Palestinian resistance expands to Israeli jails

TEHRAN- The Palestinian Prisoners Movement has announced the suspension of a combined hunger strike by more than 1,000 inmates languishing in Israeli prisons.

The inmates started the collective strike earlier this week. They have cited the recent deteriorating treatment of prison guards, including raiding their cells and forcibly transferring them to other units without any notice in the Negev prison.

The leaders of the prisoners (who are prisoners themselves) also cited the threats made by extremist Israeli cabinet minister Itamar Ben-Gvir during a visit to the Ofer Prison on Wednesday for their mass protest.

At the Ofer Prison, Ben-Gvir ordered an expansion of punitive measures against the Palestinian prisoners. The measures included arbitrary and forced transfer of the Palestinians from one prison to another, deprivation of bathroom use, and more raids into the cells of the prisoners, which reportedly took place immediately.

Several months ago, an extremist Israeli cabinet minister said the Palestinians are using too much drinking water and called for the amount of water that they drank to be reduced.On Wednesday, Ben-Gvir posted a photo of himself alongside Israeli prison guards inside the Ofer Prison on social media saying “Today, I carried out a tour around the Ofer Prison where Prisoners from Hamas, Fatah, the Popular Front and Islamic Jihad are being jailed.”

The extremist far-right minister added, “I listened closely to the IPS (Israeli Prison Service) to find out if my policy is being implemented on the ground and to see the ‘summer camp’ where the [freedom fighters] spend their time”.

He made no mention of the Palestinian women and children also being held in Israeli prisons for an indefinite period without charge or trial.

This prompted the mass hunger strike.

Soon after taking office in earlier January this year, Ben-Gvir, not happy with killing Palestinians on their land, began targeting Palestinian prisoners with many repressive and cruel measures, including denying them bread.

A few days later, the leaders of the Palestinian inmates announced the suspension of their protest after talks with the prison authorities resulted in a positive outcome.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas hailed the move as a victory for the resistance. Other Palestinian leaders said the resistance against Israel is expanding to different arenas; on the battlefield and inside Israeli dungeons.  

Palestinian prisoners have fought victoriously against the regime over the time. 

If Israeli forces use horrendous force across the occupied West Bank, it has doubled that horrendous force against the Palestinian inmates languishing in Israeli jails.

The new Israeli cabinet has a different attitude from the previous cabinet. The former cabinet kept a careful eye on public relations and was quite afraid of the prisoners taking collective action such as going on hunger strike.

The prisoners, with tremendous heroism and struggle, were able to gain some victories against the Israeli Prison Service. But even those victories lost color because Israel later went on to break the agreements.

The new cabinet has strongly set out a policy to crush the prisoners and inflict maximum pain against them.

Last May, the heroic Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan died after going on a hunger strike for nearly 90 days in protest at the cruel treatment in his Israeli cell. In a clear sign of

Israeli brutality, the regime watched on as Adnan’s health condition worsened, denying him any medical care.

father of nine children was found unconscious in his cell after almost three months on hunger strike.

But Adnan was also protesting against something more important, not just for himself, but for many prisoners.

Like thousands of Palestinians, he was arrested, not the first time, without charge. He was arrested under what Israel calls administrative detention, which means that the regime can imprison anybody without saying why, without any charges, without even any evidence and without a trial.

Several months ago, an extremist Israeli cabinet minister said the Palestinians are using too much drinking water and called for the amount of water that they drank to be reduced.

Among other punitive measures, Palestinian prisoners are now allowed only four minutes to shower in another form of punishment and humiliation.

Hence, the results and suspension of the hunger strike are widely viewed as victories that are quite remarkable. To have more than 1,000 prisoners going on hunger strike shows immense organization. An organization across different political factions whose members are behind bars.

The victory is being celebrated by pro-Palestinian activists and organizations, but with the understanding that the sadistic intent of the Israeli prison authorities is still there.

Analysts say this resistance is so impressive because it has always been a principle of Zionism – stretching right back to the establishment of the entity – that it not only had to defeat Palestinian resistance, but it had to crush the resistance so that Palestinians give up hope. In essence that was the only way the settler colonial project could be successful.

The Palestinians have not given up hope. They continue to resist. And they continue to fight for their minimal rights inside the regime’s prison system.

Essentially, the hope is that this can inspire wider resistance in the occupied territories, and beyond that only through resistance can Zionism be defeated and the rights of Palestinians restored.

This resistance is the rock that the apartheid regime will eventually collapse on.

Israel may have recently signed deals with a few governments in the region, but it is the Palestinians who can destroy those deals through their heroism. Israel is a pariah regime in West Asia. Despite the so-called Abraham Accords, the entity continues to be the biggest source of insecurity as well as the biggest violator of the most basic human rights in West Asia.

When people across West Asia switch on their TVs, they can see that Palestinians are being killed, tortured in prisons or brutalized on their occupied land in so many ways simply because they are Arabs and not Jews. This can inspire resistance against Israel across the entire region.

All Palestinian prisoners have been deprived of their most basic human rights by Israel in defiance of international law.

Their only way of protest is to go on hunger strike, even if it means their actions will result in their death.

There are currently nine Palestinian inmates who are on hunger strike, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.

As Israel steps up its crackdown against Palestinian prisoners, the inmates are increasing their resistance measures in response and they are becoming part of the wider Palestinian resistance against Israeli atrocities.

Atrocities that are not seen anywhere else in the world, but are met with suspicious international silence. 

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