24 APRIL 2017

I call upon Jewish Israelis to support the call for justice for the Palestinian People.

Silence in the face of the Administrative Detention of over 500 Palestinians is to be complicit in that injustice. Administrative Detention means that prisoners have not been charged or tried in the courts. Administrative Detention means that officials, presumably in a “security cluster”, have decided that these prisoners are a threat to the security of the Israeli state. Administrative Detention means that the prisoners are held, possibly, on the basis of rumour or malicious gossip.

Administrative Detention is a violation of the norms of a democratic criminal justice system.
Israel shows, by the continued use of Administrative Detention over many decades, that it is not a democratic state but an authoritarian dictatorship. Israel uses Administrative Detention only against Palestinians within Israel and in the Occupied Territories. Many Palestinians who are being detained are Israeli citizens.

Israel does not use Administrative Detention against Jewish Israelis or Jews. Israel shows once again that it is an Apartheid State; using laws and regulations in a racist oppressive manner against Palestinians.

We South Africans know from our apartheid past how laws and regulations such as Administrative Detention are used to bolster a racist, apartheid system. Over the past 50 years more than eight hundred thousand(!), I repeat: eight hundred thousand, Palestinians have been imprisoned by the Israeli State under many explicitly racist laws and administrative regulations under illegal military occupation of Palestine.

I am disappointed that too many Jewish Israelis are silent in the face of Israeli state racism and the denial of justice. Silence in the face of injustice such as Administrative Detention makes people complicit in that injustice. I hear that Israel has announced new prison regulations making it an offence for prisoners to go on hunger strike. Apartheid South Africa made protest against racist laws an offence punishable by very heavy penalties. That did not stop the struggle to end apartheid. It did cause unnecessary suffering among the oppressed and the oppressor by prolonging the struggle for justice and Freedom from racial oppression.

We know that many Palestinians are opposed to the Israeli State’s system of racial differentiation of the rights of people by race and religion. The legal and administrative discrimination against the Palestinian people through separate laws and regulations constitutes the internationally recognized Apartheid crime against humanity. We condemn the continued abuse of the Universal Human Rights of the Palestinian people.

The immediate and long-term answer to the needs for peace and stability throughout Palestine and the Israeli state is not more Administrative Detention, nor imprisonment of those who demand justice. The answer is not more illegal detention without trial. The answer has to be a social and economic system under the rule of law that develops an inclusive and democratic society.

Therefore we believe that the hunger strike by political prisoners is justified and we say: End Administrative detention NOW! Release all political prisoners NOW!

Denis Goldberg, Cape Town, 24 April 2017

Denis Goldberg is an anti-apartheid struggle stalwart and Rivonia Trialist. Goldberg, of Jewish origin, was sentenced in 1964 to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial alongside struggle heroes including as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and others. Goldberg served 22 years in prison before being released in 1985.

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