Tag Archives: Israel

Heart sore

Heart sore
I sit and watch
I listen and pray
I write and call
as once more
rockets fly
jets roar

Heart sore
I sit and watch
I listen and pray
I write and call
as people kill
as people die.

Heart sore
I sit and watch
I listen and pray
I write and call
in safety
in privilege.

Heart sore.

15 November 2012
Shire on the Hudson


Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, Poem

Speak for Palestinian hunger strikers

An agreement with Israeli authorities ended this spring’s mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners. Mahmoud Sarsak has been released and returned to Gaza.

But three Palestinian prisoners continue the nonviolent protest of hunger strike. Contact Israeli officials on their behalf.

Akram al-Rikhawi has now been on hunger strike for 95 days. The longest hunger striker, he suffers from numerous medical conditions, including diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, glaucoma, kidney problems and immune deficiency. He remained on strike after the May 14 agreement because it did not address his unique situation of early release on medical grounds.

From Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

It is urgent that Israeli officials hear that the ongoing hunger strikes of Palestinian prisoners, Akram Rikhawi, Samer al-Barq, and Hassan Safadi are being followed around the world. Rikhawi – in poor health – is on his 95th day of hunger strike! Tell the Israelis that people around the world are demanding their freedom and are monitoring the situation of Palestinian prisoners and hold the Israeli officials responsible for their lives. Use this form to send a letter of protest to Israeli officials.

Samidoun reports that:

Samer al-Barq has now been on hunger strike since May 22, for 55 days, protesting Israeli violations of the agreement with the prisoners – after his own administrative detention, rather than expiring as agreed by the Israelis at the end of the strike, was renewed for an additional three months. Samer al-Barq is now on hunger strike until his release is secured.
Hassan Safadi, a long-term hunger striker who had been striking for 71 days at the time the May 14 agreement was concluded, had his administrative detention order renewed by the Israelis on June 21, despite the explicit agreement that the long-term hunger strikers such as Safadi serving in administrative detention without charge or trial would not have those orders renewed. Safadi is now on his 25th day of hunger strike and plans to continue until he is released.

Contact Israeli officials on behalf of these three hunger strikers. They should be charged and tried or released.

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Human Rights

A piece of chocolate

Reports state that Mahmoud al-Sarsak, the Palestinian national footballer player has ended his prolonged hunger strike.

Mahmoud al-Sarsak, 25, refused food for more than three months. He joined other Palestinians in the mass strike against the policy of administrative detention and for human rights. When the others ended their hunger strike, al-Sarsak continued in protest of being held in Israel – without charge or trial – for three years. He vowed to remain on strike until Israel released or charged and tried him.

As he neared death last week, he had agreed to take milk for a few days to allow Israel time to reconsider.

The Ma’an News Agency report that al-Sarsak agreed to start eating on Monday in a deal that will see him released on July 10, according to his lawyer.

Mohammad Jaberein, al-Sarsak’s lawyer, told Ma’an News that al-Sarsak signed the agreement during his visit to the prisoner on Monday. Ma’an goes on to say:

Under the deal al-Sarsak will visit a civilian hospital for treatment on Tuesday, but the same day will return to Ramle prison clinic until his release on July 10, the lawyer added.

The news service reports that Israeli prison authorities asked Sarsak to eat something in their presence to ratify the deal.

In response, al-Sarsak took and ate a piece of chocolate.

Thanks be! May the deal be honored.

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, Human Rights

URGENT: Act now for Mahmoud Sarsak on 84th day of hunger strike

I do not follow football – many of my friends do. Until I heard the story of Palestinian soccer player Mahmoud Sarsak, I did not know that the European Championship is being contested.

I come to this story as a human rights issue recognizing the courage of Sarsak and two other Palestinians – Akram Al-Rikhawi, and Samer al-Barq – as they engage in the nonviolent act of a hunger strike in response to Israel’s policies of administrative detention.

Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has refused food and now stands at risk of death. He does so in protest of being held in Israel – without charge or trial – for three year. Take action now – send a letter to Israeli officials demanding his freedom!

