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Advocates Worldwide Unite for Palestinian Prisoners Day

by Thaabit Kamaar

Canada – Globally recognised, Palestinian Prisoners Day sees families, advocates, activists, and supporters uniting to express solidarity and raise awareness about the plight of thousands of Palestinians confined in Israeli-controlled prisons without fair trial or due process.

Held annually on April 17th, the event serves as a stark reminder of the longstanding practice by the Israeli regime of mass incarcerating Palestinian, men, women, and children over 12 years old, who resist the occupation of their ancestral lands.

On this day, attention is drawn to the systematic suffering, torture, and various forms of abuse inflicted by Israeli authorities, both physical and psychological, upon Palestinian detainees. Moreover, it’s an occasion to pay homage to the resilience and bravery of Palestinian resistance and freedom fighters enduring decades-long imprisonment without reprieve.

However, according to Charlotte Kate from the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, this year’s commemoration holds added significance.

Since October, Israel’s relentless aggression in Gaza has not only intensified attacks in other Palestinian territories but also exacerbated conditions for those detained in Israeli-controlled prisons. These prisoners endure harsh treatment and continued abuses.

“What we have seen in the November prisoner exchange … is children coming out with their arms in casts because they’ve been beaten. Palestinian prisoners have even died as martyrs since October including Walid Daqqa.”

Monday saw the release of 150 Palestinians in Gaza who had been detained by Israeli forces. These individuals have reported instances of abuse suffered during their time in captivity.

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Israeli Prisons Used to Suppress Palestinian Resistance

Across occupied Palestine, the Israeli government’s strategy involves confining an entire population through the erection of separation walls, military checkpoints, and stringent movement restrictions. These oppressive tactics aim to quell Palestinian resistance and dictate their everyday existence.

The perpetual state of confinement has numbed Palestinians, making raids, arrests, and unjust detentions a routine part of life, akin to purchasing basic groceries. According to Kate, virtually every Palestinian can recount a personal or familial experience of being taken and imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

“Nearly every Palestinian family has been touched by imprisonment and incarceration in some way. 40% of Palestinian men in the West Bank and Jerusalem have spent time in an occupation prison.”

Nonetheless, due to Israel’s targeted imprisonment of Palestinian intellectuals, leaders, and activists for extended durations, they have unwittingly turned their prisons into hubs of academia and revolution.

“What we have seen inside the prisons is that these imprisoned leaders, revolutionaries and struggles of freedom have turned the dungeons of the Zionist occupation into revolutionary schools.”

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