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Israeli embassy protest demands release of Abdallah Abu-Rahmah and all Palestinian prisoners

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Sunday April 18, 2010 20:53author by Fintan Lane - IPSC media officer Report this post to the editors

Large attendance at demo in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners

A large number of people turned out at 2pm on Saturday, 17 April, for the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in Dublin. The protest was organised conjointly by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and éirígí (the socialist republican party formed in 2006), and the focus was on a call for the release of ALL Palestinian political prisoners imprisoned by the Israeli State - those 'convicted' in Israeli Military courts and those interned without trial under the 'Administrative Detention' regime.

Palestinian prisoners' solidarity demo outside the Israeli embassy (Dublin)
Palestinian prisoners' solidarity demo outside the Israeli embassy (Dublin)

The demonstration specifically focused on the cases of two prisoners - Ahmed Sa'adat, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Abdallah Abu-Rahmah, coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall (see: http://www.popularstruggle.org/freeabdallah).

Also remembered yesterday was Bassem Abu Rahmah of Bil’in, a cousin of Abdallah’s, who was murdered by the Israeli military this time last year while engaging in peaceful protest against the apartheid separation wall: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3702943,00.html

According to ADDAMEER, the Palestinian prisoners' rights organisation, more than 6,800 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by the Israeli state for resisting oppression and the apartheid system. Of those, 337 are children, including 37 under the age of 16. A further 15 are elected Palestinian representatives and almost 300 are 'Administrative Detainees', that is they have been interned without trial and have not been charged with any ‘crime’. 103 are anti-apartheid wall activists and human rights defenders. The 'convicted' prisoners were jailed by non-jury Israeli Military Courts (all Palestinians in the Occupied Territories [OPT] are subject to Israeli military law), which act as an arm of the Israeli state and cannot be considered – by any measure – to be fair in their treatment of Palestinians.

Over four decades of illegal Israeli military occupation, Palestinians from all walks of life have been illegally detained by Israel. Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This forms approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population in the OPT. Considering the fact that the majority of those detained are male, the number of Palestinians detained forms approximately 40% of the total male Palestinian population in the OPT. This is an astonishing figure and should be a cause of huge international concern.

The protest and rally outside the Israeli embassy yesterday was aimed at highlighting this reality and intended as an act of solidarity with the many imprisoned Palestinians. The IPSC was delighted by the large turnout, which was especially appreciated on a rare sunny day when most of the city was heading to parks or to the beaches. The attendance included people from all walks of life and several passers-by stopped to listen to the speeches. Members of Dublin’s Basque community also joined in, having postponed their own demonstration yesterday until next week in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. There were also honks of support from many passing motorists.

The speakers at the rally were Freda Hughes, a prominent member of the National Committee of the IPSC, and Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, representing éirígí. Both speeches were excellent and well received.

First to speak was Mr Mac An Mhaistír who began by referring to why this country should have a particular empathy with Palestinian prisoners: “There is a strong tradition of solidarity between Irish republicans and Palestinians, especially when it comes to the issue of prisoners. The histories of both Ireland and Palestine are replete with the suffering of those imprisoned for their political beliefs and for resisting occupation. That political prisoners have been and continue to be a feature of the political life of Palestine and Ireland is emblematic of the failed nature of attempts to pacify an occupied people.”

He went on outline the savage treatment of Palestinians in custody and then focused on the case of Ahmed Sa’adat, general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: “Comrade Sa’adat was abducted by Palestinian Authority security officials in January 2002 at the behest of Israel and imprisoned without trial. In March 2006 Israeli forces laid siege to the prison before kidnapping Sa’adat and five of his comrades. Sa’adat, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was finally tried by the Israeli state in the summer of 2008, and on December 25 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. He was convicted of membership of a prohibited organisation (the PFLP), holding a post in a prohibited organisation, and incitement, for a speech he gave following the Israeli assassination of his predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa, in August 2001.” He called for the immediate release of Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners.

Speech by Daithi Mac An Mhaistir: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8WBPPcc5Zc

Next to speak was Freda Hughes of the IPSC who gave a detailed account of those imprisoned and emphasised the anti-Palestinian nature of the Israeli apartheid judicial system. She explained how the Israeli state was using prison in its effort to break and destroy non-violent resistance to its policies: “Non-violent resistance is a real threat to Israel’s apartheid regime at present, as evidenced by the recent spate of deportations and arrests of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. The most glaring example of this is the new Israeli Military Order issued last week that will enable mass deportations and large prison sentences for those deemed ‘inflators’ in the West Bank.”

