonment for 58 days.
On Sunday, he stopped drinking water, a Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Committee, saying he “decided to step up his hunger strike in Israeli jails by abstaining from drinking water from Sunday until his release.”
His health deteriorated badly after stopping to take non-food supplements. He’s vomiting blood.
On September 2, he began hunger-striking for justice denied him. He’s held in punishing isolation, denied family and legal counsel contacts.
He’s been transferred from one prison to another, at times his friends and family unaware of where he’s held.
Twice before he endured protracted hunger strikes – for 66 days in 2012, another 55-day ordeal in 2015, now for 58 days and counting.
Israel falsely accused him of incitement, a charge with no legal standing. Nor is terrorism when charged against nonviolent Palestinian resisters like Ahed Tamimi, her mother, father, and relatives – all imprisoned at one time for wanting to live free from Israeli repression.
Adnan’s wife Randa told the Middle East Eye she had no contact with Khadar since October 22 – day 51 of his hunger strike when taken to a military court near Jenin.
“His face was pale and his beard and hair were long. They didn’t allow him to have a shower, change his clothes or trim his beard as a means of pressuring him to end his hunger strike,” she said, adding:
“No doctor has been allowed to check (on) his health, but I could see that he lost half of his weight and that his hearing is weak. He entered the courtroom in a wheelchair and was (too) weak to stand on his legs.”
Since 2004, he’s been imprisoned 11 times for peacefully opposing occupation harshness – his legal right Israel allows no Palestinians. Randa believes he’s now in Ramle prison hospital.
Proper hydration is essential for good health and survival. Life can only be sustained without it for a limited number of days. For adults, water constitutes 60% of body weight, up to 75% for children.
One study concluded that survival is unlikely if abstaining from food and water for 9 to 21 days. Elderly or ill individuals with little energy may expire in a few days from total abstinence, a week or two at most.
Without proper fluid intake, kidneys cease to function. Other organs deteriorate. Total abstinence too long means death.
Adnan’s condition is precarious. He refuses to cease resisting until freed. After letting him suffer for weeks earlier, Israel released him.
It’s unclear if the Netanyahu regime will cease his persecution and unlawful detention, or let him die this time, Randa saying:
“They want to break Adnan because he became a victorious symbol in Palestine and around the world.”
They likely want him kept alive, not martyred to become a greater Palestinian hero for justice denied him.
A Final Comment
On Monday, Adnan’s wife Randa said he agreed to end hunger striking after a military court sentenced him to one year in prison -retroactive to his detention 10 months earlier.
He’s expected to be released in around two months – vulnerable to rearrest any time, how Israel mistreats all Palestinians targeted for wanting to live free from apartheid harshness.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”