Hana Shalabi's ordeal highlights
what many others endured previously and dozens do now. Only they know
the physical and emotional toll.
Who else understands the willingness to die for justice? Who'll suffer
and risk it? Who'll challenge an implacable foe unconcerned if they
live or die?
Hana, Khader Adnan, and many others risk everything to live free. They
confront injustice courageously for it. They're willing to die without
it. What greater sacrifice than that! What better reason to lend support
and honor them.
Thousands of Hanas and Khaders rot in Israeli gulags. Recovering from
his ordeal, Israel promised to free Khader on April 17, Palestinian
Prisoners Day. More on it below.
Free or in prison, tormenting Khader won't end. Nor will Hana's ordeal
or other Palestinians persecuted by Israel's racist oppression.
Lawlessly deported to Gaza, Hana arrived Sunday afternoon. An official,
popular welcome greeted her. She was taken to Shifa Hospital intensive
care for treatment. She expressed thanks and said "I am in my country
and among my family." She perhaps faces weeks to fully recover. Freedom
among friends is the best therapy.
The same day she was freed, Israel arrested other Palestinians, including
children. It happens virtually daily.
In the week ending March 28, Israeli forces conducted 65 West Bank incursions
and another in Gaza. Nineteen Palestinians were arrested, including
a child, a woman, and an ill patient.
Various human rights organizations denounced Hana's treatment and lawless
deportation, among them the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
Hana's protected person status was violated. It was far worse during
incarceration. PCHR said Hana's case highlights what many others endure.
They include 20 or more Palestinian Legislative Council members, including
its Speaker, Aziz Dweik.
They're all lawlessly punished. International law's spurned. Everyone
has the right to live free in their own country, and come and go as
they please. Israel contemptuously tramples on Palestinian rights. Hana
and others like her highlight how abusively.
Political Prisoner Hunger Strikers
At age 72, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Ahmad al Haj
Ali has been hunger striking three weeks for justice. Ill and aging,
his life's endangered. Unless helped, he may not last much longer.
Many other lawlessly imprisoned Palestinians also defy Israeli injustice
the only way they can. Kifah Hattab has been hunger striking and refusing
to obey prison orders for over a month.
Bilal Thiab and Tha'ir Halahleh also refused food for over a month.
Their strike's open-ended as it is for others.
Murad Malayshah and Islam Al-Shu'aybe have hunger struck almost as long.
So have Tariq Qa'dan and Tha'ir Daraghmeh.
Hasan Safadi, Mohammad Abu 'Arab and Omar Shallal have refused food
for over three weeks. So have 10 other detainees nearly as long. They
include Ayman Tbeishah, Salih A. Kmeil, Salih S. Kmeil, Bilal Kmeil,
Murad Fashafshah, Adib Al-Qut, Mohammad 'Abushi, Fayez Ash-Shayeb, 'Asif
Abu Al-Rub, and Samir Abu Khazhah.
These Palestinians are among many others hunger striking for justice.
Some endure days, others weeks, and some longer. Behind bars, they have
few ways to resist. Refusing food's a common tactic. It's gone on for
The longer it continues, the greater the health risk. Bodies need sustenance
to stay healthy. Too long without it risks death. Previous strikers
died after 52 to 74 days. Starvation deteriorates muscles and vital
organs until they entirely break down.
In late March, hundreds of Palestinians joined a one-day strike against
isolation, medical neglect, prohibiting family visits, and overall brutal
At any time, several up to dozens protest inhumane treatment by refusing
food. Thousands are held in Israeli gulags, including children, women,
hundreds administratively uncharged, and 20 or more Palestinian MPs.
Palestinian Prisoners Day
Annually on April 17 since 1979, Palestinian Prisoners Day commemorates
Mahmoud Hijazi's 1974 release. He was the political prisoner Israel
freed in exchange for Shumuel Rosenwasser, an Israeli Fatah held.
Each April 17, Addameer highlights its "Prisoners at Risk Campaign."
It's done to raise awareness of endangered detainees. No one's safe
in Israeli dungeons, but these prisoners face special risks.
Some are seriously ill. Others are imprisoned indefinitely uncharged
without trial. Courageous human rights activists are held. Still others
are politically active. Most face torture and abuse. Some were retaliated
against for going public.
Last April 17, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) commemorated
the hundreds of thousands of wrongfully imprisoned Palestinians since
1967. At any time, thousands languish in Israeli hellholes. Denied all
rights, they're brutally treated.
PCHR "noted with particular concern the many violations of human rights
and humanitarian law that prisoners are subjected to while in Israeli
It cited Fourth Geneva and International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) violations. It condemned treating children like adults
"in blatant contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the
It said Palestinians in Israeli custody are routinely "subject to cruel,
inhumane or degrading treatment, including poor detention conditions,
denial of access to counsel or family visits, deprivation of health
care, and many other policies that violate human rights law."
Th UN Committee Against Torture condemned Israel for failing to investigate
and end the practice of torture. Uncharged administratively detained
prisoners have no idea when or if they'll be released.
Imprisoned Gazans haven't had family visits for years. They're also
denied phone calls and mail from relatives. Blanket prohibitions exacerbate
unusually harsh confinement overall. Grave human rights violations are
committed. Prisoners and close family members alike endure cruel and
unusual punishment. It's official Israeli policy.
On June 7, 1967, Military proclamation No. 1 justified detentions "in
the interests of security and public order." Thereafter Palestinians
faced police state persecution. Hundreds of other lawless orders followed.
All violated international law.
Cruel, abusive, inhumane, and degrading treatment is policy. Due process
and judicial fairness don't exist. Geneva's Common Article 3 is violated.
"humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, specifically prohibit(ing)
murder, mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment
(and) unfair trial(s)."
Fourth Geneva's Article 4 calls "protected persons" those held by parties
to a conflict or occupation "of which they are not nationals."
They must "be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not
be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the
present Convention." They're entitled to Fourth Geneva rights. Prisoners
of war under Third Geneva have the same rights as those under Common
Israel spurns all international laws with impunity. Under its 1971 Prison
Ordinance, no provision defines prisoner rights. The Interior Minister
decides ad hoc or by decree. For example, 20 inmates may be held in
a cell small as five meters long, four meters wide, and three meters
high, including an open lavatory. They can be confined there 23 hours
Besides severe overcrowding, they're subjected to poor ventilation and
sanitation, no change of clothes or adequate amounts, wooden planks
with thin (at times vermin infested) mattresses to sleep on, poor food
and not enough, poor medical care, extreme pressure to break their will,
and widespread use of torture, abuse, cruel and degrading treatment
as standard practice.
Moreover, women and children are treated like men. Brutality and lawlessness
define Israeli policy. What began under occupation in June 1967, continues
Each April 17 and throughout the year, it's vital to know what goes
on and condemn it. Why else would Palestinians risk death by hunger
striking against it. They deserve our support and then some.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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