There are currently over 6500 #PalestinianPoliticalPrisoners detained by Israel.
Over the past 50 years, more than 800 000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel (about 40% of all Palestinian men living under military occupation have at some point been detained by Israel).
Presently, there are more than 500 Palestinians held under Israel’s “administrative detention” (equivalent of Apartheid SA’s “detention without trial”).
13 Palestinian parliamentarians are also currently being held by Israel. Israel is also holding 300 Palestinian children (some as young as 13 years old).
In the last one year period Israel has arrested more than 400 Palestinians for social media posts.
To members of the media, we draw your attention to the over 25 Palestinian journalists incarcerated in Israeli prisons.
Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, writing in the New York Times, explained the reason for the current hunger strike by #PalestinianPoliticalPrisoners:
“I was only 15 when I was first imprisoned. I was barely 18 when an Israeli interrogator forced me to spread my legs while I stood naked in the interrogation room, before hitting my genitals. I passed out from the pain, and the resulting fall left an everlasting scar on my forehead. The interrogator mocked me afterward, saying that I would never procreate because people like me give birth only to terrorists and murderers.
The eldest of my four children is now a man of 31. Yet here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world. What is it with the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor and their backers that makes them deaf to this simple truth: Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.
There is hardly a single family in Palestine that has not endured the suffering caused by the imprisonment of one or several of its members…Among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel has taken captive are children, women, parliamentarians, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, political figures, militants, bystanders, family members of prisoners. And all with one aim: to bury the legitimate aspirations of an entire nation. Instead, though, Israel’s prisons have become the cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination. This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners’ movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom.”