Special report on the Palestine, covering the reflections form the international communist movement (Palestinian CP, KKE, PCP, MAKI, SACP, SKP, TKP, PPP to be updated)
ICP, 22 May 2017
As Trump is about to meet with Israel and Palestinian Prime Ministers on Tuesday, the “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners enters a critical stage with its basic demands being echoed by the communist and workers parties.
On April 17, the Palestinian Prisoners Day, over 1000 of the 6.500 Palestinians in Israeli jails started the “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike demanding basic rights like family visits, medical treatment and the end to the detaining of Palestinians without trial or probable cause. The strike started just after a report documented that over 800.000 Palestinians have been imprisoned by the Israeli authorities since 1948, mostly subjected to inhumane conditions.
According to the International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights (ICSPR), Israeli prison authorities are violating international law by intensifying punitive procedures in order to pressure prisoners to break the hunger strike. The hunger-striking prisoners have continuously been transferred into solitary confinement, banned from being visited by lawyers, subjected to unannounced inspections in prison cells, restricted from receiving salt and taking a shower which seriously deteriorate their health.
The further daring attempt of the Israeli prison authority of force-feeding or forced treatment of the hunger strikers was declared as unethical by the Israeli doctors. The Palestinian Authority announced that the death of a single protester would spark another Intifada. On the eve of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region, the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank named the meeting day of Trump with the Israeli authorities the “Day of Rage” and called for a general strike.
More than a month has passed since the beginning of the hunger strike and the conditions of the prisoners are in a critical stage. Several communist and workers parties have made declarations in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, attempted for international action supporting their demands and protested the uncompromising attitude of the Israeli state. The communists from all around the world raise their voice for the Palestinian people’s cause against Israeli occupation, aggression and for full emancipation of Palestine from imperialism.
The prisoners' demands are:
1. Install a public telephone for Palestinian detainees in all prisons and sections in order to communicate with their families.
• Resume the second monthly visits for Palestinian prisoners that were halted by the International Committee of the Red Cross last year.
• Ensure the regularity of visits every two weeks without being prevented by any side.
• First- and second-degree relatives shall not be prevented from visiting the detainee.
• Increase the duration of the visit from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
• Allow the detainees to take pictures with their families every three months.
• Establish facilities to comfort the families of detainees.
• Allow children and grandchildren under the age of 16 to visit detainees.
3. Health care:
• Shut down the so-called Ramla Prison Hospital, because it does not provide the adequate treatment.
• Terminate Israel’s policy of deliberate medical negligence.
• Carry out periodic medical examinations.
• Perform surgeries to a high medical standard.
• Permit specialized physicians from outside the Israeli Prison Service to treat prisoners.
• Release sick detainees, especially those who have disabilities and incurable diseases.
• Medical treatment should not be at the expense of the detainee.
4. Respond to the needs and demands of Palestinian women detainees, namely the issue of being transported for long hours between Israeli courts and prisons.
• Treat detainees humanely when transporting them.
• Return detainees to prisons after the visiting clinics or courts and not further detain them at crossings.
• Prepare the crossings for human use and provide meals for detainees.
