In yet another act of terrorism, Shareen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-amerikan journalist, was targeted and killed by the illegitimate state of I$rael and its military. The I$raeli state, its occupation of Palestine, and its armed forces are and have been backed by the united state’s ruling class since 1932. On 11 May 2022, while on the job, covering an I$raeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, she was maliciously assassinated.
Shareen Abu Akleh became a thorn in the side of the I$raeli state as a result of her continuous on the spot coverage of daily state repression, human rights violations, and Palestinian genocide. She covered many detentions, home demolitions (which Palestinian homes were targeted in, and demolished to force them to relocate for I$raelis) military raids of schools and universities, and Masjids, and killings of Palestinians. This brave frontline work placed her on I$raeli hit lists.
Shareen Abu Akleh was a journalist for decades and a Palestinian revolutionary-nationalist, who being a trailblazer in her field, inspired many Palestinian and Arab wimmin to serve their people through the work of liberation journalism.
Her funeral brought out tens of thousands of supporters, mostly Palestinian, in Jerusalem. As pallbearers carried sister Shareen, the I$raeli military attacked them, and further disrupted the occasion with malicious zionist violence against Palestinian nationals.
Sadly, the colonization of Palestine, the Apartheid regime of I$rael, and violent and fatal repression of native inhabitants is all apart of the imperialist system. What does imperialism look like? It looks like land theft, it looks like millions of people living without power or plumbing, it looks like bombing and shelling of homes, schools, hospitals and finishing the job by attacking refugee camps. It looks like storming universities, confiscating study materials, it looks like the process of erasing an entire human group, and that’s exactly what’s taking place in Palestine. There will be many who call for justice for Shareen Abu Akleh, but the sad truth is that justice for her and justice for the Palestinian nation can only be achieved with the end of the I$raeli occupation.
FREE THE LAND!!! FREE PALESTINE!!!
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a grassroots initiative that began in the early 2000’s to gain international support for the occupied Palestinian nation against I$rael’s continued military suppression, genocide and land theft.
In recent years the BDS movement has indeed gained international support, even in the face of reactionary pro-imperialist backlash from the states who support genocide, land theft and military crimes.
The goal of BDS is to isolate I$rael on the international field by upholding the “simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity”.
Students around the world have been pressuring their schools and universities to join the ‘Academic Boycott’, initiated in 2004 by the Palestinian campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of I$rael (PACBI). As student activism again comes to life here in the United $tates, it is important that students engage in internationalist frameworks. Amerikan student activists should support the academic boycott of I$rael, which is part of the overall BDS movement. Students should do this not as a mere moral cause, but the understanding that over 50% of the U.$. states strongly support the I$raeli military-apartheid-colonization, so much so that 35 states have Anti-BDS laws. They support the frequent military raids of Palestinian universities under the pretext of ‘countering terrorist activities’, the imprisonment and murder of student activists peacefully protesting, closure of schools and the recent I$raeli military move to arbitrarily control what is and isn’t taught in universities. A new government procedure allows the military to restrict visiting professors who teach subjects supposedly ‘not relevant to Palestinians’.
In the United $tates, the free flow of ideas has begun to be brought to an end. Book bans, Don’t Say Gay laws, the backlash against Critical Race Theory, what’s next? Will the same reactionaries rally police/ military force to suppress your student demonstration? The book Chican@ Power and the Struggle for Aztlán has been banned in prisons in many parts of occupied Aztlán. Will the reactionaries prevent your free thought? NEWSFLASH THEY ALREADY ARE! Students in North America should pressure their institutions to join the Academic boycott and the wider BDS movement. END ALL COLLABORATION WITH THE ILLEGITIMATE STATE, until Palestine is free.
MIM(Prisons) adds: One of the first essays many students of MIM study is On Contradiction by Mao Zedong. In it Mao explains how change must come from within. The liberation of Palestine depends on an effective national liberation struggle from within Palestine, but it can be assisted by resistance to the funding and arming of the I$raeli state by Amerikans whose government is the primary prop of I$rael. A strong anti-imperialist movement in this country would be able to limit the sale of military goods to I$rael, Ukraine and anywhere else where the empire wants to fight wars against its enemies without sending its own troops.
Notes: (1) ‘Palestinian-american journalist assassinated,’ Monical Hill, FreedomSocialist,vol.43,no.3 (2) ‘Academic fortify boycott of Israel’, Raya Fidel, FreedomSocialist,vol.43,no.3
The Republic of Aztlan extends our arms in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Why should the liberation of Palestinian people be so important to us Chicanos? It is because we share the legacy of colonialism; a struggle for national liberation; a common destiny when it came to empire-building of white nations; we share the common experience of forced expulsion from our homelands; and we share the same oppressor – world imperialism.
