Ramallah, Occupied Territories (nsnbc) – April 17 has been declared Palestinian Prisoners Day” since the PLO in 1974 decided to designate that day as a day of Palestinian and Arab solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. April 2015, Palestinian politicians are grandstanding on Prisoners Day. Double dealings under the guise of “Security Cooperation” with Israel are omitted form the official Palestinian discourse.
Among the prisoners are Palestinian legislators who have been arrested and detained in violation of their political immunity. Among them are PFLP member and member of the PLO Executive Council Khalida Jarrar.Some 6,500 Palestinian prisoners are jailed in Israeli prisons. Many of them are being held in administrative detention that could be lasting indefinitely.
Another Palestinian legislator behind bars who, arguably, is one of Fatah’s most progressive members is Marwan Barghouti who is widely considered as the architect of the first Palestinian intefada / uprising.
Yet another of the prominent Palestinian prisoners is PFLP Secretary-General Ahmad Sa’adat who was arrested by “security forces” of the Palestinian Authority. According to his wife, Abla Sa’adat, he was detained on direct order of the then PLO and Fatah leader Jassir Arafat. After serving time in a Palestinian prison under “U.S. American guards”, he was later transferred to an Israeli prison.
Among the Palestinian prisoners are several severely ill persons who are denied appropriate medical treatment.In 2014 his wife issued a press release, stating that Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat refused to be released in exchange for concessions within the framework of the U.S.-sponsored talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
Among them are prisoners with rare cancers, many of them are being held in the Ramon prison and other facilities near Israel’s notorious Dimona nuclear facility and nuclear energy waste dumps. Among the detainees are also prisoners who should have been released according to the 1993 Oslo Accords.
After a UN Security Council resolution calling for the end of Israel’s occupation by 2017 failed, Abbas would tout that security cooperation would be ended. Yet, nothing in that regard has manifested.Yet, in May 2014, Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas described the Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Army and Police as “sacret”.
On “Prisoners Day” 2015 the Palestinian Authority President would again grandstand, saying that the release of all Palestinian prisoners was a precondition for any future peace agreement with Israel.
Judging by the Oslo Accords and the pre-1993 Oslo Accords prisoners who should have been released more than a decade ago, the words of Abbas sound hollow. Mahmoud Abbas’ response to Israel’s blackmail was timid, and arguably for good reasons.
Abbas grandstanding reflects a dominant Fatah that has repeatedly been accused of using the security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel’s military and police as instrument for targeting progressive Fatah members and leading members of other factions, such as PFLP Secretary-General Ahmad Sa’adat, among many others.
Arguably, one of the most consistent post Oslo Accords hallmarks of Fatah and Fatah’s role within the PLO is its ability to shoot the Palestinian cause in the foot; and one cannot other than wonder “why”? Political action against the Israeli occupation is undoubtedly justified.
Grandstanding on Prisoners Day while maintaining the status quo about security cooperation is “business as usual for media consumption” at best.
It was about time that Palestinians, regardless which faction or party they belong to, did something about it and demanded that their own leadership either gets their act together or leave policy to those who put their money, their action and their lives where their mouth is.
Resistance against occupation cannot be built on double standards, empty words about prisoners and the ICC to which Israel is not subject. Neither can it be built on grandstanding on opportune occasions such as Prisoners Day.
Author: Fahwad al-Khadoumi
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