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Gush Shalom: Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike

[] Partner behind the door / Gush ad Hebrew/English

[] Palestinian prisoners to start hunger strike

# Minister Hanegbi: Let them starve themselves to death # "Refusal to talk is arrogant and disastrous" (Gush Shalom press release) # Call to solidarity action by the families of the prisoners

*****

[] Partner behind the door / Gush ad Hebrew/English

English after Hebrew ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ä ù å ú ó ù î à ç å ø é ä ã ì ú ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ëáø ìôðé ùðä åçöé äúëååðä äøùåú äôìñèéðéú ì÷ééí áçéøåú. àê àé àôùø ì÷ééí áçéøåú çåôùéåú ëàùø îçñåîé öä"ì îåðòéí îòáø áéï òøéí åëôøéí åëàùø ëì îåòîã òìåì áëì øâò ìäâéò ìîòöø áéãé äùá"ë, àí ìà ì'çéñåì' îîñå÷é àôàö'é.

äùáåò ùåá äöéò ðùéà äøùåú äôìñèéðéú éàñø òøôàú ëé îãéðú éùøàì úñéø àú äîëùåìéí åúàôùø áçéøåú ãîå÷øèéåú á÷øá äôìñèéðéí, áôé÷åç áéðìàåîé. áî÷áéì úåëøæ äôñ÷ú àù ëåììú áéï éùøàì ìôìñèéðéí, äøùåú úàëåó àåúä òì ëì äñéòåú åä÷áåöåú äçîåùåú, åîéã ìàçø äáçéøåú úôúç îîùìú éùøàì áîå"î îæåøæ òí ääðäâä äôìñèéðéú äðáçøú.

àú ääöòä äòáéø òøôàú áàîöòåú îùìçú ùì ëòùøéí ôòéìé âåù ùìåí ùáé÷øå áìùëúå áøîàììä. äéà ôåøñîä áäøçáä áëìé ú÷ùåøú òåìîééí, àê äîòøëú äôåìéèéú ùìðå äúòìîä îîðä ìçìåèéï. áî÷åí æàú äîùëðå âí äùáåò ìùîåò ùåá åùåá àú äîðèøä: àéï ìðå ôøèðø, äëì ùí ùçéúåú åàðøëéä…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ?äàí ìôìñèéðéí éù ôøèðø áéùøàì ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ îåãòú âåù ùìåí "äàøõ", 13 áàåâåñè 2004

THE PARTNER BEHIND THE DOOR

Already a year and half ago the Palestinian Authority intended to hold elections. But it's quite impossible to have free elections when army checkpoints prevent traffic between cities and villages and with candidates who can any moment be imprisoned by the army, if not targeted for "elimination" by Apache helicopters.

This week the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat suggested again that the State of Israel removes the obstacles and facititates democratic elections among the Palestinians, under international supervision. Simultaneously there should be declared a general cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority would impose it on all the factions and militias, and right after the elections an Israeli delegation would start accelerated negotiations with the elected Palestinian leadership.

This message Arafat transmitted through a delegation of some twenty Gush Shalom activists who visited him in his Ramalla Compound. It was published widely in foreign media, but our own political establsihment ignored it totally. Instead we continue to hear also this week, again and again, the same mantra: "we don't have a partner, it's all corruption and chaos over there...

DO PALESTINIANS HAVE A PARTNER ON THE ISRAELI SIDE? Gush Shalom ad published in Ha'aretz, August 13 2004 ~~~

[] Palestinian prisoners to start hunger strike

# Minister Hanegbi: Let them starve themselves to death # "Refusal to talk is arrogant and disastrous" (Gush Shalom press release) # Call to solidarity action by the families of the prisoners

# Minister Hanegbi: Let them starve themselves to death

Hebrew/òáøéú: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/SearchArticle.jhtml

