Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike: France must heed their call

AFPS press release, Monday 24 April 2017

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Today, approximately 1500 Palestinian political prisoners are participating in the hunger strike launched by Marwan Barghouthi on the 17th of April.

His call was published in the New York Times and immediately resonated around the world. It rightfully placed the Israeli authorities in the position of the accused, in light of the obviousness of their long-standing, systemic, and established violations of the law.

This movement has precise and limited objectives: to ensure that prisoners’ conditions cease to violate human rights law and international law. In doing so, the movement exposes the occupation’s system of domination and apartheid.

Israel’s sole response has been repression: disciplinary measures, dividing up the strikers among new prisons, solitary confinement of the strike leaders, banning access of lawyers to their clients, and widespread axing of family visits.

Netanyahu’s ministers are fighting to outbid each other: faced with an "arch-terrorist" like Marwan Barghouthi, Lieberman called for Margaret Thatcher’s Bobby Sands approach, while the Minister of Justice confirmed that prison authorities would not hesitate to force-feed the hunger strikers... For sinister Likud minister Yisrael Katz, Barghouthi simply should have been executed. Unfortunately, we have not heard many French politicians express outrage at these chilling remarks.

Naftali Bennett’s supporters thought they could dishearten the prisoners by organizing a giant barbeque directly in front of Ofer Prison. Instead, they merely revealed their ignominy.

The AFPS respectfully salutes this great resistance movement, organized under extremely difficult conditions, and which has been met with a profoundly positive response throughout Palestine and beyond. The AFPS calls upon individuals and democratic organizations to support this movement unreservedly.

The AFPS calls on the French authorities to publicly protest the repression of this movement and to support its demands. There can be no political solution without the prerequisite release of these political prisoners, who are their people’s symbol of resistance. France must oppose the criminal policy of the Israeli government with actions, not empty words.

The AFPS Executive Board