On the 21st January 2008, over 200 people took to the streets of Nablus to demonstrate in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli prisons. Organised by the local municipality, Nadi al Aseer (prisoner support club made up of local community members including family and friends of prisoners), and the Tan-Weer centre for cultural enlightenment, the demonstrators called for the release of all political prisoners.
The protest began outside the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), where a statement condemning the treatment of Palestinian prisoners was delivered, along with a demand that the ICRC and wider international community fulfil their obligations in accordance with international law.
“From our solidarity stand with our imprisoned sons, we demand the international community to move rapidly to stop these crimes against, not only international law, but also humanity so as to oblige the Israeli occupation to abide by the regulations of the international law and the Fourth Geneva Charter.
We also demand the International Committee of the Red Cross to bear their human responsibilities and fulfill their moral, practical, ethical and legal commitments towards our prisoners inside the prisons.”
The ICRC has come under heavy criticism of late for its failure to carry out frequent visits to Israeli prisons in which Palestinians are being held and failure to deliver urgently needed supplies. This is despite the grave violations of prisoner rights taking place in these prisons which include prevention of family and lawyer visits, the systematic practice of torture, the deprivation of medication and premeditated attacks on prisoners which led to seven deaths in custody in 2007.
The demonstration then marched towards the centre of Nablus, where statements of solidarity with the population of Gaza were declared as Gaza entered its fourth day of Israeli enforced total lockdown.