Saluting the victory of the "Freedom and Dignity" protest, and the end of the hunger strike last, Saturday May 27th, held by the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, following negotiations and the commitment by Israeli authorities to meet several of the protesters demands, we divulge a text cosigned by 25 Portuguese organizations made public on May 25th:
On 17 April, about 1500 Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons for resisting occupation and repression launched a hunger strike, the «strike for freedom and dignity».
The hunger strike is an extreme step: deprived of other means of protest, prisoners use their own bodies, endanger their own lives to demand the improvement of their conditions and their liberation.
The hunger strikers, of all political factions, demand basic rights such as the right to phone their families, family visits, access to distance higher education, adequate medical care, and the end of solitary confinement and detention without charge or trial.
The hunger strikers' complaints have been met by the Israeli authorities only with repression: frequent late night raids, abusive transfers to other prisons, solitary confinement, denial of visits by lawyers and relatives and confiscation of personal belongings, including salt (during their protest the hunger strikers will take only water and salt).
After more than a month of hunger strike, there has been an increasingly sharp deterioration in the health conditions of the Palestinian prisoners. The Israeli authorities are preparing, as in the past, to resort to forced feeding of hunger strikers, in violation of international law, which considers it a form of torture.
At present there are over 6300 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 500 in administrative detention (without trial or charge) and 300 minors. Israel has always resorted to a brutal and massive repression of the Palestinian people's yearning for freedom. Since 1967, the total number of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons has already exceeded 850,000, ie 20% of the total population and 40% of the male population; 100,000 Palestinians have already been subjected to administrative detention (without trial or charge); 70% of Palestinian families have already seen one or more of their members sentenced to prison terms as a result of activities against the occupation.
We extend a respectful greeting to this great resistance movement of the Palestinian prisoners, held in extremely difficult conditions, which is echoed throughout Palestine and around the world, and we urge Portuguese citizens and peace- and justice-loving organizations to show their support.
We urge the Portuguese authorities to make every effort in order to halt the repression of this protest movement of the Palestinian prisoners and to have their just demands met.
There will be no just solution to the Palestinian question without the release of the Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli prisons. This is one of the focal points — alongside the end of occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the siege of the Gaza Strip, and the recognition of the refugees' rights enshrined in UN resolutions — for a just solution of the Palestinian question, which has long been due to this martyred people.
Lisbon, May 25, 2017
Associação Abril (April Association)
Associação Água Pública (Public Water Association)
Associação Conquistas da Revolução (Association Achievements of the Revolution)
Associação de Amizade Portugal-Cuba (Portugal-Cuba Friendship Association)
Associação dos Amigos do Teatro da Liberdade da Palestina (Portugal) (Association of Friends of the Freedom Theater of Palestine (Portugal))
Associação Portuguesa de Juristas Democratas (Portuguese Association of Democratic Lawyers)
Centro InterculturaCidade (Center InterculturaCidade)
Colectivo Mumia Abu-Jamal (Mumia Abu-Jamal Collective)
Comissão de Reformados da União dos Sindicatos do Distrito de Leiria (Reform Commission of the Union of Trade Unions of the District of Leiria) (Retiree Commission of the Union of Trade Unions of the District of Leiria)
Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses – Intersindical Nacional (General Confederation of Portuguese Workers)
Confederação Nacional de Reformados, Pensionistas e Idosos – MURPI (National Confederation of Retirees and Senior Citizens)
Conselho Português para a Paz e Cooperação - CPPC (Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation)
Federação Nacional de Sindicatos de Trabalhadores em Funções Públicas e Sociais (National Federation of Trade Unions of Workers in Public and Social Functions)
Frente Anti-Racista (Anti-Racist Front)
Inter-Reformados (Retiree Organization of CGTP)
Intervenção Democrática (Democratic Intervention association)
Mó de Vida Cooperativa (Mó de Vida Cooperative)
Movimento Democrático de Mulheres – MDM (Democratic Women's Movement)
Movimento pelos Direitos do Povo Palestino e pela Paz no Médio Oriente – MPPM (Movement for the Rights of the Palestinian People and for Peace in the Middle East)
Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores da Administração Local e Regional, Empresas Públicas, Concessionárias e Afins -STAL (National Union of Workers of Local and Regional Administration and Public Companies)
Tribunal-Iraque (Audiência Portuguesa do Tribunal Mundial sobre o Iraque) (Iraq Tribunal-Portuguese Hearing of the World Court on Iraq)
União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta – UMAR (Women's Union Alternative and Response)
União de Resistentes Antifascistas Portugueses – URAP (Union of Portuguese Antifascist Resistants)
União dos Sindicatos de Lisboa (Union of Lisbon Trade Unions)
União dos Sindicatos do Distrito de Leiria (Union of Trade Unions of the District of Leiria)