In April last year, many Palestinian political prisoners in Israel went on hunger strike calling for rights to family visits and the end of solitary confinement. Israel eventually conceded their demands. But now Israel says the deal did not apply to the Palestinian political prisoners who held Jordanian citizenship. These prisoners are still prohibited from family visits and various other basic rights.
Palestinian teacher and activist Sireen Khudiri, 25, was released from an Israeli prison on July 15 after two months in jail. A court decision was made to release her on bail worth 7000 shekels ($2483). Khudiri is now home with her family. Many people wrote letters and signed petitions to protest Khudiri’s jailing, promoted awareness of her situation or posted or wrote messages of support. It is likely these efforts had an impact in helping free Khudiri.
Since it was founded in 1948, the Israeli state has neglected the rights of Palestinian children, who have been deliberately ill-treated. Many Palestinian children have been killed, injured, jailed, tortured or used as human shields by Israel.
Stephen Murney is a political and community activist who lives in Newry in the north of Ireland. He is also a member of Eirigi (“Arise”), a legal, registered Irish socialist republican political party. Murney has frequently documented, photographed and recorded incidents of harsh Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) stop and searches of people, house raids and other rough treatment in the Newry area. Murney regularly highlighted these issues in local newspapers and on the internet.
Sireen Khudiri is a 24-year-old Palestinian teacher, human rights activist and political prisoner. She studied computer science at the Open University in Tubas, on the West Bank. Khudiri is an advocate of the rights of children in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to have a decent education and has been active in non-violent campaigns against the abuses imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities. Khudiri also writes to publicise the struggle of the Palestinian people for their rights.
Marie Mason is a 52-year-old mother of two children, a long-time activist in environmental and labour movements, an artist, gardener, musician, writer, poet, an Earth First! organiser, a volunteer for a free healthcare collective, a worker for numerous charities and a political prisoner in the United States. In 1999 and 2000, several acts of property damage and arson claimed by the Earth Liberation Front were carried out by Mason and her then-husband, Frank Ambrose. No one was injured in any of these protest actions.
In February 2011, the Deputy Engineer of Gaza’s only electricity plant, Dirar Abu Sisi, travelled to Ukraine, his wife Veronika’s native country, to seek citizenship after Israel’s 2008-09 attack on the Gaza Strip. The ferocity of that war made him fear for the safety of their six children and he decided to leave the besieged Gaza Strip. Not long after Abu Sisi’s arrival in Ukraine, he disappeared while on a train. His distraught family had no idea what had happened to him.
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, veteran Irish civil rights leader, said in response to the case of Irish republican Marian Price, who was returned to jail in 2011: “It is a clear signal to everyone who is not 'on board' and who is not of the same mind as the government that no dissent will be tolerated. “No dissent will be tolerated and you challenge the status quo at your peril.”.
The recent media revelations of the Israeli justice system’s treatment of Ben Zygier, who was known as Prisoner X, has further exposed to the world the charade that is the carefully manufactured image of Israel as a supposedly democratic and liberal state. Many politically aware people already know about Israeli human rights abuses, massacres and other crimes, but the almost total lack of reporting in the mainstream media of the true nature of Israel has kept some people in the dark about the immorality of the Israeli state that lurks behind the mask.
Palestinian political prisoner and hunger striker Samer Issawi wrote in the Guardian on March 3: “Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance.” As of January, according to Palestinian human rights groups, Israel held 4812 Palestinian prisoners in its jails.
A branch of the James Connolly Association was established in Melbourne in November last year. The Association was formed in Australia in 2011 and is named after the Irish patriot who lived and died in defence of Irish socialist republicanism.
“I don’t have any blood on my hands,” Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera wrote in February. “I haven’t victimized anyone. And I’ve devoted most of my life serving a just and noble cause and struggling to help make this world a better and more just one.” For 30 years, Lopez Rivera has been imprisoned in the United States for his activities in support of freedom and independence for Puerto Rico, which is still claimed by the US.
I firmly believe the left and progressive forces have made a serious error in viewing and equating Libya with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Libya is not the same situation; there has been a popular people's uprising. Other Libya articles Libya: 'Humanitarian' war escalates Two wars in Libya Springtime for NATO in Libya
It’s wonderful that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are getting good publicity and support for their great efforts exposing the lies and deceptions of the US, Israel and others. But I also would like to draw some attention to the fate of two Israeli whistleblowers and political prisoners held in Israel, Mordechai Vanunu and Anat Kamm. In 1986, Vanunu took a courageous moral stand against nuclear weapons. Vanunu exposed Israel’s secret nuclear weapons arsenal to the world after becoming disillusioned with his work at Dimona Nuclear Research Centre in Israel.
Things haven’t been going well for the Israeli occupation over the past few years. Numerous Israeli atrocities, such as the invasion and blockade of Gaza and the killings of civilians on the aid flotilla, have made many people aware of the truly oppressive situation facing the occupied Palestinians. Lately, Israel has hardened its repression against the Palestinians even further in response to the popular revolts breaking out in the surrounding Arab countries and the loss of its ally, the Mubarak regime in Egypt.
While I agree with most of the sentiments expressed in Peter Boyle’s article on Libya in GLW #872, I think the Left must always be flexible and practical. Sometimes the progressive movement has to unite with people and governments we don’t often agree with out of necessity and momentarily shared aims, such as in World War Two and East Timor.