We will examine the five reasons that the Chicano nation should find solidarity with our oppressed nation brothers and sisters in Palestine:
We share a common thread of 100+ years of colonization;
We share a common thread of a struggle for national liberation;
The commonality in our histories is that both Palestinians and Chicanos share a common destiny and historical role when it comes to world imperialism. In the U.$. the doctrine of manifest destiny justified land theft and genocide as a divine right of a specific nation’s people. In the U.$. those people were the Euro-Amerikan settlers. In Palestine, the Arabs face land theft and genocide which is based on a belief that I$raelis have the religious right to said land and therefore exterminating Palestinians and taking their land is an unfortunate necessity in creating a supposed Jewish state.
With this idealist religious justification, forced expulsion has been unleashed on the Palestinian people. We recall that in the 1950s, Operation Wetback expelled 1-2 or more million Mexican people whether they were born in the U.$. or Mexico didn’t matter.
Our oppressors are the same - world imperialism. At this point, the primary contradiction in the world is with imperialism and the oppressed nations. This is how Chicano liberation is inextricably linked to Palestinian liberation.
The I$raeli-Palestinian conflict is not the product of ancient ethnic nor religious hatred, nor is it about modern religious hatred either. It is the tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same land – one claim being idealist and the other being historical materialist. It is the outcome of a 100-year-old colonial occupation by Zionists and later I$rael, backed by the British, the United States, and other major imperial powers. This project is about the national bourgeoisie of a persecuted religious minority in Europe speaking for all Jews in every corner of the world (from Russia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Spain, the United $tates, etc.) into building a powerful homeland granting them protection which will be gained through eradication of an indigenous population. It is about the rendering of the Palestinians as non-people, writing them out of the historical narrative as if they never existed and denying them basic human rights. It depends on the metaphysical idea that all Jewish groups from all around the world all with different history, language, culture, territory, and psychological make up all belong to one nation because of religion. It feeds off of the anti-semitic idea that Jews are outsiders in the various respective countries they reside. Yet to state these incontrovertible facts of European colonization — supported by innumerable official reports and public and private communiques and statements, along with historical records and events — sees I$rael’s defenders level charges of anti-Semitism and racism. We ask the question: what is more anti-semitic? The claim that says zionism requires an ethnic cleansing and assimilation of various historically Jewish communities around the planet into the model European Jewish groups? Or the claim that says Jews don’t belong in our country and they should live in their own place where no one has to deal with them?
Edward Said, a Palestinian intellectual of the famous book “Orientalism” who grew up in British occupied Palestine summarized: “This is a unique colonialism that we’ve been subjected to where they have no use for us. The best Palestinian for them is either dead or gone. It’s not that they want to exploit us.”
Zionism was birthed from the evils of anti-Semitism. It was a reaction to the discrimination and violence inflicted on Jews, especially during the savage pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century that left thousands dead. The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in 1896 published “Der Judenstaat,” or “The Jewish State,” in which he warned that Jews were not safe in Europe, a warning that within a few decades proved terrifyingly prescient with the rise of German fascism.
Britain’s support of a Jewish homeland was always colored by anti-Semitism. The 1917 decision by the British Cabinet, as stated in the Balfour Declaration, to support “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” was a principal part of a misguided endeavor based on anti-Semitic tropes. The British elites, including Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, also believed that Jews could never be assimilated in British society and it was better for them to emigrate. It is telling that the only Jewish member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s government, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration. He argued that it would encourage states to expel its Jews. “Palestine will become the world’s ghetto,” Balfour warned.
This partially turned out to be the case after World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many rendered stateless, had nowhere to go but Palestine. Often, their communities had been destroyed during the war or their homes and land had been confiscated through fascist brutality. Those Jews who returned to countries like Poland found they had nowhere to live and were often victims of discrimination as well as postwar anti-Semitic attacks and even massacres.
These first Jewish settlers knew they needed an imperial patron to succeed and survive just like the early Euro-Amerikan settlers needed sponsors from their old countries. Their first patron was Britain, which sent 100,000 troops to crush the Palestinian revolt of the 1930s and armed and trained Jewish militias known as the Haganah. The savage repression of that revolt included wholesale executions and aerial bombardment and left 10% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. After the British left after the contradiction between the settlers and the British became antagonstic, the Zionists’ second patron became the United States, which now, generations later, provides more than $3 billion a year to I$rael. I$rael, despite the myth of self-reliance it peddles about itself, would not be able to maintain its Palestinian colonies without its imperial benefactors. This is why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement historically frightened I$rael. It is also why Chicanos should support the economic boycott of I$rael as well.
The early Zionists bought up huge tracts of fertile Palestinian land and drove out the indigenous inhabitants. They subsidized European Jewish settlers sent to Palestine, where 94% of the inhabitants were Arabs but once colonialism began to look bad in the post-World War II era of decolonization, the colonial origins and practice of Zionism and I$rael were whitewashed and conveniently forgotten in I$rael and the West. In fact, Zionism — for two decades the coddled step-child of British colonialism — re-branded itself as an anti-colonial movement.”
