10 September 2009
On Thursday, Palestinians, international and Israeli solidarity activists gathered to break the Ramadan fast with the iftar meal on a hilltop overlooking the Israeli prison, Ofer. After the meal, a series of speeches were given voicing opposition to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and brutal detention policy, noting that there are approxiamtately 11,000 political Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
During the month of Ramadan, families and communities break the fast together and iftar was taken collectively as a sign of solidarity with the prisoners in Ofer. At least 150 people came from various villages in the region around Ramallah to support this action.
Relatives of incarcerated Palestinians gave the speeches following iftar and the evening culminated with a speech, via mobile phone, by Hamsa Sulliman Yasen, a current inmate in the Israeli prison system.
This display of solidarity with the prisoners of Ofer follows three weeks of regular Monday morning protests at the gates of the prison by local Palestinians and international activists. The response of the Israeli forces to these peaceful protests is becoming increasingly aggressive. At the latest demonstration border police were seen preparing tear gas to fire on the crowd before the leaders of the protest chose to end the demonstration.
Ofer prison holds well over 1,000 of the 11,000 Palestinians currently incarcerated by Israeli Occupation Forces.