Press Releases

Fast for Freedom: Standing in Solidarity with Palestinian

 

On August 15, 2004, hundreds of Palestinians held
in Israeli prisons went on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the
inhumane conditions they must endure. This act has gained momentum outside
prison walls with family members of those incarcerated and with Palestinian
and international human right organizations. The hunger strike has become a
rallying point throughout Palestinian society with widespread sit-down
non-violent protest throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Fasting and other
actions in solidarity with the prisoners have begun to be organized in
other Arab countries, Europe and the U.S.

We are joining in solidarity with the imprisoned Palestinians and their
families. AMJ is issuing a national call for MOSQUES AND ALL FAITH
COMMUNITIES to devote their weekly sermons to raising awareness of the dire
humanitarian plight of Palestinian men and women in Israeli prisons. We
are also declaring Monday, August 30th a “Fast for Freedom” Day. All food
cost for that day should go to charities that support the Palestinians in
their struggle in the face of the Israeli military occupation.

We condemn the callous response of Israeli officials to the prisoners’
appeal. We demand that Israeli prison policies be in accord with the
requirements of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

“Israel policies of closures, home demolition, destruction of lives and
property, and now the grave situation in the prisons puts Israel in a class
by itself that is far worse than that of Apartheid South Africa” Said
Khalid Turaani, AMJ’s executive Director.

We call on the U.S. to insist that the Israeli heed the just demands of the
strikers, comply with international law, and end the inhumane treatment of
Palestinian prisoners.

The strike is intended to draw attention to a wide range of harsh policies,
deplorable conditions in the prisons, and mistreatment of prisoners by
guards. Strikers are calling a series of changes that would humanize the
prison environment in accordance with international laws and the Forth
Geneva Convention.

Israeli officials have responded by declaring psychological war and
imposing even further restrictions in order to break the strike and break
the will of the prisoners. They have temporarily terminated all visits and
deprived striking prisoners of all fluids, even water. In some cases they
removed salt which is necessary for the body to remain stable when on
hunger strike. Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi commented, “As far as I’m
concerned they can strike for a day, a month, until death. We will ward
off this strike and it will be as if it never happened.

For more information, contact: American Muslims for Jerusalem at (202)
548-4200.

Also see: U.N. Alarmed by Palestinian Hunger Strike

 

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