We are citizens of Israel who support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel's policies of colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid towards the Palestinian people.
Two in five Palestinian males- including children- will find themselves in Israel’s prisons at least once in their lifetime. Israel’s systematic criminalization of 40% of indigenous Palestinian men and boys has a dire effect on the fabric of Palestinian society, structurally, economically, and psychologically. There are currently over 6300 Palestinians in Israel’s prisons. 300 of them are children and youth. 60 of them women and girls. Over 500 are held without charge, trial, or release date. Palestinian prisoners in Israel's prisons are subject to systemic ill-treatment, arbitrary fines, medical neglect, beatings, and torture.
Out of 17 of Israel’s prisons, only one is within the occupied West Bank. Under both the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, an occupying power may not detain residents of the occupied territory in prisons outside of the occupied territory. This constitutes a war crime.
Israel has a civilian court system for Israelis, where overall due process is practiced; and a separate military court for Palestinians, where military judges rubber-stamp 99% of the defendants straight into prison before the trial even begins. In many cases, Palestinians do not receive a trial, and they are held in draconian “administrative detention” without trial.
Families of prisoners are punished not only with the absence of loved ones, or the loss of income, but with military raids into their towns and homes, punitive house demolitions, prevention of visits, and more often than not, they face criminalization themselves.
It is due to all this that both individual and collective hunger strikes are a common form of protest among Palestinian prisoners, in some cases reaching a duration of many months, with prisoners reaching near-death condition.
Instead of ending its illegal and discriminatory justice system in accordance with international law and standards, Israel’s response to Palestinian hunger strikes has been to legalize force-feeding, a policy which was condemned by the United Nations as tantamount to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
The threats of forced feeding and treatment have not deterred Palestinian prisoners from their struggle for the most basic human rights, and on the 17th of April, 1500 of them- approximately a fourth of all Palestinian political prisoners- launched an open-ended hunger strike.
From day one of the hunger strike, Israel has reacted by way of repeatedly dispersing the 1500 hunger strikers around its prisons in order to separate them from each other and create as much mental and physical discomfort as possible, banning family and lawyer visits, putting scores in solitary confinement, confiscating belongings, preventing religious practice, brutally raiding cells in the middle of the night and conducting strip searches. The latest Israeli measure has been the confiscation of salt, thereby allowing only hot drinking water (salt and water being the only two items sustaining the hunger strikers).
Strike leaders have been separated and sent into solitary confinement and the Israeli Prison Service refuses to negotiate with the most prominent of the leaders, Marwan Barghouti.
As Israeli citizens, we support the Palestinian prisoners in their hunger strike and as per their request to the BDS National Committee, we urge all those who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people to intensify the international campaign for Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Boycott Israel for Palestinian Freedom!
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Boycott from Within)