“Today, the conflict that was engendered by this classic nineteenth-century European colonial venture in a non-European land, supported from 1917 onward by the greatest Western imperial power of its age, is rarely described in such unvarnished terms,” Khalidi writes. “Indeed, those who analyze not only I$raeli settlement efforts in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights but the entire Zionist enterprise from the perspective of its colonial-settler origins and nature are often vilified. Many cannot accept the contradiction inherent in the idea that although Zionism undoubtedly succeeded in creating a thriving national entity in I$rael, its roots are as a colonial settler project (as are those of other modern countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Nor can they accept that it would not have succeeded but for the support of the great imperial powers, Britain and later the United States. Zionism, therefore, could be and was both a national and a colonial settler movement at one and the same time.”
Much like the United $tates, I$rael too was started by the outcasts of the old world who were more useful in the new world (North America and Palestine respectively) than the old (Europe). Through venturing through North America old colonialism was able to gain a major section of primitive accumulation (land conquest and enslavement of our First Nation and New Afrikan brothers), and transform itself into modern imperialism; and through the outpost that is I$rael, modern imperialism was able to export its finance capital safe and sound into middle east proper.
One of the central tenets of the Zionist and I$raeli colonization is the denial of an authentic, independent Palestinian identity. During the British control of Palestine, the population was officially divided between Jews and “non-Jews.” One time I$raeli Prime Minister Gold Meir said:
“There was no such thing as Palestinians … they did not exist.”
This erasure, which requires an egregious act of historical amnesia, is what the I$raeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called the “politicide” of the Palestinian people. Khalidi writes, “The surest way to eradicate a people’s right to their land is to deny their historical connection to it.” Chicanos have been subjected to the same name erasure by the U.$. government’s push to call us Hispanics, Latinos, or Mexicans and erase our Chicano name which is fundamentally based on national identity.
The creation of the state of I$rael on May 15, 1948, was achieved by the Haganah and other Jewish groups through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and massacres that spread terror among the Palestinian population. The Haganah, trained and armed by the British, swiftly seized most of Palestine. It emptied West Jerusalem and cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, along with numerous towns and villages, of their Arab inhabitants. Palestinians call this moment in their history the Nakba or the Catastrophe.
Since 1948, Palestinians have heroically mounted one resistance effort after another, all unleashing disproportionate I$raeli reprisals and demonization of the Palestinians as terrorists. But this resistance has also forced the world to recognize the presence of Palestinians, despite the feverish efforts of I$rael, the United States, and many Arab regimes to remove them from historical consciousness. The repeated revolts, as Said noted, gave the Palestinians the right to tell their own story, the “permission to narrate.”
I$rael is an apartheid state that rivals and often surpasses the onetime savagery and racism of apartheid South Africa. Modern I$raeli society is infested with metaphysical racial chauvinism with “Death to Arabs” being a common popular chant at I$raeli soccer matches. I$raeli mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, I$raeli Arabs. The government of I$rael has promulgated a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The I$raeli educational system, starting in primary school, is an indoctrination machine for the military. The I$raeli army periodically unleashes massive assaults with its air force, artillery and mechanized units on the largely defenseless 1.85 million Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in thousands of Palestinian dead or wounded.
The Zionists could never have colonized the Palestinians without the backing of Western imperial powers whose motives were driven by anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews who fled to I$rael would not have done so but for the virulent European anti-Semitism, that by the end of World War II saw 6 million Jews murdered. I$rael was all that many impoverished and stateless survivors, robbed of their national rights, communities, homes, and often most of their relatives, had left. It became the tragic fate of the Palestinians, who had no influence in the European pogroms or the Holocaust, to be sacrificed on the altar of hate.
Don’t forget that the Obama administration resupplied I$rael in the middle of their slaughter of innocents in Gaza in 2014. Obama, Biden, Trump the democrats and racist corporate media are all complicit with the war crimes against humanity that I$rael is committing. On top of this, the various police forces of Amerikkka utilizes exchange programs with the state of I$rael to trade intelligence and train in I$raeli tactics of suppressing Palestinian resistance in the urban areas. Those same tactics will be implemented on the ghettos, barrios, and reservations to discipline entire communities of oppressed nations. Back in the George Floyd uprisings, the streets were littered with gas canisters which claimed “Made in I$rael.” It got to a point Palestinian activists were sharing counter-police tactics online for us in how to deal with those tear gas and police tactics.
As revolutionary nationalists, we highlight the necessity for solidarities for not only our nations but for all oppressed nations to gain their self-determination. We also call to combat anti-semitism and metaphysical views of what nations are which give to movements like Zionism in the first place. For these reasons, the Republic of Aztlan and the Chicano Nation finds solidarity with Palestine. From the river to the sea, Aztlan and Palestine will be free!
