Palestinian Prisoners’ Day is a national and international occasion

From the womb of suffering, emerged the towering figures of courage that refuse to live under oppression and subjugation; they are the male and female prisoners in the jails of occupation; they rebelled against injustice and refused to bow down. Words fail to describe their suffering and steadfastness. They are the pulse of heroism and the anthem of dignity.

In an attempt to remind the peoples of the world and their countries of the extent of the suffering endured by Palestinian prisoners due to the Zionist entity’s violation of human rights, and the principles of international humanitarian law and its rules, especially the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners of 1955, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and the Nelson Mandela Rules for the Protection of the Rights of Persons Deprived of Their Liberty, which require the detaining state to take measures and procedures that enable them to enjoy legal, health, social, cultural, and other rights.

The Palestinian people commemorate on the 17th of April of each year “Palestinian Prisoners’ Day”. A day for all the free people of the world, expressing great pride in the struggles of the captive movement and affirming its distinguished position within the ranks of this people and its national movement, and as a tribute to the immense sacrifices they have made over decades in the context of their struggle and resistance against repeated attempts by the occupation to undermine their steadfast will.

The issue of Palestinian prisoners and detainees has become an important chapter in the Palestinian cause and an integral part of the Palestinian resistant history that is intertwined with the struggle of the Palestinian people and its resistance against colonialism over decades to regain its usurped rights and achieve its long-awaited freedom. Arrests have become an essential part of the occupation’s methodology in controlling the Palestinian people, and the most oppressive and coercive means to the Palestinian society. However, despite their bitterness and the harm they cause to individuals, families, and the Palestinian society, those arrests have not and will not stop the march of the Palestinian people and their struggle for freedom and independence.

It is of utmost importance to emphasize that Palestinian women have suffered greatly from arrests and persecution. In this context, the experience of the female captive movement in the prisons of the Israeli occupation gains a distinctive character, although it largely intersects with the experience of the Palestinian movement in general, it is more painful and suffering, and carries in its specificity the extent of national maturity in Palestinian society, where women participate in their struggle alongside men in resisting the Israeli occupation.

The history of the female captive movement has witnessed legendary stances, and they have formed demanding and militant entities inside the prisons. Female prisoners have fought for freedom after the Oslo Accords under the slogan (No Peace without the Release of all Prisoners), and participated in the struggle alongside other prisoners in all prisons to achieve their goals of freedom and the release of all prisoners.

Arrests and administrative detention are one of the most prominent consistent policies implemented by the occupation on a daily basis. Today, the number of prisoners in the occupation’s prisons is 9500 prisoners, not to mention all the detainees in Gaza who are subjected to the crime of enforced disappearance.

More than 16,000 Palestinian women have been documented arrested since 1967, and their numbers have increased after the seventh of October, where their number today is 80 female prisoners. This figure does not include all the female prisoners from Gaza held in the camps.

The occupation authorities target children on a daily basis, attempting to strike their future and fate, and its violent tools used against children are not different in level from those used against adult detainees. The number of child prisoners – Cubs, whose ages are under 18, exceeds 200 children, and there is information about children from Gaza in the camps.

Belonging to Palestine, the cause, and the people, women pay its price with their freedom, flesh, and blood, beyond any imagination, as they face the aggression of the occupation and its racist and fascist policies throughout the age of this odious occupation. It should be noted that the administration of the Israeli Prison Service continues to violate the rights of prisoners and detainees and restrict them, where the Israeli Minister of National Security, “Eitamr Ben Ghafir”, issued, in February 2023, a set of decisions aimed at depriving prisoners of their most basic rights guaranteed by international law, the most important of which are their arbitrary transfer between prisons, the establishment of a dedicated section for isolating Palestinian female prisoners, and the determination of the quantity of water allowed for the prisoner’s daily use. It also includes the policy of torture, collective punishment, raids, searches, deprivation of food and yard time, and the practice of physical activities and communication with families and defense organizations.

In addition to more than 3600 administrative detainees, the majority of administrative detainees are former prisoners who spent years in the occupation’s prisons, in addition to other categories, including school and university students, journalists, lawyers, engineers, doctors, academics, deputies, activists, workers, and first-degree relatives of martyrs and prisoners in the occupation’s prisons, including sisters of martyrs and wives of prisoners, and thousands of prisoners and detainees are subjected to hunger, oppression, and deprivation of treatment, medicine, and medical examinations, and medical crimes are committed against them, which led to the martyrdom of the leader prisoner Walid Daqqa, who spent 38 years in captivity. In addition to 600 prisoners serving life sentences.

The captive movement has been subjected to an unprecedented attack since the seventh of October to achieve what the successive occupation governments have failed to achieve, under the cover of the aggression on the Gaza Strip, where collective punishment was imposed on it and it was isolated from the outside world, it was deprived of family visits and the Red Cross was prevented from visiting prisons, enforced disappearance crime was carried out against prisoners from the Gaza Strip, and the illegal combatant law was applied to them. And the weapon of starvation was used against prisoners and detainees.

• Hence, we demand the widest solidarity with the prisoners and detainees held in the prisons of the Zionist occupation, and the reinforcement of all forms of support for them in the face of prison and jailers, and the international community should assume its responsibilities and intervene urgently to save their lives in light of the campaign of torture, abuse, and medical neglect they are subjected to.

• We declare our unconditional solidarity with the captive movement and their families, and we demand the immediate release of all prisoners and detainees, without condition or restriction, and we affirm our permanent commitment to work on exposing Zionist practices against them in all international and regional forums.

• We appeal to all freedom fighters in the world to unify efforts and develop forms of support for the Palestinian cause, including the struggle of the captive movement, and to activate all forms of boycotting the Zionist enemy and opposing normalization led by the collaborationist regimes in our region.

• We demand an immediate cessation of the aggression on Gaza and the West Bank, and the entry of humanitarian and medical aid to Gaza without condition or restriction.

• Ensure the safe return of all displaced persons in the Gaza Strip and guarantee the reconstruction of their homes and all educational and health institutions, and others.

Glory and eternity to the martyrs
And freedom for the prisoners and detainees.

Women’s Group, April 17, 2024.