Here’s the story. The following information (I have preserved some the original format because it includes quotes) comes from Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network:

Sarsak, from Gaza, traveled to the West Bank to join the Palestinian national soccer team for training. Upon his arrival he was abducted by the Israeli occupation military and since that time has been held in Israeli jails, subject to this special version of administrative detention designed especially for Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip. Take action now – send a letter to Israeli officials demanding his freedom!

TWEET NOW: Free #FootballsHero #MahmoudSarsak from Israeli prison – no charge, no trial, no detention! Take action: http://samidoun.ca/?p=1282

Mahmoud Sarsak launched his own hunger strike demanding freedom following the strikes of administrative detainees Khader Adnan and Hana’ Shalabi, on March 19 of this year. He was joined by thousands of other Palestinian prisoners on April 17. When the prisoners’ general open hunger strike ended on May 14 with an agreement, Sarsak continued his strike; his situation was particularly precarious due to the unique form of administrative detention under which he is held.

According to Physicians for Human Rights and Addameer,

Despite the urgency of his condition, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has denied Mahmoud access to independent doctors from PHR-Israel until today. The IPS also refuses to transfer him to a civilian hospital for proper treatment. Following today’s visit, the PHR-Israel doctor reported that Mahmoud has experienced extreme loss of muscle tissue and drastic weight loss. He has lost 33 percent of his body weight, from an original weight of 76 kilos down to his present weight of 51 kilos. He also suffers from frequent incidents of fainting and loss of consciousness, in addition to lapses in memory. The doctor further reported that Mahmoud is in danger of pulse disruptions (arrhythmias) that are endangering his life.

Palestinian human rights organizations have urgently called for international action and solidarity for Mahmoud Sarsak – and for his fellow continuing hunger strikers, Akram Al-Rikhawi, on his 57th day of hunger strike, and Samer al-Barq, who renewed his hunger strike (following his participation in the April 17-May 14 general strike) on May 21 in protest of Israeli continual violations of the agreement – rather than being released as promised, his administrative detention was renewed.

Sarsak and Rikhawi have released a letter to the world, calling for action on their cases, as translated by the Electronic Intifada:

This is an urgent and final distress call from captivity, slow and programmed death inside the cells of so-called Ramle Prison hospital, that you know that your sons and brothers are still struggling against death and you pay no attention to them and do not remember their cause – as if, after the end of the general strike all the demands of the prisoners were met.

We are still here, continuing our open-ended hunger strike and that battle has not endeddespite 78 days of strike for one of us, and 59 days for the other.

Regretfully, we thought that you would support us in our hunger strike, but instead you have stood on our wounds and our pain.

From here, we cry out to you, to our brothers, to dignified people, that you bear your responsibility, for after God, we have no one but you and the freedom loving people of the world to bring victory to our cause.

Second: As the hunger strike continues to erode our bodies and sap what is left of our strength, we cry out to you to help us in our battle on every level and field, local, regional and international, especially in the media, and especially Palestinian television which represents the Palestinian people.

And also in the newspapers, radio and electronic media, so that our voices can reach the freedom loving people of the world and expose this entity, and for the victory of our cause.

We say: there is still enough time and the support that comes late is better than that which does not come at all. It is better that you receive us alive and victorious rather than as lifeless bodies in black bags.

Therefore we two hunger strikers remain on our strike, Mahmoud Sarsak who has endured 78 days, and Sheikh Akram Rikhawi who has endured 59 days and was already ill, having spent 8 years in Ramle Prison clinic suffering from illnesses, and who now struggles against death.

We inform you that we will remain on our strike until all our demands are met and we will not submit to the demands of the Prison Service regardless of what we suffer in restrictions, provocations, and bargaining, and we will not accept promises and half-measures despite the deterioration of our health and our entry into difficult and dangerous situations, especially since we have lost more than 25kg and 18kg.

Our people, our leaders in Gaza, in the West Bank and outside, and freedom loving people of the world, we cry out to you, and to all people in the world who believe in the justice of our cause: do not abandon us to the vindictive hands of the jailers to take what they want from our frail bodies.

You are the ones able to support us for victory in our battle.

Your brothers who remain on hunger strike until victory or martrydom,

Mahmoud Sarsak
Akram Rikhawi

See you along the Trail.