On 28 December 2021, Hisham Abu Hawash of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine has gained a victory against I$rael’s counter-revolutionary “administrative detention” policy. Hawash’s lawyer, Jawad Boulos, has stated that I$rael pledged for Hawsah’s release on 26 February 2022 and therefore the hunger strike will end.(1)
Hawsah is a 40-year-old father of 5 and a member of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine. He is among several Palestinian revolutionaries waging a hunger strike in protest of I$rael’s unjust policy, which locks up Palestinians without any due trial. He has faced 8 years of time imprisoned with 4 of those years under administrative detention.(2)
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (PIJ) rightfully threatened counter-attacks if Hawsah ever died in custody.(3)
Palestinians across the occupied land have gone in protests supporting the strikers. One protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on 6 January 2022, included signs which read: “Those starving behind bars feed the universe with dignity” – a slogan we extend to hunger strikers not only in Palestine but across the world.(4)
The Reactionary Policy of Administrative Detention
Administrative detention is a form of arrest or imprisonment done without trial – usually for issues of “terrorism” or rebellion. Many imperialist countries use the tactic of administrative detention to control unruly populations/groups.(5) In the United $tates for example, around 182,869 migrants from the Third World were held in detention centers through this method in 2020.(6) Despite the more advanced and developed contradictions between I$rael and Palestine, compared to oppressed nations in the United $tates and Euro-Amerika the year after, I$rael held a mere 1,595 Palestinians in administrative detentions. Amerika has truly earned the title “Big Satan” in contrast to I$rael’s “Little Satan” status on this front.(7) The administrative detention policy of the I$raelis work through the arrest and detention of Palestinian revolutionaries and activists. The idealists arguing for I$rael will say that administrative detention has been applied to I$raelis as well – notably, against ultra-chauvinist zionist terrorists and unruly settlers. Throughout the years, only 9 I$raelis were held in administrative detention; Palestinians and Arabs number in the thousands.(8) Any sober minded person and materialist will be able to recognize that the exception proves the rule in this case like so many often times.
DOWN WITH ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION!
THOSE STARVING BEHIND BARS FEED THE WORLD’S DIGNITY
Notes: 1. Joseph Krauss, “Palestinian prisoner ends hunger strike in deal with Israel” Associated Press, January 4th 2022
5. “Israel’s Policy of Administrative Detention,” European Parliament
6. “United States Immigration Detention Profile,” Global Detention Project
7. “Prisoners society: Israel issued 1,595 administrative detention orders against Palestinians in 2021,” Press TV
8. “Stop Administrative Detention,” Prisoner Support Human Rights Association
On 6 September 2021, 6 Palestinian prisoners of war have escaped an I$raeli maximum security prison known as Gilboa by digging a tunnel with plates and panhandles.(1) The tunnel was 72 meters long, and the I$raeli Security Agency has suspected that the excavation had started around November of 2020.(2) This incident is being talked of as the most significant prison break in the history of Palestine.
The 6 Palestinian prisoners were members of Palestinian nationalist organizations (The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the al-Quds Brigades) which have resisted the I$raeli occupation.(3) Out of the 6, four of the escaped freedom fighters were serving life sentences.(4)
In response to the prison break, the I$raeli Prison Service (IPS), launched a lockdown on Palestinian prisoners: break time has been cut to one hour a day; prison canteen has been closed; and the number of captives able to walk in the yard has been decreased. 400 prisoners, who have been deemed “Jihadist” and a threat to the security of the prisons, have been separated from one another as well. On top of this, family visits have been completely taken away by the pigs.(5) For our readers on the inside, these tactics by the I$raeli prison pigs to punish all for the actions of some sound similar as the United $tates and I$rael are very similar in character. Both are settler-colonial states, and both trade and exchange tactics/information used to better repress their respective oppressed nations.
The Day of Rage
In response to this crackdown, I$raeli prisons faced strikes and riots. In Katziot prison, seven cells were set on fire by Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikes have been set to begin in Gilboa on Friday, 17 Septemebr 2021.(6) The Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission has declared that 1,380 prisoners have joined the hunger strikes.(7)
Outside of the prison walls, the nationalist organization Hamas has declared a “Day of Rage” on the Friday of September 10th.(8) At the al-Aqsa mosque, supporters of the escaped freedom fighters have organized a sit in protest after the end of prayer. The I$raeli forces stormed the mosque in response to the protest and killed one man and arrested another. The man killed was a Palestinian doctor named Hazem al-Jolani.(9)
About a week after the escape, the 6 prisoners were recaptured into imprisonment. One of the freedom fighters, Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri, was put in solitary confinement with nothing but a blanket and was subjected to physical and psychological torture.(10) All other prisoners involved in the escape were sent to separate high security prisons as well.(11)
Internationalism in the Prison Movement
While studying Engels’ writings on the bourgeois state, Lenin said the following:
“Engels elucidates the concept of the ‘power’ which is called the state, a power which arose from society but places itself above it and alienates itself more and more from it. What does this power mainly consist of? It consists of special bodies of armed men having prisons, etc., at their command.”(12)
As Lenin explains, prisons serve a class purpose in maintaining power in class society. In the world we live in today, the bourgeois class utilizes prisons to control their “unruly” populations under their command. Under socialism and proletarian dictatorship, prisons will exist as well (albeit under principles of rectification and rehabilitation learned from the past socialist experiences rather than punishment for punishment’s sake). For the case of not only the 6 prisoners of war who escaped Gilboa, but also for all prisoners in Palestine and all prisoners in the United $tates, their facilities are a material form of capitalist-imperialist power locking them up in their every move. Here in the United $tates, we have had historic moments of prisoners fighting against the repression and seeking for redemption and liberation through class struggle. The Attica uprising of 9 September 1971 is a prime example of that class struggle. With Attica as the battle cry of the revolutionary prison movement in the United $tates, we hope to reach that cry across the oceans and to Palestine itself.
