Naje El-Ali once said “The road to Palestine is neither far or near but only at a distance of a revolution.” Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails have started a revolution against the repression and cruelty of prisons and the hard conditions they live in. Following Naje El-Ali's statement, I say that the road to freedom is neither far nor near, it's at a distance of an empty stomach.
When my father tells me about the 15 years he spent in Israeli barbaric jails, my thoughts immediately goes there, to the Israeli jails, where there are still more than 5000 prisoners experiencing what my father had experienced. Locked in their dark cells, deprived from seeing the sun and breathing the fresh air of the beautiful Palestine, away from their homes and friends, not allowed to see or to hug their families, feeling hungry, lonely and cold. This is how the Palestinian prisoners live and this is what they are obliged to experience every day.
5000 Palestinian detainees are locked up behind Israeli jail bars, dreaming of the day they shall see the sun again. Their life at Israeli prisons is a miserable one. They are deprived of their basic rights that any human being should have. Israel is trying its best to make the Palestinians suffer more and more. Inside the Israel jails, there are young and old men, children, and women. Israeli jails are spread all over Palestine; they do never stop arresting Palestinians.
Palestinian detainees do never accept the injustice and oppression they are subjected to. You might think they are powerless and can do nothing to end the injustice because they are jailed, chained and have nothing but their bodies. Then you're wrong. Palestinians have their strong will, their desire for freedom, they have their empty stomachs.
Palestinian detainees have long used their empty stomachs to rebel against the cruel and unjust Israeli jails. They used to start the battle of hunger. And today, they continue, and will never ever stop till they get their right of a free and just life.
The least we can do to support our heroes is to show our solidarity with them. They are eager to know that their people stand by their side and will never ever forget them.
April 17th Hunger strike.
Palestinians inside Israeli jails initiated a mass hunger strike on the 17th of April and they are still going on. Today is their 16th day of hunger strike; they vowed to continue until their demands are accomplished. More than 3,000 prisoners are now on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the Israeli policies at jails and the miserable condition of detention in which they are subjected to. They are deprived of their basic human rights. Palestinian prisoners demand to end solitary confinement and administrative detention, put an end to night raids and searches, allow family visits particularly for the prisoners from Gaza who have been deprived of family visits since 2007, ensure the opportunity to continue their education.
Their demands are very legal and they have the full rights to have them accomplished. Israel is violating the very basic human rights of the Palestinian people in general and the Palestinian detainees in particular.
Those Palestinians are not doing so only for the sake of their own freedom, but for the sake of every single Palestinian freedom and dignity. They are the unknown soldiers who suffer to make us live in peace and freedom.
Hunger strikers' life at Risk
Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahla
Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla are two Palestinian detainees who are held illegally in administrative detention. Bilal and Thaer have declared their open hunger strike on 29 February 2012. They have been hunger striking for more than 60 days to protest administrative detention. Bilal and Thaer decided not to stay silent over their miserable conditions at the Israeli jails. They have followed the steps of Khader Adnan who hunger striked for 66 days protesting his administrative detention and who has made victory over the Israeli occupation and gained his freedom, and the steps of Hana Shalabi who hunger strikred for 44 days.
Bilal Diab and Thaer halahla's health condition is deteriorating. They suffers from unbelievable pain, they started vomiting blood, their families are very concerned about their health and said that they are afraid that they might die in any moment.
There are a group of another prisoners who have been hunger striking before April 17th.
Hassan Safadi, on his 58th day of hunger strike.
Omar Abu Shalal, on his 56th day of hunger strike.
Mohammad Taj, on his 40th day of hunger strike.
Mahmoud Sarsak, on his 42nd day of hunger strike.
Abdullah Barghouti, on his 20th day of hunger strike.
Jaafar Azzedine, on his 35th day of hunger strike.
Fares Al-Natoor, on his 35th day of hunger strike.
Palestinian prisoners have started a revolution using their empty stomachs. Their empty stomachs speak louder than their voices. Nothing matters to them when it comes to freedom, neither hunger nor jailers will make them stop the battle, The battle of empty stomachs.