Israel punishes jailed Palestinians for support of U.S. prison strike

Palestinians confined in Israel’s brutal prisons issued a statement of solidarity on Aug. 20 with the National Prison Strike in the U.S. Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed the utmost support for their sisters and brothers jailed in this country’s horrific system of mass incarceration who courageously launched a nationally coordinated protest against their imprisonment and the oppressive conditions they face. The prison protest against “modern-day slavery” began on Aug. 21 and ran through Sept. 9.

For bravely carrying out this act of international solidarity and other acts of defiance, Israeli prison officials retaliated against imprisoned PFLP leaders on Aug. 29. They transferred Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh from Hadarim prison to Ramon prison, moved Wael Jaghoub to Gilboa prison and sent Mohammed Musa Khdeir to Ramon. All PFLP members held in Megiddo prison were put into solidarity confinement after protesting the horrendous conditions in the facility and denial of their human and legal rights.

The blog of Samidoun: Political Prisoners Solidarity Network reported this story. It explains Israel’s fury after the PFLP prisoners “recently released a widely distributed statement in solidarity with U.S. prisoners engaged in work stoppages, boycotts and hunger strikes against forced prison labor, racism and exploitation inside U.S. jails.”

The strike began on the 47th anniversary of the murder of George Jackson, “an event that was recognized in Palestine and around the world as an assassination of a true voice of struggle by the U.S. ruling class.” The prison strike is “a struggle of oppressed and exploited workers” who are “confronting the unmasked brutality of capitalism behind bars” and demanding “an end to the new form of slavery” — corporate exploitation of the incarcerated.

The statement expresses solidarity with Black, Latinx and Arab people who face mass incarceration. The same ruling class that “profits from confiscating Palestinian land and resources and bombing children in Yemen also profits from the forced labor of prisoners.” And it adds: “Your struggle is a workers’ struggle that is part of the global conflict against the vicious exploitation that our peoples face today.”

The Palestinians behind bars extend a “revolutionary salute to the imprisoned strugglers of the Black Liberation movement and other liberation movements, including Mumia Abu-Jamal,” and call for the release of freedom fighters, from Leonard Peltier to Mutulu Shakur. They recognize the prisoners’ strike “within the heart of U.S. imperialism, the greatest danger faced by our Palestinian people and the peoples of the world.

“[Y]our victory will be a victory for Palestine,” they stress, just as Palestinians’ victories “will be a victory for all struggles against imperialism, racism and oppression within the United States and globally.”

Workers World newspaper published the entire PFLP statement in its Aug. 30 issue; read “Palestinians extend solidarity to U.S. prison strike” posted at workers.org. The introduction expresses solidarity with the heroic 6,000 Palestinians currently incarcerated by the repressive Israeli regime for the “crime” of fighting for the liberation of their people. There is also extensive coverage of the prison strike and support actions across the U.S. at the website.

(Graphic by Melanie Cervantes for the National Prison Strike)

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