From Attica 2 Gilboa!
Down with the I$raeli Prison Service! Down with the Department of Corrections!
Bibliography1. Toi Staff, September 14, 2021, “Jailbreak probe said to find 11 Gilboa prisoners started tunnel dig in November.” Times of Israel2. Ibid.3. The Palestine Chronicle, September 6, 2021, “Six Palestinian Prisoners Break out of Gilboa Prison after Digging Tunnel”4. Ibid.5. Middle East Eye, September 10, 2021, “Palestinian killed during ‘day of rage’ solidarity protests for prison escapees”6. Khaled Abu Tomaeh, September 14, 2021, “Palestinian prisoners to begin hunger strike Friday,” The Jerusalem Post.7. Ibid.8. Ibid.9. Ibid.10.Yeni Safak, September 16, 2021, “Palestinian prison escapee to keep fighting for freedom.”11. Middle East Eye, October 1, 2021, “Israel: Recaptured Palestinian jailbreakers transferred to solitary confinement”12. Vladimir Lenin, August 1917, “State and Revolution.”
25 May 2017 - Actions in cities around the world were taken today to mark 40 days since 1500 Palestinian political prisoners have been living on salt and water alone to protest the conditions of their confinement. The message at these rallies made clear connections between the struggle against long-term solitary confinement, detention without trial, lack of health care and restrictions on contact with families and the broader anti-colonial struggle. At a local demonstration, this connection was also made to struggles here on occupied Turtle Island.
Signs reading “Palestine Will Be Free” and “Withhold Aid to Israel” lined the sidewalk in front of the Israeli consulate as Aarab Barghouti, the son of political prisoner Marwan Barghouti, spoke to the crowd in San Francisco. Aarab spoke of not being able to enter Jerusalem, the city where ey was born. Aarab told of eir sister visiting their father to plead that ey not risk eir health in a hunger strike. But Marwan Barghouti responded that, “I’m doing this because I haven’t been able to touch any of you for 15 years. I’m doing this because we have more than 5000 Palestinian prisoners who haven’t been charged or had their day in court.”
The participants this correspondent spoke with were all quick to speak of colonialism and the seizure of land when asked why so many Palestinians languished in Israeli jails. They spoke of the one-sided violence and the resistance that Palestinians made to it that led to their imprisonment. Everyone knew that the United $tates is the biggest prison state in the world today. But when asked why, only half (of a small sample size) made the same connections to land grab and national oppression in this country. Others spoke of the “Prison Industrial Complex”, free labor, profits, outdated laws and a system that works against the poor. This correspondent pointed out that MIM(Prisons) has research on their website debunking some of the common ideas held about the “PIC,” and for-profit prisons in the United $tates.
The relative silence around the colonial question here on occupied Turtle Island is somewhat understandable. We do not have an apartheid state like Israel has in the occupied territories of Palestine. The internal semi-colonies here have democratic rights for the most part, and integration has progressed in many ways. Meanwhile, the struggle for land is only popular among indigenous people on the reservations that are isolated enclaves on this vast land.
Nonetheless, MIM(Prisons) was not the only group trying to make the connection. One speaker opened with, “Here on Ohlone Nation, we stand on stolen land and we stand in solidarity with another indigenous nation.” The representative of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center mentioned ICE detainees currently on hunger strike and prisoners in California who recently went on hunger strike for similar conditions. A speaker from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) talked about the leading example the Palestinian prisoners were making in solidarity with all those fighting colonialism. Ey went on to say, “We hope the movement on this territory can take direction and inspiration from those imprisoned here for political and social crimes.”
One protestor told this correspondent that they’d been fighting in solidarity with the liberation of Palestinians since 1967. This persyn was one who saw prisons in the United $tates being used for the same purposes as they are used in I$rael. Ey told a story of meeting some young Israelis:
“I was in Brazil four years ago, on a bus, and there was a group of young Israelis who recently completed their military service. I had on this bracelet, which says ‘Free Gaza.’ So we started talking, and they were freaked out, meeting a U.S. citizen [saying these things]. They were arguing, well, we didn’t do anything to the Palestinians that the Amerikans didn’t do to Native Americans and Blacks. As if that was a justification.”
Young Israelis see the connection and so should we. Another persyn we spoke to pointed out how Israelis train the NYPD. So it goes both ways. But the United $tates is the imperialist power and I$rael would not exist without its decades of patronage. The liberation of Palestine remains at the forefront of the struggle for national liberation of all oppressed nations today because of the blatant lack of democratic rights and self-determination. Just as the recent hunger strike finds its strength and base in a strong national liberation movement, the prison movement in the United $tates last peaked when Black, Chican@, Puerto Rican and Indigenous liberation movements reached a peak some 50 years ago. Without making these connections again, today’s growing prison movement will fizzle out in reformism and false promises.
Many attending the protest were interested to check out Under Lock & Key, and were inspired to hear about the USW petition campaign to oppose the Israeli bombing campaign in August 2014. In turn, our movement should find inspiration in the heroic strike going on in Israeli prisons today, and the continued struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom from settler occupation.
UPDATE: As this article was being reviewed by our editor news broke that the strike had ended and a settlement reached after more than 800 prisoners didn’t eat for 40 days. The terms of the agreement with the Israeli state are many, and full details have not been released. They include many improvements to family contact and visitations, access to educational materials, medical conditions for the sick, access to better foods and cooking, better sports equipment and addressing high temperatures and overcrowding. In addition, a prisoners’ committee has been established, providing a mechanism for addressing future issues. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network released the following statement:
"On this occasion of the prisoners’ victory, we know that there is a long struggle to come, for liberation for the prisoners and liberation for Palestine. We urge all of the Palestinian communities, supporters of Palestine and social justice organizers who took to the streets, drank salt water, engaged in hunger strikes, expressed their solidarity and organized across borders and walls to celebrate the victory of the prisoners with events and actions on 4-6 June, in Celebrations of Dignity and Victory.
“In these celebrations, we will recognize the power of the Palestinian people to defeat the occupier and the colonizer, honor the prisoners and their steadfastness, and emphasize the ongoing struggle. These celebrations are an occasion to escalate our demands for Palestinian freedom – for the liberation of Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the entire land of Palestine.”(1)
Yesterday was Palestinian Prisoners' Day. Yesterday was also two days after the fifteenth anniversary of intifada hero Marwan Barghouti's illegal abduction from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
It is on this day that American-backed Israelis, in action opposing the two-state solution, chose to put Palestinian reconciliation and national unity symbol Marwan Barghouti in solitary confinement.(1)
Solitary confinement is a practice widely implemented as a form of discipline and political repression in the #1 prison state in the world, the United States. Used to repress protests of inhumane conditions, solitary confinement is itself widely considered inhumane particularly when done for long periods of time. Some Palestinians have been in solitary for years. Other kinds of worse treatment often accompany solitary confinement. It seems likely that Marwan Barghouti will be in solitary for several days at least.
A long-time prisoner himself with an immediate interest in the outcome of the protest like any of the other "security prisoners" in Israeli prisons, Barghouti was reportedly leading a large prisoner hunger strike against inhumane and illegal treatment of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons. One of the things the prisoners are demanding is an end to solitary confinement, which it seems Barghouti could be in until the hunger strike ends. A mass hunger strike in 2014 lasted two months.(2)
Reactionaries are trying to get the public to associate the open hunger strike with the murder allegations against Barghouti. They are suggesting Barghouti is the only reason for the strike. The hunger-striking prisoners' demands include an end to health negligence and an end to detention without trial. I$rael is holding hundreds of Palestinians without Israeli citizenship in administrative detention. Because of multiple anniversaries in 2017 related to the colonization and occupation of Palestine, massive protests would have happened whether Barghouti was alive or not.
Many in various countries do consider Marwan Barghouti — one of several imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, belonging to different parties — to be Palestine's "Mandela," a potential future Palestinian president. Barghouti was taken by the imperialist settler formation and Amerikan outpost named "Israel" fifteen years ago and subjected to a show trial in a kangaroo court. An intifada figure and strong supporter of Palestinian nationalism and independence before and after being abducted, Barghouti is reportedly able to unite various groups of Palestinians in a way that few are. Many people in various countries already support Barghouti's release.
Barghouti supported the Oslo Accords in the past. Azanian Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu nominated Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize in June last year. At his show trial, Barghouti noted in Hebrew that he was a figure for peace for two peoples.
Barghouti has supported trying different approaches, permitted under international law, to ending an occupation that is illegal. Months and years after major waves of protest and resistance, there are still thousands of Palestinians in I$raeli prisons for resisting the illegal occupation and settlement. One of them happens to be Barghouti.
Since the I$raeli goon squad kidnapped Barghouti in 2002, the highly influential and extremely wealthy United $tates has had many years of chances under various presidents to secure Barghouti's release. It hasn't happened. Two-term Democratic president Barack Obama didn't do it. Instead, Obama deceived Palestinians and gave Israel a record-breaking aid package. Obama sought to protect the image of Democrat warmongers and do-nothings, and the United States' image, after now-President Trump won the U.S. election and it became obvious that the United States was going to lose its undeserved standing as a peacemaker.
