Israel mocks democratic
freedoms. Force-fed occupation injustice reveals its true face. It rivals
the world's worst tyrannies. Scoundrel media cover-ups can't change
Mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strikes persisted for weeks. Some lasted
over two months. Miraculously no one died. Victories remain elusive.
Negotiations produced Israeli promises to ease prison harshness. In
return, most strikers resumed eating.
Pledges made are easily broken. Israel's history proves its word is
worthless. Palestinians have no rights, in or out of prison. Racism
is policy. So is institutionalized persecution and violence against
non-Jews. Arabs are despised.
Even Jews aren't spared it they challenge government authority too far.
No wonder many vote with their feet and leave. Like America, Israel
is no fit place to live in. For Palestinians, it's hell.
On May 24, Addameer headlined "Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi still
on hunger strike as Israel's violations continue," saying:
"Israel has already violated the terms of the agreement addressing the
demands of approximately 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners just
over one week since they ended their historic mass hunger strike."
Agreements with Israel aren't worth the paper they're written on. Eventually
they're violated entirely. Hunger strikers are betrayed like all Palestinians,
past and present.
Two prisoners remain on strike. Their health seriously deteriorated.
They're denied independent care. Ramleh Prison physicians make witch
doctors look good by comparison. They're charlatans. They betray their
Hippocratic Oath to practice medicine ethically and responsibly.
Mahmoud is a member of Palestine's national football team. Three years
ago, he was imprisoned uncharged. On May 25, he began day 68 without
food. He's protesting against lawless detention uncharged under Israel's
draconian Unlawful Combatants Law (UCL).
Without evidence, it's imposed based on "a reasonable basis" to believe
Palestinians belong to a hostile group belligerently confronting Israel.
UCL is similar to George Bush's "unlawful enemy combatant" designation.
In 2009, terminology switched to "unprivileged enemy belligerent." Language
changed, but not intent. Detainees lose all rights. Israel and America
replicate the worst of each other.
Legal obligations don't matter. Targeted victims lose out entirely.
Both countries wage war on Islam. State terror is official policy.
Israel promised Mahmoud a July release date. None so far was affirmed.
Addameer lawyer Mona Neddaf visited him and five others in Ramleh's
medical center. She reported his condition so grave he could barely
On May 25, Akram began day 44 without food. He's been in Ramleh's medical
center since arrested in 2004. Serious diseases afflict him. They include
diabetes, asthma and osteoporosis. Protracted striking left him precariously
weak in grave condition.
Diabetes sufferers need minimal regular sustenance to survive. Akram
can't last much longer without it.
Neddaf also visited Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh. On May 14, they resumed
eating. Bilal has stomach and head pain. His body rejects most nourishment.
He digests only soup and milk.
He and Thaer struck for 77 days. Doing so risked death. Neither is out
of the woods. Recovery will take months or perhaps years. Despite pledging
to allow family visits, Bilal's mother was denied permission to see
him. Baseless "security" reasons were given.
Thaer also struggles to recover. He's experiencing stomach, pancreas
and back pain. On May 20, he was transferred to Ofer Prison for interrogation,
then returned to Ramleh.
Both were promised release when their administrative detentions expire.
For Thaer, it's June 5. Bilal is scheduled for August 11. Each pledged
to resume striking if Israel violates agreed on terms.
On May 14, Mohammad Taj ended his 60 day hunger strike for 24 hours
after learning his POW demand would be met. Another promise made, another
broken. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) violated its pledge.
On May 21, Mohammad again began eating. He told Neddaf details of his
ill-treatment after resuming his strike. Despite his grave condition,
he was transferred on May 15 to Al-Jalameh interrogation center.
"He was severely beaten and his clothes were forcibly stripped from
his body. Prison guards also attempted to force milk down his throat."
Addameer also documented blatantly violated pledges related to administrative
detention. Numerous uncharged detainees got extensions. Israel promised
otherwise. In addition, newly arrested prisoners are held uncharged.
Doing it longer than minimal periods violates international law.
Israel finds new and repeated ways to affirm its rogue status. Justice
and democratic freedoms don't have a chance. Accountability remains
"This Is Not Fair Play"
Mahmoud Kamel Muhammad Sarsak spoke poignantly about his son, Mahmoud.
He asked others to help save him. Public pressure and world embarrassment
alone have a chance.
On July 22, 2009, he was arrested at Gaza's Erez checkpoint. He headed
for a West Bank Balata refugee camp football match. He was taken to
Ashkelon Prison for weeks of interrogation.
On August 23, he was lawlessly detained under Israel's UCL. Using it
results in long-term indefinite detentions. Mahmoud was never charged
or tried. On March 19, he stopped eating in protest. His fundamental
rights are denied. He spent punishing time in solitary confinement.
"For us it is unbearable to see Israel has been awarded the hosting
of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Under 21s football
championship in 2013 and gears up to participate in the London Olympics,
while it routinely arrests, tortures, imprisons and kills Palestinians,
including football players, without consequence."
"This is not fair play. Sports should show solidarity."
Mahmoud and his family "call(ed) on all people of conscience to demand
his immediate release, and to pressure governments and international
organizations to force Israel's compliance with the most basic standards
of international law."
In early May, Football Beyond Borders (FBB) expressed solidarity with
Palestinian hunger strikers. It noted Mahmoud's unjust detention and
critical condition. It announced it would boycott the 2013 UEFA championship
games hosted by Israel.
In June 2011, dozens of Palestinian athletic teams wrote UEFA. They
protested awarding Israel host city rights for 2013. They said in part:
"Football Beyond Borders, a student-led organisation which uses the
universal power of football to tackle political, social and cultural
issues, stands in solidarity with Mahmoud Sarsak and all of the Palestinian
political prisoners currently being detained by Israel on hunger strike,
as together we protest the injustices being inflicted upon Palestinian
prisoners in Israel, and draw attention to their plight."
"Football Beyond Borders also takes this opportunity to announce our
official boycott of the UEFA 2013 Under-21 European Championships, which
Israel has been awarded the honour of hosting."
"Further announcements and planned actions will be made on this boycott
in due course."
Football Beyond Borders
C/o SOAS University Studentsí Union
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
A Final Comment
On May 24, the Palestine News Network said Sameh Elaiwe "was transferred
from Nablus city to administrative detention one hour before his scheduled
On May 23, Foad al-Khafsh, head of Al-Ahrar Center for Prisoners' Studies
and Human Rights said an Israeli military court ordered him released
the next day.
Israeli intelligence overturned its decision. He received four months
administrative detention uncharged.
At issue, said Al-Khafsh, is breaking prisoner spirit and solidarity.
Israel's May 14 hunger strike agreement promised easing prison harshness.
Terms included charging administrative detainees or releasing them once
their terms ended.
Instead, over 25 administrative detentions were ordered in the past
On May 24, Huwwara detention center prisoners began hunger striking.
Issues include decent food, cleaning products to wash clothes and cells,
adequate breaks, and overall respect for their rights.
Prison authorities spurned them. Prisoners said they won't eat until
fundamental demands are met. Israeli prisons are harsh gulags.
Huwwara and Etzion are called worst of all.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time
and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy