Stephen Lendman

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Palestine's Mandela on Israel's Brutal Response to Mass Hunger Strike

Palestine's Mandela on Israel's Brutal Response to Mass Hunger Strike

by Stephen Lendman

Marwan Barghouti is Palestine's most popular and respected political figure - why Israel trumped up phony charges to imprison him for life, preventing him from becoming Palestinian president.

If able to run in an open, free and fair process, he'd win overwhelmingly. Imprisonment prevents it.

In a letter obtained by the PLO on Wednesday, the 17th day of a mass prison hunger strike Barghouti organized and leads, he wrote about Israeli Prison Service (IPS) harshness, its punitive measures, how Palestinian prisoners are severely mistreated, including torture, medical neglect, isolation, and denial of contacts with family members and legal counsel.

Life in Occupied Palestine is cruel and harsh, imprisoning thousands of its men, women and children for political reasons exacerbates intolerable conditions.

Writing from solitary confinement, somehow managing to get his letter out, Barghouti said "Israel has decided to respond (to hunger strikers for justice) through incitement, solitary confinement…and repression, with the illusion that this will make us abandon our sacred struggle and our legitimate demands."

Saying he was writing on behalf of around 1,600 strikers, he stressed "Israel cannot silence us, nor isolate us, nor break us."

Its vicious attempt "to exhaust and intimidate our people and destroy our ability to struggle against the occupation" won't succeed.

"This occupation has violated our cities, villages, refugee camps, holy places and Jerusalem, and it arrests dozens of Palestinians daily and subjects them to torture and ill treatment, including during interrogation, and falsely accuses them and adopts arbitrary decisions against them through their legitimate courts, civilian and military, and conducts policies and actions that constitute grave breaches under international law and crimes for which those responsible must be held accountable."

"The rights of our people (are) the most noble and just cause of our time. We are confident that the loyalty of the prisoners to their people and their country will be met with loyalty and that this battle is part and parcel of the battle of our people for freedom and dignity. We shall meet soon, in freedom."

Since hunger striking began on April 17, participating prisoners have been subjected to violence and coercive measures to break their unity and spirit - so far, to no avail.

Lawyer visits are banned, so they're unable to check on the health and condition of their clients.

Hundreds of courageous Palestinians put their bodies, welfare and lives on the line for just treatment Israel denies. They deserve universal support in solidarity with their struggle.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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