The West Bank and East al-Quds ("Jerusalem") already had tens of thousands of illegal settlers at the time of Ariel Sharon's al-Aqsa provocation against the two-state solution in 2000. For years the United States has verbally supported the two-state solution and verbally opposed settlement construction, in land universally understood to be occupied territory, while hampering the two-state solution and supporting settlement construction in actuality. Whether Barghouti would ever be president or not, Barghouti's continued detention is hampering processes Palestinians need to go through to arrive at important decisions with a higher level of unity.
The two-state solution isn't total liberation of Palestine. Many Palestinian leaders and figures mediating Palestine's international struggle support it. Some Palestinians consider the two-state solution a temporary step. According to survey reports, many support some approaches to it more than they support others. Though not always agreeing with or emphasizing some approaches to the two-state solution, Marwan Barghouti has supported it.
Despite internal disagreement about specific issues and non-Palestinians' demoralizing statements about the ability to end and reverse settlement activity, the Palestinian nation as a whole is still struggling for the two-state solution in the midst of U.S. hindrance and the intransigence of some Zionist and non-Zionist elements in Israel. Palestinians and various Arabs and Muslims do not support the two-state solution any less than the Amerikans, who take advantage of conflict and violence in the Middle East, do. As discussed on this website [see notes], even Hamas and Iran support the two-state solution more than the United States does in reality.
Israelis have a chance to oppose West Bank annexation, oppose West Bank settlement activity, and support Palestinian independence. They have a chance to live in relative peace by ending their idolatrous attitude toward the United States and ending their dependence on that hegemonic, rogue aggressor for support in the midst of worsening conditions. However, the I$raeli entity stupidly chose to put Barghouti in solitary yesterday. In a month and a half is the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Syrian Golan. It is possible the Hunger Strike for Freedom and Dignity will still be going on then.
Regardless of intent or how anyone feels about the two-state solution, the broad Palestinian unity around the prisoners' hunger strike may be helping to promote Palestinian reconciliation and unity in other areas, and advance the two-state solution. That is true even though some of what the hunger strikers and prisoners are asking for could be won without freeing prisoners or winning a sovereign independent Palestinian state.
In the United States, there are also hunger strikes including strikes over solitary confinement.(3) So-called intersectionality in the Palestine-United States context is sometimes discussed in terms of pursuing equality with oppressors within a single state. Unity of Palestinians with various perspectives inside and outside prison, though, has the potential to contribute to Palestinian nationalism. Within U.S. prisons, unity of various whites and people in different non-white nations (including the Chican@ nation, the New Afrikan nation, and First Nations) often targets repression affecting many different prisoner demographics. This benefits the oppressed and activists inside prison, and can benefit fights for the self-determination of oppressed nations. Often this has nothing do with uniting Amerikans in general, or with advancing integrationism, which is a dead-end. Incarceration in the United States, and incarceration of so-called security prisoners and other Palestinians in I$raeli prisons, show oppressed nations' need for self-determination.
In response to the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike, some are downplaying Palestinian unity or trying to take advantage of differences and discourage supporters by saying the strike is just about Barghouti. Yet, many different movements in Palestine have members in Israeli prison and are supporting the strike.
In a statement on the hunger strike, Barghouti refers to "mass" arbitrary detention and mistreatment and opposes occupation.(4) Barghouti refers to "the nation" to which prisoners belong, and "every national liberation movement in history." Barghouti identifies Israel as an occupying power. The prisoners' suffering is related to the suffering of the Palestinian nation.
"The eldest of my four children is now a man of 31. Yet here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world. What is it with the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor and their backers that makes them deaf to this simple truth: Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost."
Among other things, Barghouti addresses collective punishments. "Palestinian prisoners and their families also remain a primary target of Israel's policy of imposing collective punishments."
"Among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel has taken captive are children, women, parliamentarians, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, political figures, militants, bystanders, family members of prisoners. And all with one aim: to bury the legitimate aspirations of an entire nation."
Some are using the failures of Amerika's phony leadership as an excuse to oppose the two-state solution, Palestinian nationalism in general, and peace efforts in general. This is unfortunate. The United States must be opposed. In the international sphere, there needs to be new leadership in coordination with Palestine. Other countries need to influence Israel. Palestinian officials must give up any remaining illusions they might have about the Amerikans. The United States has proved uninterested in taking serious steps to resolve the conflict. In fact, it promotes and benefits from it. The United States, itself an illegitimate settler entity, is hegemonic, just gets in the way of real peace efforts, and is losing whatever credibility it had in the context of Mideast peace. The AmeriKKKan population has repeatedly proved willing to support or go along with U.S. aggression in the Middle East and, as a whole, is interested in the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict only enough to make things worse. The Amerikan population doesn't really care about Jews and Muslims overseas. When it seems to care about their conditions, it exploits them for chauvinistic, jingoistic and warmongering purposes and to justify Amerikan corruption in the Middle East.
