Israel Apartheid Week / Month In Progress: On Palestinian Prisoners in Geneva

12 March 2011

The Israel apartheid events* are already being attacked ahead of the events. We are now writing from Colorado where we had our first US stop and where the local groups arranged a number of appearances for us to launch the apartheid Month. In three days we have public lectures at a church, two universities, a bookstore, interview with two radio stations, informal meetings with community leaders, and a meeting with a congressman.

Some anti-Semitic Ashkenazi Zionists have been writing to organizers telling them that we are "anti-Semitic" and sending them the link to the ferociously right-wing and settler supporting and misnamed "Anti-Defamation League" (ADL should be called Arab Defamation League). The link they send is this that includes a serious of quotes from me israel/qumsiyeh /in_his_own_word.asp (I have no problem with the quotes, only that some of them are truncated and out of context).

*For more on the Israeli Apartheid Week events held in over 50 cities worldwide, see and this interesting and rather balanced aarticle in Haaretz print-edition/features/ what-does-israeli-apartheid- week-actually- achieve-1.347807

March 15 is Palestine's moment to join the other struggles in Arab countries gfor freedom and people power. All Palestinians and their supporters are encouraged to get down to the streets in all cities and towns wherever they occur. We also demand an end to the West Bank Gaza Split but I personally do not use terms like reconciliation.

There are many Palestinian factions on the ground similar to the number of factions that existed in South Africa when it was struggling to end apartheid. The problem lies in the confusion and damage done by the Oslo process which created a Palestinian authority" (now 2) without any real authority. It relieved the pressure on the occupiers by administering people and controlling their anger while really making the occupation cost-free to the occupiers. I am not big on "reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah" as that implies that they have drifted apart and need to be brought back together. I think it is just fine that they always had differing political ideologies (like in Europe there are parties with differing political ideologies).

Our problems as Palestinian people stem from drifting away from the original charter and goal of our movement (return of refugees, liberation, self-determination) to notions like a state on (part of) the West Bank and Gaza (less tahn 22% of Palestine) or discussing the form of government without reference to letting people decide AFTER liberation and return. In this, there are trends now to reconstitute the Palestinian National Council to represent all 11 million Palestinians around the world. There is also a growth in popular resistance towards a new uprising (which I discuss in detail in my new book) which like in 1928 has to contend with both Palestinian security forces and colonizer/occupier forces. But it has succeeded in the past and will succeed again. Our movement is alive, vibrant, and diversified. It is also being helped now internationally with hundreds of thousands of activists engaged in media work and in boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS). Like in South Africa, apartheid will not succeed.

TV Interview: Nonviolent resistance in Palestine: including interview with Eyad Burnat and Mazin Qumsiyeh Program/168468.html

Other scheduled events: upcomingevents/

Action: Diamonds are Israel's single most important export commodity, accounting for over 30% of Israel's exports in 2008. In evidence to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Israeli economist Shir Hever stated - "Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries ... every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military so the financial connection is quite clear" The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been promoting the idea of a boycott of Israeli diamonds for some time.

A new, closed Facebook working group, GPS (Global Palestine Solidarity), has just launched a petition calling for a review of the Kimberley Process definition of a conflict or blood diamond so all diamonds that fund human rights violations are included. Cut & polished diamonds, the sector of the industry which Israel dominates, are excluded from the existing definition of a conflict diamond.

International Conference on Palestinian Prisoners in Geneva

Under the slogan (working for justice), various European human rights organisations are preparing to hold the first international conference on the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons. Tthe conference will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11-12, 2011 in order to unite the efforts of many Palestinian and European members of parliament and human rights activists who work to support the Palestinian prisoners under one dome.

The conference will be organised by three Human rights organisations which are: Right for All (Droit Pour Tous), The European Network to Support the Rights of the Palestinian Prisoners (UFree) and
North-South 21, these organisations are aiming to combine their efforts to work against the brutal actions against Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.

Director of The European Network to Support the Rights of Palestinian Prisoners (UFree), Mr. Mohammed Hamdan said (Palestinian prisoners live under cruel circumstances in Israeli prisons, they are going under illegal and inhumane punishment methods that are wrong on so many international and human levels).

The conference will be held on March 11-12, 2011. The first day will include round table discussions by the representatives of the Human Rights Council, while the second day will include five elaborated sessions that will cover the subject in details.

At the present, there are more than six thousand seven hundred (6,700) detainees in Israeli prisons distributed amongst more than twenty locations. These prisons lack the minimum required standards
that are defined by international treaties and agreements. Also due to the physical torture which prisoners are exposed to, many of them are suffering from dangerous and untreatable diseases that will eventually lead to their deaths.

Since the Israeli occupation of the rest of the Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel has detained more than seven hundred and fifty thousand (750,000) Palestinians. This number includes dozens of
women and children. Since al Aqsa uprising in 2000 more than seventy thousand (70,000) detainees were taken into custody by Israelis. These statistics include eight hundred and twenty (820) women and eight thousand (8,000) children.

Hamdan added that participants will highlight the harsh prison conditions, the types of physical torture detainees were exposed to and the international stance on this subject, participants will conclude the conference by presenting their outcomes and recommendations to keep the prisoners file open and discussed.

The first day will include round table discussions in the United Nations building, while the second day will include discussing various aspects of the subject starting with the opening statements presented by the key speakers and the guests of honour. It will also touch upon the effect of imprisonment on the prisoners and their families, the personal experience of Palestinian prisoners in prisons and the legal and political dimensions of the imprisonment of Palestinians.

Speakers will also present live testimonies from freed prisoners, the effect of imprisonment on male and female prisoners and on their families. Taking into account the psychological and the physiological effects imprisonment has had on them.



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