Filed under Human Rights

Hunger strike for Palestinian human rights: update

On Monday, May 14, Palestinian prisoners and Israeli authorities reached an agreement that ended the  hunger strike by the Palestinian prisoners.

Reports from today indicate that either three or four prisoners remain on hunger strikes, continuing their nonviolent resistance of refusal.

Thanks are in order for this development and for all who helped make it possible. Prayers are in order for those who have been on the hunger strike – for their health and wellbeing – for their nonviolent witness. Work is in order to recognize and respect the human rights of Palestinians. The effort to establish a just and durable peace for Palestinians and Israelis continues.

Agreement Signed Between Palestinian Prisoners and Israeli Prisons’ Administration – Palestinian News Network

On Monday, 14th May, Head of Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Qadura Fares, announced that an agreement between the Prisoners’ Committee in Ashkelon Prison and Israeli Prisons’ administration has been signed.
Fares confirmed that all the parties signed the agreement to end the open hunger strike that 1600 Palestinian prisoners have started since 28 days, with the presence of the representative of the Egyptian government

Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike as agreement reached with Israeli officials – Haaretz

Israel Prison Services reported on Monday that Palestinian prisoners have agreed to end their hunger strike. Senior sources within the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club told Haaretz that an agreement was forged between the Israel Prison Services and the prisoners, containing three main chapters concerning administrative detainees, solitary confinement policy, and visits from family members residing in Gaza.

Lawyer: Administrative detainees agree to end strike – Ma’an News Agency

Prisoners on long-term hunger strike agreed late Monday to join a deal ending the strikes in exchange for improved conditions, a lawyer said.

The Egyptian-brokered deal to end the mass hunger strike in Israeli jails will see the prisoners — including Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla on a 77-day strike — released at the end of their administrative detention term.
Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Ma’an that all prisoners must end the hunger strike within 72 hours, and not later refuse food, for the deal to hold.

Palestinian inmates in Israel end mass hunger strike – BBC

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have agreed to end a mass hunger strike, which has been going on for more than two months.
More than 1,500 Palestinians have been refusing food to demand an improvement in conditions.
Under a deal, Israel conditionally agreed not to renew detentions without charge, which had been a key grievance.

Israel, Palestinian prisoners ink deal to end strike – Jerusalem Post

Israel and Palestinian security prisoners on Monday signed an Egyptian-mediated deal to end a 28-day hunger strike by inmates.
According to the terms of the agreement, Palestinian prisoners committed to refrain from involvement in “activities against security” within prison walls. In exchange, previously suspended benefits will be reinstated by the Prisons Service, including the renewal of familial visits and allowing inmates held in separate cells to return to the general prison population.

Deal reached over Palestinian hunger strike – Al Jazeera

Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike have agreed on a deal with Israel to end their fast in return for an easing of their conditions, officials on both sides said.
The deal was reached after talks mediated by Egypt and the Palestinian Authority and made possible by the agreement of Palestinian groups “outside the prisons,” Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency said in statement on Monday.

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, Human Rights

Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands, Hunger Strike

Check out this music video: Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands. Thanks to Sami Awad and Dottie Villesvik for calling it to my attention.

It addresses a situation – an event – a moment – a witness that weighs on me, in large part because I am so late : Khader Adnan has entered the 64th day of a hunger strike. Doctors say he is at immediate risk of death.

His hunger strike began in mid-December when he was arrested by Israeli forces at his West Bank home. The BBC notes that: “The 33-year-old baker is being held under what Israeli law calls administrative detention, meaning he can be held without trial or charges indefinitely if he is deemed to be a security threat. Israel says he is a security threat. Its high court of justice has scheduled a petitions hearing regarding the case for Thursday.” Reports are that he is member of Islamic Jihad, which Israel and others name as a terrorist group.

Khader Adnan’s situation and response call to mind the 1981 hunger strike in Northern Ireland. Bobby Sands started first and died after 66 days. Nine others followed.

The parallels haunt me. I struggle to understand and express my thoughts and feelings. This song does so far better than I am able to do at the moment:

Khader Adnan grew up near Jenin City
You could say he was a product of his time

Because you can’t break a man who won’t be broken
Like in Belfast not many years ago

See you along the Trail.


1 Comment

Filed under Human Rights