Open Letter from Jews in Australia in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner hunger strikers

[From Jews Against the Occupation]
Dear friends,
Below is an Open Letter from Jews in Australia in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner hunger strikers. We (Jews Against the Occupation) are gathering signatures and will release the Open Letter to the media when we have a suitable number of signatories.
Please support this initiative by distributing among Jews in your networks. People should contact to to sign the letter.
Since this is a statement of specifically Jewish solidarity, we ask you NOT to sign if you aren’t Jewish yourself.




As Jews in Australia, we are angered and grieved by the ongoing occupation and dispossession of the Palestinian people, and the continuing denial of their rights under international law.

We therefore are in complete solidarity with the current Freedom & Dignity Hunger Strike by Palestinians imprisoned by Israel for political reasons.

The abuses of the Palestinian people are claimed to be committed in our name as Jews.

We therefore feel a special responsibility to expose and oppose these crimes.

Not in our name!

The hunger strike was initiated on16 April, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, led by Marwan Barghouti, who has been dubbed by many ‘the Palestinian Mandela’.

The demands of the hunger strikers cover improved visiting rights, study rights, health, transportation, an end to solitary confinement and administrative detention (detention without charge or trial) and simple rights such as air conditioning, books, clothes and food of their choice.

Ma’an News reports

‘As a result of the widespread respect held for Barghouthi, the politician was named a strong contender to replace PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as a 2016 poll revealed Barghouthi having more popular support than any other politician as a potential presidential replacement, and the only Fatah member to receive more support than Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh.’

If Israel wants to prevent Hamas and other Islamist elements taking over the leadership of the Palestinians, they must release Marwan Barghouti, who espouses non-violence and co-existence with Israel and has the demonstrated ability to unite the Palestinians.

As Barghouti says in an article published in the international edition of the New York Times,

‘Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.’

In the same article, Barghouti notes:

Over the past five decades, according to the human rights group Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel … Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned. …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.

Barghouti argues that this mass incarceration has 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.’

Initially called by prisoners affiliated to the Fatah Party in Meggiddo Prison in Israel, support for the hunger strike has spread rapidly throughout the country.

The strike is supported across the entire Palestinian political spectrum from the Palestinian Authority to the Joint List, (the coalition of Palestinian parties in Israel and the third largest political grouping in the Israeli Knesset,) to Hamas.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians from throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip marched and attended rallies to show their support for the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

We urge the Australian Government and Opposition to call on Israel to immediately and unconditionally 

  1. honour and implement the demands of the prisoners
  2. release all political Palestinian prisoners
  3. release Marwan Barghouti and others from solitary confinement

The demands are attached as an Appendix.



1. Installing a public telephone for Palestinian detainees in all prisons and sections in order to communicate with their families.

2. Visits:

a. Resuming the second visit that was stopped by the Red Cross.

b. The regularity of visits every two weeks without being disabled by any side.

c. No relative of the first and second level shall be prevented from visiting the detainee.

d. Increase the duration of the visit form 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half.

e. Allow the detainees to take pictures with their families every three months.

f. Make facilities for the comfort the visiting families.

g. Allow children and grandchildren under the age of 16 to visit detainees.

3. The medical file:

a. Closing the so-called Ramle prison hospital because it does not provide the necessary treatment.

b. Ending medical negligence policy.

c. Making periodic medical examinations.

d. Performing surgeries whenever needed.

e. Allowing specialized physicians from outside the prisons.

f. Releasing sick detainees, especially those who have disabilities and incurable diseases.

g. Medical treatment should not be at the expense of the detainee.

4. Responding to the needs and demands of Palestinian women detainees, whether by special transport or direct meeting without a barrier during the visit.

5. Transportation:

a. Accord humanitarian treatment for detainees during their transport.

b. Return detainees to jails after the clinics and courts and do not keep them at the crossings.

c. Prepare the crossings for human use and provide meals for detainees.

6.  Add satellite channels that suit the needs of detainees.

7. Install air conditioner in prisons, especially in the prisons of Megiddo and Gilboa.

8. Restore the kitchens to all prisons and place them under the supervision of Palestinian detainees.

9. Allow them to have books, newspapers, clothes and food.

10. Ending the policy of solitary confinement.

11. Ending the policy of administrative detention.

12. Allow them to study at the Hebrew Open University.

13. Allow detainees to take the Tawjihi matriculation exams in an official and agreed manner.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Open Letter from Jews in Australia in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner hunger strikers

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