Referring to Bil’in, a key village in the non-violent resistance to the apartheid wall, Ms Hughes said: “Many of you here today may have visited Bil’in and taken part in the weekly Friday protest against the building of the Apartheid Wall which cuts their village in two. These non-violent protests have continued and gone from strength to strength for five years now, despite Israeli repression such as disproportionate military attacks on protestors, multiple arrests, Close Military Zone orders and the death of our good friend Bassem Abu Rahmah on this day last year. Bassem was shot in the chest at point blank range by a tear gas canister for the crime of holding a Palestinian flag and protesting the theft of his village’s land.”

She continued by highlighting the case of the late Bassem’s cousin, Abdallah Abu Rahmah: “Abdallah was the heart and soul of every Friday demonstration. His charisma, stamina and incredibly loud voice enriched the experience of many internationals and Palestinians who protested in Bil’in...Abdallah has now been arrested, detained and charged with ‘illegal arms possession, stone throwing and incitement.’ The ‘illegal arms possession’ charge relates largely to a protest exhibition Abdallah had made out of spent tear-gas canisters and plastic-coated rubber bullets, shot by Israeli soldiers, and assembled to form a large peace sign...Both Abdallah and his wife continue to be a motivating and inspiring force behind the resistance in Bil’in – through her blog and his letters from prison.” On behalf of the IPSC, she called for his immediate release, along with all unjustly held Palestinians.

In her speech, Ms Hughes also paid special attention to the plight of women prisoners and to the complicity of the EU in the repression of Palestinian resistance. Referring to the EU, she said: “We must come to recognise that the EU is complicit in perpetuating Israeli repression of progressive resistance movements in Palestine by deeming many of these groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, ‘terrorist’ organisations, and by never holding Israel to account for the blatant breaches of international law and human rights abuses that carries out on a daily basis. Because of Israeli breeches of Article 2 of the Euro Med agreement between Israel and the EU – this is the respect for human rights clause – Israel should be suspended from this preferential trade agreement.”

Speech by Freda Hughes: (Part 1) http://www.youtube.com/user/eirigisligeach#p/a/u/0/9Dfo...sLxis

(Part 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsakdf3oQ4E

Related Link: http://www.ipsc.ie

2_1.jpg

Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, representing éirígí
Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, representing éirígí

5.jpg

Freda Hughes speaks on behalf of the IPSC
Freda Hughes speaks on behalf of the IPSC

author by Freda H - IPSCpublication date Sun Apr 18, 2010 21:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In memory of death of our good friend Bassem Abu Rahmah on April 17th last year. Bassem was shot in the chest at point blacnk range by a tear gas canister for the crime of holding a Palestinian flag and protesting the theft of his village’s land.

In solidarity with Abdallah Abu Rahma; arrested, detained and charged with “illegal arms possession, stone throwing and incitement.” The “illegal arms possession” charge relates largely to a protest exhibition Abdallah had made out of spent tear-gas canisters and plastic-coated rubber bullets, shot by Israeli soldiers, and assembled to form a large peace sign and all Palestinian prisoners.

Video of Daithi Mac AnMhaistír's speech to follow.

Videos thanks to Gerry Cassey.

Caption: Freda Hughes speaking on behalf of the IPSC -part 1


Caption: Freda Hughes speaking on behalf of the IPSC - part 2


Related Link: http://www.ipsc.ie
author by Freda H - IPSCpublication date Sun Apr 18, 2010 21:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great speech from Daithi Mac An Mhaistir.

Caption: Daithi Mac AnMhaistir speaking on behalf of eirigi


Related Link: http://www.eirigi.org/
author by palistine supporter - nonepublication date Mon Apr 19, 2010 02:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

OR the IRISH PSC?

prior to this event all other ipsc events were just that now with all other groups attending in a supportive role. now it seems eirigi is given special treatment in order to promote themselves.. yeah, thats fair

author by Freda H - IPSCpublication date Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not at all palestine supporter. Both ourselves and eirigi had planned to mark Palestinian Prisoners' Day this year so rather than split the crowd we joined forces.

Last month we co-hosted a national speaking tour with Labour Youth and on May 8th we will hold a Children's Rally on O'Connell St. with the support of SF, eirigi, FOSIS, IAWM, Anti-War Ireland and a number of NGOs.

We have a good history of working with other groups, but remain an independent, non-partisan organisation.

Related Link: http://www.ipsc.ie
author by Fintan Lane - IPSC (pers cap)publication date Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What she said.

