Palestinian Prisoners Day 2023
This #PalestinianPrisonersDay stand with Palestinian prisoners facing barbaric treatment.
Today, April 17th, is #PalestinianPrisonersDay. On this day, and everyday, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society, proudly reaffirms our unwavering solidarity with all Palestinian political prisoners in apartheid Israel’s prisons and detention centers.
We call on our supporters to take meaningful action by escalating all BDS campaigns to isolate apartheid Israel’s regime of oppression and to pressure corporations that are deeply involved in Israel’s violations of prisoners’ human rights.
Palestinian Prisoners in 2023
Under all Israeli governments our prisoners have faced repression, violence and have been stripped of their basic rights. Yet, under apartheid Israel’s new government, its most far-right, racist, and fundamentalist ever, our brave prisoners are facing further barbaric and punitive treatment. Israel’s fascist “National Security” Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, promised a brutal crackdown on Palestinian prisoners’ conditions since coming to power in January 2023.
Ben-Gvir measures included restricting showers to four minutes per individual, allowing only one hour of running water per day in each prison wing, resulting in less than four minutes of water usage per person in some prisons, closing down bakeries for prisoners, limiting morning exercise, reducing family visits, conducting aggressive raids on prison wings, and expanding the population of inmates in solitary confinement, among others. However, since his declaration, Palestinian prisoners launched a number of protest actions that escalated until more than 2000 prisoners (to be followed by all prisoners) were to start an open hunger strike at the end of March 2023, resulting in a victory that saw the suspension of the infamous promised measures.
Furthermore, Israel has initiated a campaign to seize the assets of both present and former prisoners who received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians with Israeli citizenship or residency now face deportation from their homeland on the same grounds, as was the case with Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender from occupied Jerusalem. Salah’s forcible transfer from his homeland was branded a war crime by Amnesty International. You can read more about the experiences of Palestinian Prisoners facing Ben-Gvir’s barbaric policies here.
In response to the ongoing brutal measures of repression against all Palestinian prisoners the BDS movement calls for escalating the #BoycottHP and #StopG4S campaigns. Hewlett Packard provide services for the Israeli police, who arrest, harass and beat Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem where over 1,000 Palestinians have been arrested so far this year. In 2017, HPE was contracted to maintain video conferencing systems for the Israeli police for the amount of 366,000 NIS. In 2018 it was contracted to maintain servers for Israel Police until 2021. In 2021, HP was contracted yet again to maintain servers for Israel Police until 2023, in the amount of NIS 4 million.
G4S, owned by Allied Universal, continues to be complicit in violations of international law through its 25 percent stake in Policity Corporation, Israel’s national police training centre which trains officers in violent, racist, militarized tactics aimed at repressing Palestinians, including abuse and torture.
We also call for an end to the Deadly Exchange programmes between Israeli and US law enforcement entities in which “worst practices” are shared to promote and extend violent, discriminatory and repressive policing in both countries. These include racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on human rights defenders.
Palestinian political prisoners in numbers
According to the latest figures from Addameer, the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, there are currently 4,900 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centers.
This number includes approximately 1,016 “administrative detainees” denied due process and arrested on “secret evidence” that neither they nor their lawyers are permitted to see or refute in court. The number of Palestinian administrative detainees has almost doubled from the same day last year when Addameer recorded 530 administrative detainees.
Also held in Israeli dungeons are 160 Palestinian child prisoners, from the ages of 12 - 17 and 30 Palestinian female prisoners - many of whom were beaten by Israeli forces in Damon Jail in January of this year.
Since the beginning of the year, apartheid Israel’s occupation forces have inflicted a campaign of collective punishment via mass arrests of Palestinians. From January 1 to April 5 2023, more than 2,200 Palestinians have been arrested. Over 1,200 of those arrested are from Jerusalem alone.
Mass arrest of Palestinians is nothing new. According to a 2017 report by Addameer, over the past 50 years, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel, this figure is now believed to be closer to 1 million. This means that about 40% of Palestinian men and boys living under military occupation have been deprived of their freedom. Almost every Palestinian family has suffered the imprisonment of a loved one.
Against this backdrop we hold on to hope! With your help, BDS campaigns are thwarting Israel’s brutal objectives and contributing to the creation of a more beautiful and just world.
To show meaningful solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners take the following 5 actions:
Lobby your government or parliament to impose a security and #MilitaryEmbargo on Israel. This includes cutting military funding in the case of the US and a ban on arms and spyware technology from Israeli companies such as NSO Group, Intellexa and Quadream.
Take the first steps towards declaring your community, trade union, association, church, workplace, student government/union, city council, business, or other organization an Apartheid Free Zone (AFZ), by excluding companies that are complicit in apartheid. These include companies listed in the UN database for involvement in illegal settlements, and others like HP, Caterpillar, IBM, AXA, HD Hyundai, and G4S/Allied Universal.
Boycott Israeli and international brands complicit in Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. This includes all Israeli banks (Leumi, Hapoalim, etc.) and major multinationals such as: Elbit Systems, HP, G4S/Allied Universal, AXA, CAF, PUMA, Caterpillar, Hyundai Heavy Industries, JCB, Volvo, Barclays Bank, Alstom, Motorola Solutions, IBM, and CEMEX.
Boycott all academic, cultural, sports, and tourism engagements in apartheid Israel or supported/sponsored by Israel (or its lobby groups and complicit institutions).
Join a BDS campaign or a strategic Palestine solidarity group near you to act collectively and effectively.
Channel your moral outrage strategically and mobilize to #DismantleApartheid and all forms of racism and oppression.