6. Add satellites channels that suit the needs of detainees.
7. Install air conditioners in prisons, especially in the Megiddo and Gilboa prisons.
8. Restore kitchens in all prisons and place them under the supervision of Palestinian detainees.
9. Allow detainees to have books, newspapers, clothes and food.
10. End the policy of solitary confinement.
11. End the policy of administrative detention.
12. Allow detainees to study at Hebrew Open University.
13. Allow detainees to have end of high school (tawjihi) exams in an official and agreed manner.
Reflections from the internationalist communist movement:
A statement issued by the Palestinian Communist Party (Palestinian CP) on the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, expressed its support for the resistance of the Palestinian prisoners. According to the statement, the right of the Palestinian people who have been displaced by “the waves of Zionist gangs” is “not only a humanitarian problem, but the issue of liberating a homeland from the clutches of occupation”. It was indicated that “the Zionist state of rape and occupation” has been committed in cooperation with the international community and the Arab countries who share the looting. The statement condemned the “servants of imperialism” as allies of international capital and the “inferior bourgeoisie's battle to preserve its sovereignty” at he expense of the people in Arab region and the world. The Palestinian CP called for the liberation of the people “by all means provided by international law” and the payment of compensation by all elements and partners of the crime. It declared its support for the prisoners and for “all forces against the occupation, agents in the region and promoters of the imaginary solutions for a corrupt state” and underlined the demand for the liberation of political prisoners.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) expressed its solidarity with the struggle Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike Israeli jails and demanded their immediate release. In its statement issued on April 18, the KKE declared its full support with the struggle of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation that has been going on for decades, with the support of the USA, EU, NATO. The statement also condemned the SYRIZA-ANEL government indicating its responsibility in the perpetuation of Israeli aggression by reinforcing Greece’s political-military and economic ties with the state of Israel. The KKE called on the Greek people to intensify their support for the struggle of the Palestinians.
The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) issued a statement on May 20, supporting the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. The statement released by the PCP Press Office said that “The form of extreme struggle now adopted by prisoners of all Palestinian political organizations increasingly underlines the fundamental importance of the unity of the national resistance movement as a decisive instrument of the struggle for emancipation of Palestinian people”. The PCP underlined that Israel would be held responsible for all the consequences that might result from this situation. It also called attention to the responsibility of the United Nations in protecting the rights of the Palestinian political prisoners. According to the statement, “The Portuguese government should strive and act, within the framework of International Law, for the rights of the Palestinian people”.
The Chairman of Hadash the left wing coalition led by the Israeli Communist Party (MAKİ), Ayman Odeh, undertook a day-long fast on May 11, in solidarity with the hunger striking Palestinian prisoners. Yousef Jabareen, from the Hadash Joint List, attempted to visit Marwan Barghouti, but his request was denied by the prison services. It was the third time in the past few weeks that Israeli authorities had rejected Jabareen’s plea to see Barghouti, which, according to Jabareen, “constitutes a serious infraction of my political activity as a member of the Knesset and my parliamentary immunity”.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) of West Cape declared its support to the Palestinian political prisoners on a hunger strike, demanding basic rights in Israeli jails. In its 8th Congress on May 14th, the newly elected SACP provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu condemned the continued violation of the rights of the Palestinian people by the “apartheid regime of Israel”. The Palestine solidarity organization Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa) joined the call for a fast by other solidarity organizations including regular and former Ministers of South Africa.
The Chairman of the Communist Party of Finland (SKP) Juha-Pekka Väisänen met with Palestinian Ambassador, Taissir Al Adjouri, on May 10, at the Representative Office of Palestine in Helsinki. Chairman Väisänen delivered the solidarity message of SKP for Palestinian prisoner’s hunger strike. The concrete actions for solidarity were discussed, including grassroots organizations and studying the politics in the Middle East area for peace. Väisänen declared that SKP condemns “the policies of de facto apartheid and of colonization through settlements, as well as the blockade of Gaza carried out by Israel and Egypt supported by the US and the EU“.
The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) declared its uncondition solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike and the working people of Palestine against Israeli occupation. The statement pointed out the role of imperialist powers such as the US, EU, and NATO and also underlined the responsibility of reactionary forces and bourgeois collaborators in the region in the persistence of Israeli occupation. The statement said, "While promoting false hopes to Palestinian people with their anti-Israel demagogy, Erdoğan and his reactionary AKP governments have kept tightening the ties with Israel through billions of dollars worth business and military contracts. Thus, the TKP once again highlights that the emancipation of Palestinian people, as with all other peoples of the region, can come only through the true solidarity of progressive forces under the leadership of the working class."
The communist prisoners affiliated with the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) announced on the first day that they would participate in the “Freedom and Dignity” strike. According to jailed PPP leader and member of the PPP Central Committee Bassem Khandaqji. “After consultations with prisoners of various factions, PPP-affiliated prisoners decided to join the battle for freedom and dignity on April 17". The PPP called for "a mass movement from the cities, villages and camps in the homeland and in the diaspora to express their support for the prisoners in the battle for freedom and dignity".