by Daniel Mabsout
Friday, September 7th, 2012
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are not any prisoners, they are freedom fighters in confrontation with the occupation and- for this reason- they are considered to be the center of the cause . These prisoners cannot be forsaken or ignored because they are the living part of the cause and its beating heart .Going around this issue on behalf of the Palestinian Authority has never quite succeeded .
Nowadays , the issue of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails has become more than a riddle ; it is reflecting the whole complexity of the Palestinian situation which is what years of wrong moves and lack of strategy and absence of clear goals and compromise and complacency have led to, regarding the Palestinian people .
You can look at the situation from all perspectives , from the point of view of the refugees in camps , it is a real disaster, especially in Lebanon ; from the point of view of prisoners , it is another disaster , from the point of view of those living under occupation and seeing their land usurped and the settlers taking their property and the authorities building walls to tear them apart and the mistreatment they experience on checkpoints and during house arrests , it is also a disaster . The Palestinians besieged in Gaza live a disaster of a special kind and also those living in Jerusalem and in so many places to the point that one does not know anymore from where to start.
And while the Arab spring is being celebrated here and there , the situation in Palestine and other Arab countries was never as confused and as bad . The Palestinian leadership bears great responsibility and also the Arab rulers -mainly the Gulf rulers- who corrupted -by their corrupt money- so many leaders and responsibles.
The prisoners’ situation is part of this big mess and not independent from it , it is part of the Palestinian plight . Not only the Palestinian armed Resistance itself has become crippled and unable to act and has engaged in reconciliation as a prelude to start peace talks with the enemy, but it is getting drowned in regional and local swamps mainly sectarian conflicts and NATO wars.
Since long, the different NGOs that work under the label of human rights, have been prepared and trained to take out the Palestinian multiple issues from its original hands and original caterers to foreign or affiliated hands . They have done this as a prelude to partition the Palestinian cause and divide it among different organizations : one for Jerusalem and the other for the prisoners and a third for the boycott and a fourth for the wall and a fifth for the siege and so on and so on . Each has taken a part of the cake of the Palestinian cause, and each has taken a special assignment from the ones who finance it, be it Soros or the UN or the EU or any other country or movement or department.
Also , previously, the NGOs that looked into the Palestinian prisoners’ situation, complained about the fact that the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit- on behalf of HAMAS- harmed the prisoners’ cause and caused unrest among prisoners even if it led to the release of more than a thousand detainees from different factions and areas.This attitude –on behalf of different NGOs- was meant to discourage the acts of abduction of Israeli soldiers that proved the only effective means to have Palestinian prisoners and detainees released from prisons and from administrative arrests.
Finally we are now up to hunger strikes . We are up to dealing with the prisoners’ huge problem as separate individual cases engaging in long fasts that are life threatening even if they led to the promise or actual release of some .
All in all, these hunger strikes do not solve the prisoners’ problem that is not different from the Palestinian problem and cannot be dissociated from it or become restricted to individual attempts at freedom that rally people and ask for international support. And, even when the prisoners went on massive hunger strikes that involved hundreds of them , they could not achieve much in terms of prisoners’ rights. What they achieved was meager compared to the effort exerted. What was successfully achieved though- was assuring the security of the Israeli soldiers who –in spite of the atrocities they are daily committing everywhere in Palestine –are feeling safe now since the abducting operations targeting them seem to be halted leaving the Palestinian prisoner to face the only two choices left for him which are : rotting in Israeli prisons or starving to death.