This writer understands why Israeli activists would want to focus on opposing their own country or its policies. However, globally there needs to be more opposition to the United States in order to advance Palestinian liberation. Various elements inside and outside Israel are accepting U.S. hegemony and failing to support Marwan Barghouti's and other political prisoners' release while opposing Palestinian nationalism and supporting amalgamation with settlers. That is unwise.
Israelis and the world must act to immediately end the folly of refusing to negotiate with Palestinian prisoners, and end the abuse of hunger strike leaders and participants. Marwan Barghouti and other leaders or political prisoners must be freed from solitary confinement and must be freed from prison. The practice of taking Palestinians to be imprisoned in Israel must stop. The world's countries must support Palestinian independence and sovereignty regardless of the United States' priorities and exert pressure and influence so that demands of the hunger-striking prisoners are met as long as Palestinians are in I$raeli prisons.
On 18 October 2015, an early twenty-something Eritrean migrant by the name of Habton Zerhum, was unjustly shot by an Israeli security guard and then beaten by a mob of racist Israeli vigilantes in the town of Beersheba. He later died from his wounds. Zerhom's murder was the result of an earlier event where an Arab-Israeli citizen with a gun and knife allegedly killed an Israeli soldier, stole his weapon and opened fire on a crowd, injuring nine. In the mayhem that followed, a video shows Zerhom crawling for cover when a security guard walks up and shoot him at close proximity. As Zerhom lay in a pool of his own blood, he is cursed, kicked and hit with a rack of chairs by a racist mob of Israeli Jews. It was later reported that the security guard mistook Zerhom for an attacker.
According to other news reports Zerhom worked in a plant nursery and was in Beersheba to renew his work visa. Zerhom, who migrated to Israel to seek a better way of life, "was a modest man, quiet, and he tried to do his job as best as he could" said his employer, Sagi Malachi.
Immediately following the incident, Yaakov Amidror, former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, "It is a disgrace to Israeli society, and those that carried out this lynching need to be found and brought to justice." What is interesting is that Amidror used the word lynching to describe the brutal murder of Zerhom but not the murders of thousands of Palestinian people since 1947.
The settler "state" of Israel has been rocked by knife-wielding Arab-Israeli protestors reacting to rumors that the Israeli government was planning to ban Palestinians from accessing Jerusalem's Temple Mount which is home to Islam's third most holiest site - the Al-aqsa Mosque. Israel has occupied this site since 1967. But the current Arab-Israeli conflict is rooted far beyond Israeli occupation of the Temple Mount. It is rooted in historical land-theft, genocide and colonization of the Palestinian people by the imperialist Israeli settler state. Israel's rise to power and dominance in Palestine began in the late 1800's when European Jews formed a movement called zionism which sought to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Jews began arriving en masse in Palestine in the early 1900s, angering the Arab population who had been the majority in the region since AD 600. In 1947, to quell a potential uprising by Arab Palestinians, the United Nations proposed dividing the region into an Arab state and a Jewish state, which the Palestinians rejected of course. Not to be deterred from inhabiting a land which it felt it was entitled based upon Biblical prophecy, the settler state of Israel forcibly came into being on 14 May 14 1948.
The Palestinian intifadas (uprisings) are a natural reaction to almost seven decades of brutal Israeli occupation of their homeland. Palestinian revolutionary nationalism developed as a response to Zionism and its frequent land-thefts and unauthorized settlement expansions into Palestinian territories. But Israel's bullying, colonization and subjugation of the Palestinian people wouldn't be possible without the nearly $3 billion Israel receives annually in U.S. military aid. This aid guarantees the United States a strategic military ally in the Middle East. Clearly the U.S. government is an accomplice to the crime of genocide committed by Israel against defenseless Palestinian men, women and children.
Don't think it's genocide? According to the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide" adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, genocide means "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Taking the United Nations's definition of the crime of genocide into consideration, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the settler state of Israel is committing mass genocide against the Palestinian people via outright murder, bombing campaigns, embargoes, land thefts, forced migrations, unlawful arrests and detentions, etc. A Jewish people who once suffered genocide at the hands of Hitler and his Nazi regime have themselves assumed the role of neo-Nazis by committing genocide upon the Palestinians because of their ethnic-Arab background and Muslim and Christian beliefs.
The Israeli colonialism/imperialism that the Palestinian people are confronted with on a daily basis is equal in its intensity and brutality to the English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and american variety which nearly wiped out entire populations of Indigenous natives in Central and South America beginning in 1492; the abduction of Africans from their homeland in the 15th century; the lynchings and mass slavery and incarceration of Blacks beginning in 1619; and the colonial oppression which the Haitian people successful resisted during the Haitian revolution from 1790-1802, leading to their independence and the establishment of the first Black Republic in the world in 1804.
Those of us who embrace and practice revolutionary internationalism must stand in solidarity with the Palestinians and oppressed people all over the world who are engaged in national liberation struggles for their right to self-determination. All power to the Palestinian people!