English http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/464469.html

http://www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=10670

# "Refusal to talk is arrogant and disastrous"

Gush Shalom Press Release, August 14, 2004

[Hebrew attached - òáøéú îö"á ]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Negotiate with the Palestinians - on prison conditions and on overall solutions; "Refusal to talk - arrogant and disastrous" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, calls upon the Sharon Government to open immediate negotiations on prison conditions with the representatives of the Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails - ahead of the prisoners' hunger strike scheduled for tomorrow. Many of the prisoners' demands are reasonable, and their fulfilment would detract nothing from "security" - for example, providing regular family visits. At present, family visits to Palestinian prisoners are rare and irregular, with families often having to spend a whole day's traveling for a visit of half or three quarters of an hour. Moreover, many prisoners-for example, prisoners from Nablus - get no family visits at all. Internal Security Minister Hanegby expressed an intransigent and arrogant position, declaring his blanket and outright rejection of all the prisoners' demands. This is part and parcel of a government policy which insists upon imposing unilateral solutions and rejects any negotiations with the Palestinians - on prison conditions, and overall solution, or anything in between. Hanegby's demagoguery on "murderous terrorists" and "blood on the hands" relies on the ignorance of the general public. Few Israelis know, for example, that more than a thousand Palestinians are held in "administrative detention" without trial, against whom no charges were ever presented, much less proven. Also, in many of the cases where Palestinians are serving prison terms handed down by a court, these terms in fact result from unfair "show trials" whose result was in fact predetermined in advance - such as the Maerwan Bargouti trial. It is futile for the state of Israel to re-invent basic rules and ignore the historical experience gathered in dozens of countries around the world. A significant part of the present UN member states emerged out of a struggle by underground organizations - organizations invariably called "terrorist murderers" but the colonial authorities and considered by themselves to be freedom fighters, and with whom the authorities eventually had to negotiate. Indeed, Israel itself is a clear case in point. In the years previous to 1948, Jewish underground organizations challenged British rule in mandatory Palestine. The British authorities conducted a fierce campaign against these organizations, declared their members to be dangerous terrorists, imprisoned thousands of them and executed many. Indeed,these organizations were responsible for such acts as the 1946 blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, in which more than a hundred people were killed in a single minute - a horrific 'record' which none of the Palestinian organizations, in their numerous attacks on Israeli targets, ever came close to matching. Nevertheless, the British had to release all of the Jewish underground prisoners. From their ranks, and those of the 'wanted terrorists' on whose heads the British authorities had declared a price, there eventually emerged no less than three prime minsters of the state of Israel - Yithchak Rabin, Menachem Begin and Yitchak Shamir. (Rabin, arrested in 1946 and held in a large British prison camp at Rafah, was elected by his fellow prisoners to represent them, and was involved in negotiations with the administration on prison conditions.) All three ex-prisoner or ex-terrorist Prime Minsters of Israel were in turn invited to state visits in Britain and received with full honours at 10 Downing Street. There can be no doubt that a similar stage will be reached in Israel's relations with the Palestinians in general, and with the Palestinian prisoners in particular. The sooner the government comes to this realization, the lesser the number of casualties and the amount of suffering still in store for both peoples.

Further info: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson +972-(0)3-5565804, +972-(056)709603

# Call to solidarity action by the families of the prisoners ------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 21:34:11 +0300 From:

Campaign for the Rights of Political Prisoners [àéï âéøñà òáøéú ] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israeli Prisons Begin Hunger Strike ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To all Friends and Supporters of Human Rights around the World:

The Committee for the Families of Political Prisoners and Detainees in the West Bank, representing 7,500 political prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, is seeking the support of the international community in its campaign against the gross violations of their rights that the prisoners are enduring and against the appalling conditions under which they are being detained.

Political prisoners in Israeli prisons will be commencing a hunger strike on Sunday, August 15, 2004 to protest their conditions. They complain that the conditions they experience are reminiscent of the former Abu Ghoraib facility in Iraq which gained worldwide notoriety recently for its treatment of detainees.

When informed by the prisoners of their intended hunger strike prison authorities responded with harsher treatment, vowing not to give in to any of the prisoners’ demands even if the hunger strikes result in the deaths of prisoners.

Some of the conditions that the prisoners are protesting include:

-- Arbitrary and indiscriminate beating of prisoners in their cells, in prison courtyards and during transportation to and from prisons.

-- Arbitrary and indiscriminate firing of tear gas into prisoner’s cells and prison courtyards and intimidation of prisoners by guards entering their cells with guns.

--Humiliating strip searches of prisoners in full view of other prisoners and guards each time they enter or exit their cells

--Subjecting prisoners to solitary confinement for excessive periods of time, for months and even years.

