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[17 Apr 2015]

PORTUGUESE SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS

We celebrate today, April 17th, another Palestinian Prisoner Day. Since when, in 1974, as part of a prisoners exchange, Mahmoud Hijazi Baker, the first Palestinian arrested by Israel after the occupation of the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, was released, the Palestinian people recall, on this date, all their children who pay in prison the price of their commitment to the fight for freedom and resistance to occupation. In a framework of constant and systematic repression, of violation of the most basic human rights, of occupation, theft and robbery, of ethnic cleansing and destruction of cultural identity, as what the Palestinian people face every day, it is not easy to determine the exact number of Palestinian men, women or children detained in each moment in Israeli jails. Organizations that follow the situation of Palestinian prisoners estimate that there are now more than six thousand prisoners, among which twenty-three women and one hundred sixty-three children, of which thirteen under the age of sixteen. Of these near six thousand prisoners, there are four hundred eighty-four serving life imprisonment, and thirty are detained since before the Oslo accords, signed in 1993. Among the Palestinian prisoners, there are around 16 Members of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). There are four hundred fifty-four prisoners, including 10 MP, in administrative detention, that is, without trial or charges, some of them for more than two years, the highest number in the last five years.

But the cold reality of the numbers does not translate the gravity of the situation of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Under an iron regime of occupation that lasts for decades, virtually every Palestinian family has a father or a mother, a son or a daughter, a grandson or a granddaughter, a brother or a sister who, at some point in his life, met the reality of Israeli jails. For the Palestinian patriots and resistant, the daily life in Israeli jails is marked by torture and ill-treatment - accepted, moreover, by the law of the state - the deprivation of basic rights and needs, including the right to receive visits from their immediate relatives, I outright disregard for all international conventions regulating international humanitarian law. But this is only one dimension of the problem. The condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails is political before being humanitarian. Palestinian men and women imprisoned in Israeli jails are detained under an oppressive system that is illegally occupying their land and who has not, therefore, any legitimacy to condemn them. As is well demonstrated by the recent arrest of Khalida Jarrar, MP, Chairperson of the Political Prisoners Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council, director of Addameer – Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association – and a member of several defense of women's rights organizations, Palestinian prisoners are convicted for the sole reason that they defend the dignity of their people and fight for the liberation of their land.

To all the men and women who, anywhere in the world, when fighting for the rights of the peoples and for the emancipation of the people, had to face imprisonment, torture and humiliation, the situation of Palestinian prisoners is familiar. There is no point that Israel propaganda insists in qualifying its regime as "the only democracy in the Middle East".  For those who, in Portugal, fought the fascist dictatorship, faced the farce of the plenary courts and their notorious security measures, or were victims of torture and constant humiliation, the daily repression and arbitrariness which the Palestinian prisoners and their families are subject to is too violent to not evoke the days of lead in the political jails of Peniche, the Aljube or Caxias. And it is also why those who resisted and fought with courage the most violent and hideous face of fascism, as well as those who, in Portugal, accompany the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people, know the importance of the value of solidarity, of fraternal embrace , of gestures no matter how simple that convey encouragement and confidence, of the persistent efforts to break the wall of silence, isolation and libel that Israel and its Zionist supporters cast upon the struggle of the Palestinian people, by denouncing the crimes of the occupation and revealing the righteousness of their struggle.

Thus, on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Palestinian Prisoner Day, MPPM – Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and for Peace in the Middle East – and URAP  – Union  of Portuguese Antifascist Resistant – express their deep and heartfelt solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people and especially with the Palestinians patriots imprisoned in Israeli jails, and denounce the illegal and illegitimate nature of their arrest and the brutal conditions to which they are subjected by the repressive prison system of Israel. They condemn in particular the arrest of children and the practice of torture, ill-treatment and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, as well as the figure of administrative detention, and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners. MPPM and URAP reiterate their firm willingness to work in the specific context of each organization, and in cooperation with all expressions of public opinion movements, for the solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people against the occupation, affirming their inalienable right to self-determination and independence and the establishment of a free, independent and sovereign State in the territories occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and with a just solution to the refugee issue, in accordance with international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.

Lisbon, April 17, 2015

MPPM- Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and for Peace in the Middle East

URAP - Union of Portuguese Antifascist Resistant 

 
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