3 October 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza
Today over a thousand Palestinians converged on the International Committee of the Red Cross building in Gaza, Palestine, continuing a tent protest that began outside the walled compound yesterday and bolstering a weekly sit-in by the families of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.
These events began a week of action in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on their seventh day of an escalating hunger strike against the inhumane conditions in Israeli prisons. 35 Palestinian activists joined the prisoners in their open-ended hunger strike and a number of others, including the Gaza leaders of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, announced their participation in a one-day strike.
“I was in prison from October 15, 2003 until December 31, 2005,” said Mohammed Abu Uda, one of the many former prisoners in Gaza. He was arrested because someone had mentioned his name under torture, claiming that he was part of the resistance. He was taken to the prison in Ashkelon, where he was subjected to 68 days of investigation. “I was kept in solitary confinement for 30 days, I went out only for questioning. These interviews lasted from 8 to 24 hours, periods in which I could not eat nor drink nor sleep. Once I was questioned for 64 hours straight.”
Abu Uda was held from October 15, 2003 until December 31, 2009, serving a year beyond his initial sentence.
Abu Hamza, one of the organizers of the garrison to the Red Cross, explained that Palestinian prisoners “are kept in isolation, they are prevented from communicating with family or with anyone.” He also mentioned Palestinians like Abu Khaleel Khandeeja, Haragano Ishaq, Ali El Jaafri, and Elraiy Ibrahim, who have died in Israeli prisons due to torture, the denial of medication, and previous hunger strikes.
Israel currently detains over 6,000 Palestinians, including about 270 held under “administrative detention” without charge or trial.