--Arbitrary imposition of financial penalties on prisoners for minor infractions, arbitrary revocation of visitation rights and extended confinement to cells as punishment for minor infractions such as singing or speaking too loudly

--Confining children with adult prisoners and political prisoners with criminals

--Withholding or delaying medical treatment and the provision of medication to sick detainees

--Severely restricting the category of family members entitled to visit prisoners thus denying visitation rights to other close family members

--Arbitrary denial of travel permits to family members of prisoners living in the West Bank or Gaza so that they cannot travel to prisons to see their relatives

--Imposing conditions on travel for family members and obstacles that result in travel of a few hours being prolonged to 16 or 17 hours for a 45-minute visit

--Conducting humiliating strip searches of visiting family members even though they are usually separated from the prisoners by a full glass barrier as well as a wire mesh barrier.

--Providing such poor visitation facilities that prisoners find it difficult to see or hear their loved ones

--Maintaining prisoners on near starvation diets that are insufficient to sustain health.

--Applying rules concerning items that prisoners may receive from their families arbitrarily and inconsistently, on the whim of the guards, with each visit.

--Withdrawing studying privileges that in the past allowed prisoners to continue their high school or university studies through correspondence courses

The treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israel violates both international and Israeli laws, as well as rules governing the administration of Israeli prisons. The Committee for the Families is planning a series of activities in the West Bank to coincide with the start of the hunger strike on August 15th. A press conference in Ramallah will kick off the campaign. Hunger strike solidarity tents will be set up in the centre of all the cities in the West Bank and in all the Red Cross Centres and will be occupied by the public around the clock for as long as the prisoners’ strike lasts. The Palestinian Prime Minister’s office has declared August 18th a National Day for Prisoners for all Palestinians to show solidarity with the prisoners. All government ministers, members of the Palestinian National Council and heads of all political parties will join the public in the Solidarity Tents and fast in support of the prisoners.

Other planned activities are: On Friday, August 20, after Jum’a prayers at mosques processions will march towards the Solidarity Tents. On Saturday, August 21st, Palestinians in various Israeli cities will march, together with other supporters, to the prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are being held and on Sunday, August 22, after church services processions will march to the Solidarity Tents. These processions will be held every weekend during the campaign. On August 23rd children of the prisoners will lead a procession. On August 25th all professionals involved in the Justice system in Palestine will congregate at the Solidarity Tents in their official legal gowns and will lead a procession to the centre of their cities. On August 26th the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, will lead a mass procession in Ramallah. On August 29th all members of the public are invited to join the open hunger strike and in the evening candlelight processions will be held.

The families of the Palestinian political prisoners plead with you, the members of the international community, to join in solidarity with our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who are being held in Israeli prisons by organizing an International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners on September 4, 2004. We ask you to demonstrate, march, hold silent vigils or activities to publicize the plight of the political prisoners and bring pressure on the government of Israel to cease these violations of law and to treat Palestinian prisoners as human beings entitled to basic human rights.

We ask you also register your protests by letter, fax, email, or telephone to the officials listed below. Ask them to stop the harsh treatment of Palestinian political prisoners and to accede the demands of the striking prisoners so that the conditions under which they are imprisoned are consistent with international norms of human rights and basic decency.

Also, please register your protest with your own political representatives and governments ministers.

Please send a copy of your protest message to alhureih@yahoo.com Messages of support from organizations would also be appreciated by the prisoners and their families. Please send them to the same address with some details of the organization. For more information visit our temporary website at www.palsolidarity.org/prisoners or telephone (972) 2 277 4602 or email: info@palsolidarity.org

With much appreciation for your valued support,

Mahmoud Ziadi, General Secretariat,

Families of Palestinian Political Prisoners PO Box 2151, Ramallah, Palestine.

List of Israeli government officials:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Office of the Prime Minister 3 Kaplan Street, P O Box 187 Jerusalem 91919, Israel Fax: +972 2 6705475 E-mail: pm_eng@pmo.gov.il

Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid Ministry of Justice 29 Salah al-Din Street Jerusalem 91010, Israel Fax: +972 2 6285438 E-mail: sar@justice.gov.il

Minister of Defence Shaul Mofaz Ministry of Defence, 37 Kaplan St., Tel-Aviv 61909, Israel. Fax: +972-3-69-62757/16940/17915 e-mail: sar@mod.gov.il or pniot@mod.gov Minister of Interior Security Tzahi Hanegbi Ministry of Interior Security Kiryat Hamemshala, P O Box 18182 Jerusalem 91181 Tel: 972-2-5309999 Fax: 2-5847872/11832 sar@mops.gov.il

Addresses of Israeli embassies worldwide can be found at www.embassyworld.com/embassy/isreal1.htm or go to the Government of Israel website at www.info.gov.il/FirstGov/

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