The IPSC has a singular focus - building solidarity across Irish society with the people of Palestine. To do this, we cooperate with a wide range of groups and, rather than compete with organisations that are actively and explicitly pro-Palestine, we attempt - when possible - to work together. It would have been downright silly to have two separate demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy on Saturday, especially when Eirigi is such a strong supporter of the work of the IPSC. A sensible decision was taken to work together.

Well done all who came out! It was an excellent attendance and a wonderful expression of solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.

author by Conpublication date Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The ''Palestine supporter'' obviously has a chip on their shoulder about eirigi. Your better off not replying to such silly posts.

author by Frank Adam - private citizenpublication date Tue Apr 20, 2010 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are these people really [civilian] political prisoners or Prisoners of War given the usual PR? In which case Israel is rather generous to have released so many over the decades when confinement might have brought the PA and PLO to the negotiating table earlier to everybody's advantage?

author by IPSC Waterford - IPSCpublication date Tue Apr 20, 2010 21:57author email dogteacher at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Regarding the question posed: Are they political prisoners or POW's.

To simplify the answer, A POW is one who is part of an army, who is captured in the act of war.
A Political Prisoner, on the other hand is ANY person Male or Female, (in the case of Palestinian prisoners in Israel) TEENAGER OR CHILD, deemed to be of differing political persuasion to that of the occupying state. A P.P. can also be civilians (members of the general public) detained MOST times without charge (Interned) just for having or expressing opposition views. Perhaps you might remember a chap called Nelson Mandela.

In the case of the Palestinian situation, the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) regularly imprison Palestinian persons M&F, whilst carrying out the order to destroy a Palestinian home, the charge being obstruction.. they arrest Palestinian children ( many under 18 yrs) on charges of illegal gathering, stone throwing etc. The IDF also has the following powers, power of seizure, power to evict, to destroy homes, to deny access to other parts of Palestine etc.

Keep in mind that Israel occupy Palestine ILLEGALLY and restrict and arrest at will....

author by Diarmuid Breatnach - personal capacitypublication date Mon Apr 26, 2010 05:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whilst agreeing with Waterford IPSC position on the term "political prisoner" I would make two other points on nomenclature:
1. Palestine is comprised of the whole state of Israel, the "occupied territories" and the "illegal settlements". I presume that the "illegal occupation" to which the correspondent is alluding is the latter two, which are in contravention of many UN resolutions. "Illegality" is usually defined by who holds power and is not always wrong but to my mind the exercise of Zionist power over ANY part of Palestine is wrong.
2. For that reason, we should not use the acronym "IDF" and even less the fuller term "Israeli Defence Forces"; there are many other terms that would describe them more accurately because they are an army of aggression.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Apr 26, 2010 18:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

PLEASE do not allow the issue of Irish passports used by Mossad to go away. I wrote to the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and got the usual blandishments. This should be pursued.

author by Frank Adam - private citizenpublication date Sat May 15, 2010 21:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I found the Diarmuid Breatnach definition of Palestine one of the blacker jokes of the discussion even as the Sinn Fein claim to the whole of Ireland cracked on the fact that a compact minority forming a local majority in the North do not consider themselves part of the whole Irish nation. It is this "Sinn Fein" worship of geography, like "the Rhine Frontier " of my French schooldays, that kept hostilities going thirty years even after the UK government resumed direct rule and stopped the discriminatory practices of the devolved Stormont that stemmed in large part from the irredentist SF attitude of the preceding forty years.

Further Diarmuid Breatnach is in defiance of UN two state policy since UN 181 in 1947. I am aware that till recently, if not still the case Irish couples in need of a divorce had to sue outside the Republic but what goes for people goes for people. Standing rigidly on a millenium of pre-industrial ideology is, "unhelpful," as Tony Blair put it well. If Jews and Israel are not to be entitled to a state why Ireland ? Why Arab Palestine? Because the Palestine Arabs did not agitate for a state when Jordan and Egypt occupied them in 1948 - '67!

Why the manufactured outrage about a units of thousand casualties of their own very violent rioting and guerilla when no press bothers about the two million Arabs killed by Arabs in intra-state and civil wars in: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria and other Moslem countries such as Iran, Turkey, Chechnya, Pakistan and Aghanistran?

As a point of interest where should Israel as a Jewish majority self-determination be, if not in its hearth of Jewish origin? I am not aware that Ireland took in any refugees in in the 30's or since, nor that it would be willing to take in Israeli Jewish refugees if the Arabs did ethnically cleanse Israel - sorry the British Palestine map which only dates from the 1920 San Remo Conference.

author by Larrypublication date Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This discussion should be capped ny the famous "mods" its become so so so so borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring

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