By Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Freedom Road Socialist Organization stands in solidarity the 1500 Palestinian prisoners who are entering their 35th day of an open-ended hunger strike – the “Battle for Dignity.” We salute the revolutionary steadfastness and discipline or all those who have chosen to put their lives on the line to resist the deplorable treatment they face, as Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The hunger strike began on April 17, when prisoners began refusing food to demand basic human rights, such as: proper medical treatment, allowing family visits, access to higher education, an end to administrative detainments, ending solitary confinement and stopping imprisonment without charges or a trial.
As news of the prisoners on hunger strike began to circulate, supporters joined the hunger strike. For example, on May 6, Leila Khaled, the icon of the Palestinian resistance and a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), announced in Aman, Jordan, that she was beginning an open-ended hunger strike in support of the striking prisoners. With the participation of supporters around the world, the estimated number of participants has swelled up to 2000.
Israeli forces have attempted to shut down the hunger strike. They first circulated a video of Marwan Barghouti, a hunger strike leader allegedly eating a handful of cookies. This video doesn’t have a date stamp to confirm when it was taken. Occupation forces have also violently shut down protests in support of the prisoners and two Palestinians have been killed in the process. The transfers of weakened hunger strikers to field hospitals is done through an arduous process meant to put strain on tired bodies. Finally, Israeli settlers have been holding barbecues in front of prison windows in the hope that the aroma of cooking food will weaken their resolve.
But they haven’t broken. The Battle for Dignity now enters its second month with the numbers of prisoners going on striking growing larger.
In the U.S., it is vital that every progressive person stands in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners by publicizing their struggle and protesting Israel’s occupation of Palestine. We have a duty to oppose U.S. support for Israel.
The battle being courageously waged by Palestinians is part and parcel of the fight for the liberation of Palestine. These prisoners are risking their lives for the emancipation of their nation and to end the colonization by Israel. The Battle for Dignity is paramount in the struggle against imperialism and Zionism, and the struggle to free all historic Palestine – from the river to the sea.
We must continue to stand in solidarity with all Palestinian prisoners, abroad or here in the U.S., and we will not rest until Palestine is free.