Thursday 20 April 2017

Palestinian Prisoners' National Day 17th April 2017

(Written in Arabic by the student twinning group in Abu Dis and translated - the leaflet from the prisoner demo in London today)

Every year on 17th April, all Palestinian people everywhere hold a day of solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners. This year specifically, the prisoners inside Israeli jails decided to start an open hunger strike, calling for their basic human rights. This is happening at a time when we have around 6500 prisoners inside Israeli jails, among them 300 children (under 18) and 57 women.

This year, on the morning of 17th April the Palestinian prisoner Leena al-Jarbooneh was released after spending 17 years in Israeli jail. She said she was sad to leave another 50 women behind her, some of whom are joining the hunger strike.

The hunger strike started with 1500 prisoners and in its first stage did not include children or people who are sick.

For us as Al Quds University students and people from Abu Dis, we have between us around 50 friends and relatives inside jail. Many of them are university students, and some of them are on hunger strike now, for example Islam Rabiyeh who is a first-year university student who was recently arrested and has joined the strike. 

We all started peaceful solidarity campaigns, beginning with a march on 17th April through Abu Dis. Mothers of prisoners and children of prisoners carried their photos and we started to walk towards the University Street. The Israeli army attacked this march and started to throw tear gas directly towards the middle of the demo, where children and women were walking. Many young people were wounded by rubber bullets and even journalists who came to cover the activity were attacked by the army and were kicked out from the area because the army don't want journalists to take the facts and send them to the outside world.

The army shot towards an ambulance, which stopped them reaching and rescuing people who were wounded.

On the next morning, 18th April in the morning, the army came to the area of the university and the schools. They surrounded them and stopped students from getting to their study. We didn't manage to go to University that day. They managed to stop and activity in solidarity with prisoners that was due to happen inside the university.

Among Al Quds University students in jail who are joining the hunger strike now, we have
ISLAM RABIYEH (19 years old)
AHMED AL HAJ HASSAN (22 years old)
EHSAN OTHMAN (22 years old)

We call the international community to raise this issue and to support the demands that our friends and brothers inside jail are asking for, and also to be in touch with the families of the prisoners who are meeting in solidarity tents in many towns in Palestine.

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