Fighting in his Deathbed*
We have news of Samer Issawi, a Palestinian activist on a hunger strike is hospital, protesting against his detention by the Israeli authorities which illegally occupy the Palestinian Territories.
His story is no different than many others coming out of occupied Palestine.
Just a little bit different: For a starter, his name, Issawi, comes from his village name ISSAWIYYEH – unlike all Israeli/Jewish names which have no connection to the land. We say this to make a point: Belonging is not achieved by simply conquering a land or buying it on the open market. The Palestinians and their soil are one.
Samer, who was captured by the military authorities near Ramallah back in 2002 during the second Intifada, on charges of possessing weapons, was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the Israeli regime. Last year (10 years of Samer’s youthful life has gone down the drain), he was part of the prisoner exchange deal which set him ‘free’ along with 476 Palestinians, some of whom were deported outright or sent back to another large prison called Gaza. That deal, between Hamas and Israel, was brokered by Egypt.
As Issawiyeh sits near Mount Scopus – Jerusalem, all Jerusalem prisoners released in that exchange, were required by Israel to sign a pledge not to venture outside the city boundaries. If they do, they would be arrested and sent back to serve a new prison sentence PLUS the remaining years left before they were set ‘free’ as part of last year’s exchange. According to Samer’s father, the Egyptian Ambassador in Tel-Aviv had assured the families of these prisoners that these ‘restrictions’ (in the pledge they had to sign) are merely formalities and there will be no restrictions on anyone’s movements. The pledge was signed. Samer was arrested last July for venturing outside what Israel considers to be its Jerusalem borders.
Demonstrations took place infront of the Egyptian Representative Offices in Ramallah whose Head promised to look into the matter. A promise by the Egyptian Ambassador that a decision will be made after the Eid al-Fitr (last August) went by the by. Nothing. The Embassy claims now that it only mediated the prisoner deal and are not party to it.
A long story short, Samer is under arrest and on hunger strike in hospital. He will be tried by an Israeli military court since the West Bank military commander signed the prisoner swap deal, and not by a Jerusalem court which may look lightly at Samer’s offence of exercising his liberty in his homeland. According to Haaretz, the conviction rate in the West Bank is 99.74%. Thank you. Even if Samer was to be tried in a Jerusalem civilian court, it would indict him and send him back to the Military Court whose orders Samer had allegedly ‘disobeyed’!
Now, if you are thinking what we are thinking, you will, at this point, be guessing where the hell are the boundaries of Jerusalem as of the day Samer crossed them. Since its illegal establishment in 1948, Israel’s borders have been shifting like the desert sand dunes. It does not matter where the boundaries are according to International Law. It only matters where Israel believes its boundaries are.
As of this writing, Samer is on the 115th day of his hunger strike. That’s nearly 4 months. God knows what happens to a normal human body at this point.Try and Google the medical websites on this question.The International Committee of the Red Cross was prevented from visiting him and reporting on his condition.
Samer’s sister Shireen, eloquently declares: “Samer is striking in order to come home”.
We all have the freedom to exercise the right to protest. We urge all of you, no matter where you are, to write to your local, regional or government representative NOW to force Israel to release Samer so that he can go home alive and not in a coffin. Harsh request?
To do so, you may cut and paste this letter, send it to your officials in your country, and to all those you know who believe is fairness and justice.
Source: 1948 – Lest we forget